Welcome to Exchange! | ETF Trends

In case you’ve somehow missed the enthusiasm emanating from our social media handles on LinkedIn and Twitter, we’re super excited to be hosting the second annual Exchange conference this coming February 5-8 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Event details will come at a steady drip over the next few months at the conference website, ExchangeETF.com, as well as on our Exchange Channel. Today, however, I wanted to highlight what I’m most excited about: content.

We’ve got some amazing content lined up, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what we have planned. As always, you can reach me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or plain old email at dave.nadig@vettafi.com with questions or ideas!

So What Is The Exchange Conference?

Exchange is the largest independent, ETF-centric advisor event in the country. As implied by the name, our goal with Exchange isn’t to convene a bunch of advisors and present at them.  Rather, we want to have a conversation — an exchange, if you will — about the most important, interesting, and provocative issues and challenges shaping the financial advisory business right now.

Our team has combined decades of conference-crafting experience, and we’ve polled hundreds of advisors on what they value most at these industry events. We’ve stirred all that input together to create a rather delectable buffet of options.

As I’ve written before, I believe that shared experiences are magic; they help break us out of our own reality tunnels and make real, lasting human connections. To that end, we’ve emphasized a content agenda for Exchange that prioritizes things to DO, not just to listen to. Rather than shuffling from a talk to an exhibit hall to a lunch, we’re aiming for a cohesive experience that includes everything from chatting with friends by the poolside to engaging with asset managers face-to-face.

Exhibits, content spaces, activities, and opportunities to give back will be sprinkled throughout the event space. The idea is to provide a continuous stream of opportunities to connect, have a conversation, learn something, teach something, and leave smarter and better at what we do.

Two Stages Of CE-Credit Eligible Content

While our crack conference team is busy designing every corner of the Exchange experience, my personal focus is what’s on stage — that is, the formal, structured content that traditionally happens at a 2000+ person event like Exchange. Some specifics are in still in flux, but here’s what we’ve got so far.

Exchange programming will take place in two primary venues, carefully situated to be “in the thick” of the event.

  • The DREAM Stage: Here’s where you’ll hear big keynotes from household names, provocative debates, and the best ideas from successful investors and financial advisors. The Dream stage is where we’ll start and end Exchange, as well as where we’ll come together for tentpole sessions.  Don’t worry if you can’t find a seat, though: Dream Stage content will be broadcast throughout the venue, in lounges and breakout rooms.
  • The STREAM Stage: Big ideas meet practical advice from the leading thinkers in finance, economics, psychology, and beyond. Every session on the Stream Stage will be streamed live over the internet and presented “silent disco” style from the heart of the event, even with live internet and audience Q&A. Don’t worry if you miss sessions on the Stream Stage, though; these sessions will be available post-event for attendees and FOMO-suffers alike.

One big takeaway: whenever possible, content will be CE-credit eligible. While we can’t promise every session will count as a credit-hour, our intent is to ensure anyone who needs the CE credits will walk away with 15–20 credit hours over the course of the event.

Sunday: Ethics Training, ETF University, Industry Conclave, and More

We’re not going to torture this, but each day of the event has a theme, and Sunday’s theme is “Get Smart.”

For advisors, we’ll offer two core blocks of content. The first: a 2 CE-credit block that will knock out one of your biggest CE credit requirements for 2023, CFP-approved ethics training. This session, led by CFP Board Ambassador Rita Cheng, will cover the CFP’s recently updated codes, standards, reporting requirements, and conflict of interest management.

The second block for advisors will be an “Everything You Need To Know”-style ETF University session covering everything from how creation and redemption works to the coolest use cases for the ETF structure. Our goal with ETF University is to provide 10–20 hours of CE credit for advisors who need them, so we’ll be updating the agenda weekly with more info.

While most of our attendees will be advisors, we’ll also host a few hours on Sunday for the ETF issuer and service provider community as well — call it an Industry Conclave — that will include closed-door sessions with ETF issuers, an ETF state-of-the-union update, discussions on key regulatory and market structure issues, and a “Meet the Press” style get-together.

Whether you’re an advisor, an issuer, a fintech provider, a reporter, or a public sector professional, everyone will walk away from Sunday with a few new connections and new ideas.

Monday: Tomorrow’s Big Ideas, Featuring Ian Bremmer

The theme for day one of Exchange is “Tomorrow’s Big Ideas.” We want to surface the trends, challenges, and opportunities that will shape the way advisors conduct business over the next month, year, and decade. Monday is about taking blinders off and thinking about different ways of modeling the world, running a practice, and ultimately delivering for clients.

We’ll kick things off with one of the sharpest minds on the global stage, Ian Bremmer, founder and President of Eurasia Group and author of 2022 bestselling book, The Power of Crisis. The world is changing faster than I certainly ever could have imagined, from China, to Ukraine, to U.S. politics, and Ian will help us make sense of it all.

With echoes of Bremmer’s analysis of the global polycrisis in our heads, we’ll then break into two tracks of content.

On the DREAM stage, we’ll be tackling big issues in advisor workflows, kicking off with a panel of advisors sharing stories and real-world advice about how they’ve successfully navigated market downturns, succession planning, hypergrowth and M&A. We’ll also cover advanced financial planning specifically for high and ultra-high-net-worth investors, then dig into two high-demand topics: using model portfolios and direct indexing in advisory practice.

On the STREAM stage, we’ll present 100 minutes of challenging content trying to suss out the real future of finance. Expect a whirlwind tour of the latest thinking in science, philosophy, economics, and sociology that might challenge fundamental beliefs about everything from the nature of reality to the validity of our economic models. I’ve tapped Tom Morgan from KCP Group and Adam Butler from Resolve Asset Management to keep us on track as we develop this block of content over the coming months. You’ll hear plenty more from me about this block as we head to Florida, but my goal is for you to walk away with a dozen new ways of thinking about markets and the messy, flawed, wonderful people that make them up, as well as a map to guide your understanding of how the world is changing.

Tuesday: Today’s Best Approaches, With Real-World Strategy And Advice

The theme for day two is “Today’s Best Approaches,” where you’ll get to hear sharp, current ideas from leading thinkers on the biggest issues of the day.

The DREAM stage will feature a packed morning of investing-centric sessions. Some of the highlights so far:

  • TINA Troubles: With a live rates market for the first time in a long time, we’ll convene a group of sharp macro-economists and portfolio managers to discuss the case for global equities, and perhaps the case against them.
  • Bonds at the Edge: Bonds aren’t so boring anymore, and fixed income has been moving in interesting new directions. We’ll convene leading bond investors and portfolio managers to tease apart where there’s real opportunity.
  • Income Investing Beyond the AGG: Recent product developments in fixed income have largely been about slicing credit, maturity and issuer vectors into finer, tradable buckets. How should advisors think about these newly minted, razor-sharp tools?
  • Alternatives Go Mainstream: From managed futures to private credit and hedge fund replication, have alts ETFs finally found their footing with investors? We’ll look at the approaches that dominated 2022 and help you position your alts exposure in a rough market environment.
  • American Energy at a Crossroads: No traditional sector garnered more investor attention in 2022 than energy. This in-depth conversation, led by VettaFi’s director of energy research Stacey Morris, will focus on the fact and fiction of American energy independence, what people get wrong about energy investing, and why even the most die-hard, green-energy investor needs to understand the oil patch.

Meanwhile, on the STREAM stage, we’re putting together a schedule of sessions covering key issues in practice management.

By popular demand, we’re kicking off with a morning workshop from Brian Portnoy of Shaping Wealth. Through live examples and activities, you’ll learn practical tools to turn human’s story-hungry nature into a critical asset for working with clients. He’ll then be joined by Dr. Preston Cherry of Concurrent Financial Planning to dig into how storytelling works in the real world of developing client relationships.

Also on the STREAM stage, Jeff Desjardins of Visual Capitalist and Investopedia’s Caleb Silver will review the 10 most important ideas shaping the world, in breathtaking Visual Capitalist style. We’ll run through some of the hottest ideas in fintech for advisors with Michael Batnick from Ritholtz Wealth Management. Interested in growth?  VettaFi’s Editor-in-Chief Lara Crigger will host a session covering content marketing and social media approaches for advisors, from podcasts to long-form thought leadership.

We’ll conclude all together with a few closing keynotes, including a must-see onstage recording of Bloomberg’s Masters in Business Live, where host Barry Ritholtz of Ritholtz Wealth Management will talk about the state of the industry with Vanguard’s CEO, Tim Buckley.

Wednesday: Pay It Forward

The theme for our third day is, “Pay it Forward.” For years we’ve heard from attendees at advisor conferences that we all must do more to help support financial education.  Well, we’re done talking about it. We’re bringing together students from the South Florida community to come have breakfast with investors, advisors, and the asset management community to help all sides learn from each other.

While they’re finishing up eggs and toast, we’ll chat about the real world of money, careers, taxes, and investing for the future from the perspective of someone still in high school, then spread out in small groups to answer questions, make connections, and hopefully show that money and investing are tools for everyone, not just the privileged few.

Expect to hear a bunch more on this front. We’ll also be collecting names of attendees who want to work on this – if you’re interested, just reach out at concierge@exchangeetf.com.

Next Steps

Yes, we haven’t slotted the specifics of every speaker, obviously, or even the format of every session. Some of these sessions will be TED-talk keynotes, some will be fireside chats, and a few might feature 2–3 experts being grilled by a skeptical moderator.

But after decades “on the circuit” speaking at and producing events like this, I’m a fan of “working out loud.” The task ahead of us for the next 2 months is to ensure that we have the best possible content on at every moment the lights are up on stage. Most of the above will stay, some of it will change, and some of it will get ejected in favor of the now – whatever that may look like in February. I’m looking forward to sharing the details as they emerge, day by day.

Hope to see you there.  I couldn’t be more excited for what we’re building. Come be part of the conversation; you can register to attend Exchange here.

For more news, information, and analysis, please visit the Exchange Channel.