Huntington Beach, California
Over 2,500 investors and financial advisors have descended on Huntington Beach, California – also known as: Surf City USA – for a financial conference.
A financial conference on the beach? In Huntington Beach, home to nine miles of shoreline and the world center of beach volleyball?
Yes. And I mean this is it at the beach.
And who are the visitors coming for? They come to see big stars.
Wait, who? They’re coming to see hip-hop legends Method Man (Wu-Tang Clan) and Redman (Def Squad) performing on Tuesday night.
They’re not the only stars. There will also be financial figures. Jeremy Siegel of Wharton/WisdomTree. Jeff Kleintop from Charles Schwab. Emily Roland by John Hancock. AQR’s Cliff Asness. Jeff Gundlach from DoubleLine. ETF and raw materials expert Jan van Eck.
But this is one of those conferences where the social interaction is just as important as the content.
Reinventing the financial conference
Welcome to Future proofbilled as “the largest gathering of world-class wealth management professionals, CEOs, CTOs, COOs and fast-growing financial advisors.”
It’s the brainchild of Barry Ritholtz, co-founder, chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and CEO Josh Brown.
“Once we got through the pandemic, it was obvious to us that the traditional financial conference was past its sell-by date,” Ritholtz told me. “Everyone was bored with lectures and boring panels predicting the future in huge windowless conference centers. Instead, we imagined what it would be like if events were more social, interactive, useful and (dare I say it) more fun! This is how FutureProof was born.”
Yoga? It’s so 2008, except…
For those of you who are used to going to conferences where there’s a yoga class at 5:45 a.m. (who goes there anyway?), prepare yourself for the new hipness.
Pure yoga? It’s so 2008. Of course there is a yoga class, but you have a special teacher. You will have:
Seaside Yoga: The Path to Mindfulness with a Goldman Sachs Instructor. Seriously? Goldman Sachs will teach me how to do yoga? What’s next? Acupuncture at Morgan Stanley? Chiropractic at Wells Fargo? Massage therapy with JP Morgan?
Keep dancing, you idiots
Forget yoga. There’s a concerted effort to get everyone dancing and swimming, from the FutureProof Kickoff Party (“relax, unwind and connect”) to:
Health is Wealth: Surfing. “We invite you to join us and enjoy the thrill of learning to surf!”
Dance Culture: An Interactive Session. “Immerse yourself in the rhythm, movements and rich history of salsa dance!”
OK, that’s an improvement, but I think I’d rather go to:
Battle of the Buds: Wine vs. Craft Beer. “Participate in a lively and interactive debate as you explore the unique characteristics, flavor profiles and food pairings of wine and craft beer.”
Now I’m starting to get interested in it. I have to squeeze this in between:
Mastering Pizza Dough: Techniques for Every Home Pizza Maker. “Learn the secrets to achieving the ideal texture, flavor and elasticity by exploring different kneading, fermenting and shaping techniques.”
Let’s Roll: The Art of Making Sushi. “This interactive session offers a unique opportunity to unleash your creativity and hone your knife skills.” Hone your knife skills? OK… maybe it would be safer to just go there Mastering the grill: grilling techniques.
Oh yeah. The financial content
Last year’s conference attracted 2,000 attendees, about half of whom were mostly young RIAs (Registered Investment Advisors), several hundred active trader types, ETF sponsors and a few vendors.
Not surprisingly, much of the content is geared toward RIAs, with topics like “The Personal Brand Blueprint: 5 Simple Steps to Landing High-Quality Clients in 2023.”
For investors, there’s the ubiquitous tech bull Dan Ives of Wedbush with “Five Tech Predictions for 2024.”
DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach will return again this year to speak with my CNBC colleague Scott Wapner on Tuesday’s Halftime Report.
I will moderate a panel on “Global Macro Predictions” with Professor Siegel, Jeff Kleintop and Emily Roland.
Morningstar will also be in attendance, with PitchBook luminaries Christine Benz, Jeffrey Ptak, Ben Johnson and Nizar Tarhuni talking about everything from retirement and 401(k) planning to the difficulty of market timing and private equity. investments.
Bloggers and podcasters Michael Batnick and Ben Carlson of Ritholtz Wealth Management will also offer advice.
But even with this sea of content over four days, the focus is still on personal interaction. There are numerous “networking dinners” that, if anything like last year’s, are huge parties where young RIAs and investors can come together and network.
And that’s where a lot of the actual action takes place. Last year, on a Monday night, I met a 35-year-old RIA at one of those parties on the beach. He had flown in with his team the day before.
“I brought all seven members of my team with me,” he told me. “It’s a team building thing. I’ll see a lot of speakers, but mostly I’m here to meet other people who do what I do.”
And that seems to be the theme: “Meeting other people who do what I do.” RIAs. young investors. financial stars. Bloggers. ETF sponsors. hip hop stars.
It’s a strange brew, but intoxicating.
Who knows what could happen? Perhaps Method Man will announce that the Wu Tang Clan is touring and launching an ETF.
Hey, it’s not a typical conference.
https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/11/hip-hop-stars-financial-luminaries-mark-ritholtz-wealth-conference.html Hip-hop stars and financial figures highlight the Ritholtz Wealth conference