Once again Kenneth Brandborg is participating in the CFA Institute Annual Conference. Kenneth will share his daily insights from the conference in London.

By Kenneth Brandborg | The 13th of May 2019

Expectation is a funny thing. Last year at the CFA Annual conference in Hong Kong, I had the pleasure of chatting with one of the organizers for this year’s conference. We both expected that we would be in the epicenter of the post Brexit world. As you all know – we are still waiting for that. But then again, only a few years ago, nobody expected a Brexit at all.

On that note I did expect a schedule packed with Brexit-like topics, but alas – not before Tuesday afternoon is there a session with the first and only Brexit topic. That is very surprising to me.

Setting that negligence of Brexit aside, I do still expect Brexit related questions to almost all of the sessions I’ll be attending.

New menu on the plate

Since Brexit isn’t filling up the schedule, what is then? Well before I answer my own question, I need to take you back to last years conference. Back in Hong Kong, CFA Institute made an honest attempt to renew the content of the conference: they added Fintech. But it wasn’t quite a success. There was a ‘Blockchain for dummies’ kind of session – a cool professor with robots and a speaker, who knew a lot about cryptocurrencies, but didn’t actually know what to do with them.

This year, there are a lot of sessions on Big data, AI and Machine Learning. These aren’t new technologies (in fact machine learning and I was born the same year), but computer powers and cloud tech has made it possible to build real strong solutions around these technologies. I truly expect they will have a tremendous impact on the investment management business in the coming years.

  • First in the back office and operations, where solid solutions are already running.
  • Then in the Middle office, where we might move away from ‘2 standard deviation risk metrics’ and to some more intelligent ways of measuring risks.
  • And finally in portfolio construction and stock picking, where the ability to process extreme amounts of information will give portfolio managers a powerful tool in the hunt for alpha, leaving those behind who has not adopted these new technologies.

But some ingredients are still the same

Not everything is new. As always there will be a bunch of active vs. passive discussion and my favorite subject – behavioral finance. But it seems like the focus is not here this year. CFA has realized that the future battlefield of our business is on the tech field. Here you will get the tools to run efficient low-cost operation and tools to make better informed decisions than ever before.

None the less there will always be speakers who know their subject in details, and are able to give super interesting presentation. Both within new and more classic subjects. Especially when it comes to macroeconomics.  I will keep you posted when I see the interesting sessions, and when I stumble into the presenter with all the graph and charts. They always appear during the conference.

The Days ahead

I haven’t found any of the ‘hot shot speakers’ yet. I am not that good with name dropping… But I am sure they are here. One session I am super excited about though is called ‘Not Star Wars, Not Star Trek, The Future of Money’ – I have no clue what the deeper meaning with the session will be, but the title is super cool.

One last note on expectation and epicenter. Some years ago, one of my fellow Danish CFA Annual Conference participants asked me if it wasn’t hard to get through the CFA education, when I was at the edge of the industry (I have almost always worked in the intersection between IT-solutions and business). He meant it well – he just didn’t expect that finance and IT would melt together to form the future of finance and become at the epicenter of this year Annual conference.

I am looking forward to the next days and I will keep you posted.

Yours truly

Kenneth Brandborg

Co-founder and CEO SapioX