On Investment Speakers

I’m on the program committee for the Baltimore CFA Society.  We hold around 10-12 programs per year, meeting for lunch at the Centre Club in Downtown Baltimore.  It’s probably the most visible aspect of the society.  Even when I wasn’t on the program committee, I still brought in some speakers: John Neff, Richard Bernstein, and a few others.

But now the new season approaches, and I have to come up with new names.  People in New York City or DC are easy, because they can just take the Metroliner.  A few other notes: the Baltimore society is equity-oriented.  That means that we can do one or two bond-oriented speakers, but not more.

Instead, we have to focus on:

  • strategists
  • well-known equity investors
  • institutional investors with good track records.
  • Clever niche investors/advisors/economists that are well-known.

Now, the Baltimore Society can pay, but it doesn’t have tons of dough.  We shepherd our resources carefully as the second-largest CFA society run internally. (The largest is Denver.)

So, who should I try to attract to speak to the Baltimore CFA Society?  I have some ideas:

  • Ed Meigs, notable and local high yield manager (The High Yield guy I learned from)
  • Joshua Brown, of The Reformed Broker
  • Eddy Elfinbein, of Crossing Wall Street
  • Barry Ritholtz, of The Big Picture
  • Ronald H. Muhlenkamp of the Muhlenkamp fund.
  • Charles Carlson of the Greenspring Fund
  • Robert J. Stevens, CEO of Lockheed Martin
  • James A.C. Kennedy, CEO of T. Rowe Price
  • David M. Zaslav, CEO of Discovery Communications
  • Arne M. Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International
  • W Edward Walter, CEO of Host Hotels and Resorts Inc.
  • Malon Wilkus, CEO of American Capital
  • Alan Wilson, CEO of McCormick & Co.
  • Don Wood, CEO of Federal Realty Investment Trust
  • Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour
  • Tom Giannopoulos, CEO of MICROS Systems

But I am open to other ideas that would prove popular to an equity-oriented audience in Baltimore.  Any ideas for me in the comments? :)  Thanks.

6 Comments

  • robertewers says:

    David Rubenstein

    Wes Bush over Bob Stevens (either would be great) but NOC has made bigger shaping decisions recently

    For big picture thoughts
    Robert Zoellick
    GEN (Ret.) James Cartwright

  • Greg says:

    Denver or Baltimore Societies are largest? NYSSA and Boston Society each dwarf all other CFA societies combined.

    NYSSA has dozens and dozens of webinars of their speakers available online, and probably a lot more that were taken offline when they had to abandon their old World Trade Center location. For some reason, the bureaucrats in Charlottesville haven’t bothered to contact NYSSA to make any of those webinars available to a wider audience; but you might get some ideas

    The Phili CFA Society had some great speakers in the past, and a lot of them recorded as webinars available on-line (again, for ideas). The overpaid bureaucrats in Charlottesville haven’t bothered with Phili’s webinar collection either.

    You might also be able to attract a speaker with higher travel expenses if you split the costs with Phili?

    CFA Institute used to have a speakers retainer program where Charlottesville paid all (or most) of some great world renowned speakers. Not sure what happened to that, but guessing they canceled it when AIMR turned into CFAI and started awarding themselves on a Manhattan investment bank pay scale.

    As for constructive thoughts/ideas:
    – Michael Mauboussin (Legg Mason) is an awesome speaker, and I think he has a new book coming soon
    – David Swenson (Yale Investment office) is a quick Acela train ride away
    – Gen (Ret) Stanley McChrystal has forgotten more about geopolitical risks than any of us in finance will ever know to start with

    • 8albert8 says:

      The post does not claim that Baltimore is the second largest society. It says that it is the second largest “internally run.” I think that means the members volunteer; Boston and NYC probably have paid, professional staff.

  • Denver & Baltimore are the largest all volunteer CFA societies. Bigger ones have full time staff. Sorry if I didn’t make it clear.

    • Greg says:

      Apologies for the confusion — didn’t know what “internal” meant.

      You actually do **PAY** for full time staff; a building full of them down in Charlottesville. At least based on my experiences, CFAI headquarters staff behave like stereotypical DMV workers. It is understandable if you don’t find them helpful.

      You may want to contact the staff in NYSSA and/or Boston. I haven’t talked to the NYSSA office in several years, but they were incredibly helpful. My experience with Boston is much older, but again they were very willing to help even though I was not a Boston member.

      Both NYSSA and Boston Society offer a some services to the public (for free), and even more if you are calling from another CFA society.

  • ljoneill says:

    David,

    I will second the Michael Mauboussin suggestion, though it is certainly possible you have had him in the recent past. Ed Meigs is probably a good idea, though I haven’t heard him speak before. Other interesting High Yield types of speakers would be Mark Shenkman from Shenkman Capital, Peter Wilby from Stone Harbor, Dan Fuss from Loomis, Steve Tananbaum from GoldenTree and Don Morgan from Brigade Capital (ex-MacKay Shields). Michael Hasenstab from Templeton would be great on global fixed income, including EMD.

    Economists/Strategists, other than Mauboussin, could include David Darst from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (heard he is an excellent speaker), Ed Yardeni, Rob Arnott from Research Affiliates, Tobias Levkovich from Citi and Steve Liesman from CNBC.

    Equity oriented investors or institutional managers could include Cliff Asness from AQR, Bill Priest from Epoch, Dick Mayo or Tim Keefe from Mayo Capital (Keefe not as well-known but utterly brilliant), David Dreman, Jim O’Shaughnessy, Tom Galvin from Columbia Management, Vital Proulx or someone else from the team at Hexavest (in Montreal…probably difficult geographically), Ruane, Goldfarb or Poppe from Sequoia Fund, Lew Sanders from Sanders Capital (ex of AllianceBernstein)…and many more.

    Ashish Bhutani, CEO of Lazard Asset Management, is also a great speaker. Other interesting asset management CEO-types could include Peter Kraus at AllianceBernstein, Bob Reynolds at Putnam and Curtis Arledge at BNY Mellon.

    You know how to reach me if you want to chat more about any of these people.