10 Talks You Should Catch At Inside ETFs This Year

From sports to comedy, psychology, behavioral economics, finance, politics and even procrastination.

Reviewed by: Matt Hougan
Edited by: Matt Hougan

Putting together the agenda for Inside ETFs—the world’s largest ETF conference, taking place January 22-25 in Hollywood, Florida—is a lot of fun. We’re tasked with covering all the major topics in ETF-land, and empowering our attendees—mostly advisors—with new ideas on how to build better portfolios and win new business.

The best part of putting together the agenda is picking the keynote speakers. We put huge effort into selecting keynotes that are both on-topic and out-of-the-box. This year, we’ve pulled together experts on everything from sports to comedy, psychology, behavioral economics, finance, politics and procrastination (yes, procrastination!).

Each speaker is handpicked to help attendees learn, grow, dream and gain inspiration. Here are 10 of my favorite keynote speakers I’m looking forward to for the 2017 conference:

Name: Alex Rodriguez

Best Known As: One of the best baseball players in history, winning 3 American League MVP Awards, hitting 696 home runs and delivering over 3,000 hits. Oh, and he’s faced some … challenges … too.

Why We Chose Alex: Because he’s not just an incredible athlete, he’s an incredibly insightful human being. A-Rod’s thoughts into what it takes to be a champion and how to own up to mistakes are priceless.

Speaking Slot: Tuesday, 5:20 p.m., Main Hall


Name: Barry Ritholtz

Best Known As: One of the most prolific and insightful bloggers in finance, and author of the book “Bailout Nation.”

Why We Chose Barry: Because bad client behavior (buying high, selling low) costs people more money than anything else, and Barry is miles ahead of most in thinking about how to correct that. He’s speaking on our “Advisor Accelerator” Workshop, a series of sessions designed to help you grow your business

Speaking Slot: Sunday, 5:20 p.m., ETF University


Name: Bob Doll

Best Known As: One of the sharpest macro thinkers on Wall Street.

Why We Chose Bob: Because the world is in a weird place and we don’t know where to invest. Bob will be unveiling his “10 Insights for 2017” at our conference, and we’ll be listening.

Speaking Slot: Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., Main Hall


Name: Denise Shull

Best Known As: The world’s leading trading psychology coach and neuroeconomist.

Why We Chose Denise: Because we love the show “Billions,” and she’s one of the models for the character Wendy Rhoades; because her insights will help you solve the “behavior gap” and deliver better returns to clients in 2017.

Speaking Slot: Tuesday, 12:50 p.m., Lunch Hall


Name: Frank Luntz

Best Known As: The genius who helps the GOP choose words that resonate with America. Want to know how the “inheritance tax” became “the death tax”? That’s Frank.

Why We Chose Frank: He’s a genius messenger who (unbeknownst to many) sidelines as a coach to financial advisors. Learn what words will help you win business in 2017.
Speaking Slot: Monday, 10:30 a.m., Main Hall


Name: Kevin O’Leary

Best Known As: Mr. Wonderful, aka, one of the toughest “sharks” on CNBC’s Shark Tank

Why We Chose Kevin: Kevin’s easy to dismiss as a celebrity headliner until he actually starts talking about ETFs, when you suddenly realize that he really knows what he’s talking about. His speech is powerful, inspiring stuff.

Speaking Slot: Tuesday, 9:10 a.m., Main Hall


Name: Larry Kudlow

Best Known As: The sharpest conservative economic thinker on TV.

Why We Chose Larry: A close economic advisor to President-elect Trump, Larry’s uniquely positioned to tell us how to invest and win during a Trump presidency.

Speaking Slot: Monday, 5:20 p.m., Main Hall


Name: Michael Kitces

Best Known As: Financial advisor and author of the well-read blog, Nerd’s Eye View

Why We Chose Michael: Because he’s leading the charge for advisors to realize that robo advice is an opportunity, not a threat. We think embracing that idea is one key to succeeding as an advisor in the next 10 years.

Speaking Slot: Sunday, 5:20 p.m., Advisor Accelerator


Name: Steve Cucchiaro

Best Known As: The founder of Windhaven, the pioneering ETF strategist acquired by Charles Schwab

Why We Chose Steve: He’s basically the smartest person we know, and he’s spent the past year “in the lab” re-imagining how to build portfolios. Want a hint? Start with multiplayer game theory, add in ETFs and … well, you’ll have to come to his talk to find out, but it’s pretty darn cool.

Speaking Slot: Wednesday, 11:20 a.m., Main Hall


Name: Tim Urban

Best Known As: The No. 1 Most-Watched TED Speaker of 2016 (10 million views and counting).

Why We Chose Tim: Because he’s hugely funny and just as sharp. His talk will have you laughing, crying and inspired to really get things going in the year ahead.

Speaking Slot: Monday, 12:50 p.m., Lunch Hall


Matt Hougan is CEO of Inside ETFs, a division of Informa PLC. He spearheads the world's largest ETF conferences and webinars. Hougan is a three-time member of the Barron's ETF Roundtable and co-author of the CFA Institute’s monograph, "A Comprehensive Guide to Exchange-Trade Funds."