Sustainability, Technology, and Disruption: Key Themes for Investment Professionals in 2019

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The forces of disruption will impact your career, the broader investment profession, and even your life. Which global shifts, technological innovations, and market developments should you understand to capitalize on the opportunities of the future? Recognizing change and adapting to disruption will allow you to thrive in the unfolding investment environment.

The 72nd CFA Institute Annual Conference, hosted by CFA Society of the UK, will highlight Disruption: The New Reality in Investment Management, focusing on disruption and its effects on the global investment profession. Sessions will consider sustainability, fintech, and other topics of interest, providing facts, exploring research, developing strategies, and sharing opinions on managing the disruptive forces at play in global finance.

As always, the conference will highlight the views of prominent investors, economic and geopolitical experts, bestselling investment authors, academic leaders, and those working on the forefront of technology and business. Join us in London to hear about disruption in a wide variety of informative sessions.


Sustainable Capitalism in an Era of Disruption

Sustainability may be the most pressing issue facing investment professionals in the 21st century, and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors are changing the way we approach investing — it will become an even stronger focus as the world moves towards investing with purpose.

  • Major asset owners will share their views on integrating ESG considerations into their investment processes in Disruption: The Asset Owner’s View. The panel will feature Mark Walker, Chief Investment Officer of Coal Pension Trustees Services; Alison Tarditi, Chief Investment Officer of Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation; Angelien Kemna, non-executive director and member of the audit committee at AXA Group; and Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency of England and Wales.
  • Mariana Mazzucato of University College London will discuss how to create an economy that is more inclusive, sustainable, and driven by mission-oriented innovation in Rethinking Capitalism: Challenging the Economy and Economic Theory.
  • Graeme Griffiths, chief operating officer of the Principles for Responsible Investment, will explain the myths and realities of ESG and responsible investing, helping investors understand how to assess market alternatives for sustainable investing in his presentation on Principles of Responsible Investing: Putting Sustainability at the Heart of the Capital Markets.
  • Amanda Young of Aberdeen Standard Investments will explore ESG Investment: From Process to Product, examining values-based investment options, strategies for integrating ethical considerations, and ways to integrate sustainability, climate, and social impact issues into the investment process.
  • Morgan Stanley’s Jessica Alsford, CFA, will demonstrate how to measure the impact of ESG factors on company valuations and the role of ESG factors in investment analysis during her session on How ESG Factors Impact Corporate Valuations: Trends and Analysis.

Capital Markets Tech

Information is being gathered in new ways in the 21st century, and technology is changing many financial business models. Investment professionals must understand these advances to compete in the global marketplace.


Artificial Intelligence and Investing

  • Artificial intelligence is propelling us into a brave new world, and a panel discussion — featuring Ophir Gottlieb of Capital Markets Laboratories, Ruman Chowdhury from Accenture Applied Intelligence, and Nick Bostrom from University of Oxford with Rory Cellan-Jones of BBC News moderating — will map the intersection of AI and the Future: Developments, Ethics and Financial Transformation.
  • Two technical workshops, led by Malcolm White, CFA, of Signature Global Asset Management – CI Investments and Sri Krishnamurthy, CFA, of Quant University, will offer hands-on, practical information for investment professionals interested in augmenting their capabilities through AI applications.
  • Mark Carey of GARP Risk Institute will discuss Applying AI to Risk Management and Risk Modeling.
  • Thorsten Heymann of Allianz Global Investors will examine digital disruption and its related value generation. His session, Embracing the Potential of Artificial Intelligence, will focus on the power of AI integration in analyzing data and constructing investment portfolios.

Re-Ordered Priorities

  • A session with Paul Smith, CFA, President and CEO of CFA Institute; Rebecca Fender, CFA, of CFA Institute; Roger Irwin, of Willis Towers Watson; and Helen Brand of ACCA will discuss The Investment Professional of the Future: New Research from CFA Institute that outlines how changing roles, skills and cultures will impact the role of the investment professional going forward.
  • Ron Kahn of BlackRock will discuss The Future of Investment Management, highlighting seven key trends that are affecting the future of investment management and three distinct types of products, each with their own challenges and requirements for success.
  • Peter Zeihan, founder of Zeihan on Politics, will examine global shifts and The New World (Dis)Order, as well as the interplay of demography and finance. He expects foreign policy decisions, currently evolving in a host of countries, to remake the future of every country in the world.
  • An extended session, focused on cultural, geopolitical, and economic developments, will discuss Brexit in Flux: Implications, Possibilities, Resolutions. A high-level panel of experts, including Sir Ivan Rogers, former senior British civil servant and former Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union, will consider the financial, banking, and trading possibilities going forward.

The Global Market Outlook in a World Full of Disruption


Current and Future Investment Strategies


Achieving Your Highest Potential

A series of sessions will cover strategies for enhancing careers, developing personal presence, and techniques for cultivating resilience, helping attendees work and live to their highest potential.


Organized Thinking and Seizing Opportunities

The organization, timing, and execution of decisions and actions is becoming even more important as the forces of change impact finance and business. Investors must understand and apply “digital cues” as tech changes the face of investing, and mental organization will be as important as digital organization.

  • Best-selling author and expert on behavioral science, Daniel Pink, will discuss the timing of effective decision-making in his session When: The Scientific Secrets to Perfect Timing, helping delegates understand the hidden patterns of everyday life.
  • Jane Henshaw of Vanguard will explain the concept of Digital Financial Attention, explaining how neuroscience can help us understand the brain’s mechanisms of attention and sharing her findings from the emerging science of digital financial interaction.
  • Cognitive neuroscientist, musician, writer, and record producer Daniel Levitin will discuss approaches to Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.

In addition to these major themes, this year’s Annual Conference will also feature a full schedule of unbiased, practitioner-relevant sessions. Topics include behavioral finance principles, stock bubbles and valuation, the U.K.’s role in an international portfolio, private wealth management strategies, and principles of manager due diligence and selection.

Please join us for the 72nd CFA Institute Annual Conference, hosted by CFA Society of the UK, and gain valuable insight and knowledge about the investment industry — prepare yourself for disruption.


All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

Image credit: ©CFA Institute

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