In this special edition of Swift Chats recorded live at the 2022 Morningstar Investment Conference, Jonny Swift interviews a range of guests, live from the Social/Digital Hub. The episode features:
- Shawna Ohm, Founder of Content 151
- Katryna Deligiannis, Senior Social Media Manager at Morningstar
- Aleksandr Spencer CFA, Chief Investment Officer at Bogart Wealth
- Tom Lydon, Vice Chairman at VettaFi
- Peter Lazaroff CFA, CFP®, Chief Investment Officer at Plancorp and BrightPlan
- Alison Susko, Director of Partnerships at Asset-Map
- Liv Gagnon, Co-Founder of Choir
- Roger Wohlner, Founder of RLW Associates
- Katie Braden, CFP®, Founder and Chief Video Officer of Innovating Advice
Staffed by Impact Communications and select special friends, the Social/Digital Hub is an experiential learning center located in the middle of the Morningstar conference exhibit hall. Learn more at www.SocialDigitalHub.com.
I think people are ingesting the content and then really thinking about, "okay, what are the actual key takeaways that I'm listening to? Or what is the really cool sound bite that I want people to know about?"" ~ Katryna Deligiannis, Morningstar
Transcription of Conversation
GUEST #1: SHAWNA OHM
Jonny Swift: Hi, I'm Jonny Swift of Impact Communications. I'm here in the Social Digital Hub at the 2022 Morningstar Conference in Chicago. I'm here with Shawna Ohm of Content151. Hey Shawna, how's it going?
Shawna Ohm: So good. It's always good to be with the Impact Communications folks.
Swift: Yes. Thank you. And I know that this is your first Morningstar conference. So tell us what you're excited for in the conference.
Ohm: It is! You know, my background's in financial news and I feel like we used to get headlines out of the Morningstar Conference every year.
And I was just reading a book that mentioned a few speeches here, and it was really exciting to know, "Hey, I'm gonna be there in a couple weeks." So to be where the action is, is always a fun thing, and the Social Digital Hub is where like the action of the action is happening.
Swift: You're an honorary Hubster this year for the Social Digital Hub powered by Impact Communications. So tell us a little bit about what we're doing here.
Ohm: We're gonna be talking about the Content Revolution and what advisors and finance folks can learn from the Kardashians and just other people who are doing content really well. So if you want a more mainstream example, you know, the Ritholtz guys are doing content really well and getting business from it.
So what takeaways are there and what can people learn from those tactics and implement in their own businesses?
Swift: Yep. So Shawna is giving a Hub Talk on that on day two, during the morning break, we're gonna have a few other Hub Talks throughout the conference on lead magnets, on SEO and online presence, on the power of authenticity and video.
And we're also just gonna be talking to attendees about social media marketing, digital media best practices, and all kinds of things.
Ohm: Can we tell them what we're looking at here? There's an entire table of just like audio visual, equipment to nerd out on and like, learn what works best-- I'm gonna take notes because I feel like you guys might have some tricks up your sleeves that I don't know about. Like, what is that?
Swift: That is a light ring. We got all kinds of tripods, all kinds of equipment to help advisors and other people in the industry capture better videos, do better webinars, do better podcasts. So we're gonna post a lot of the recordings of the presentations and other resources on SocialDigitalHub.com after the conference. So check that out and thank you again, Shawna, for joining us.
Ohm: Happy to, and hopefully everyone will come by and say hi in person.
GUEST #2: KATRYNA DELIGIANNIS
Jonny Swift: Hi, I'm Jonny Swift and we're here in the Social Digital Hub at the 2022 Morningstar Conference. I'm here with Katryna Deligiannis of Morningstar. Katryna, tell me a little bit more about your role with Morningstar.
Katryna Deligiannis: Sure. So I am Senior Social Media Manager at Morningstar. I've been working here for the past 10 years. So I've really been able to see social media grow from something that nobody really took serious to the main event when it comes to marketing, at least I'm a bit biased by it. So my role, especially for the conference, has been to make sure that we're promoting it pre-conference, and also that we're really creating that FOMO experience during the conference.
Swift: Yep. You're doing a great job of that. I know you had a big role in getting the conference to where it's at. So what kind of trends are you seeing in the industry when it comes to social media?
Deligiannis: Sure. So it's actually something I was just talking to someone about.
And we were noticing that people aren't necessarily live tweeting every single thing people are saying in sessions anymore, which I think is a good thing. I think people are ingesting the content and then really thinking about, "okay, what are the actual key takeaways that I'm listening to? Or what is the really cool sound bite that I want people to know about?"
Swift: Mm-hmm. I agree completely. And what about the power of video? I know we have a couple video crews here on site capturing and streaming. So tell me more about that.
Deligiannis: Yeah. So video is-- I mean, we've been telling people this for years now. We've been featuring it at the Social Digital Hub for a few years, too, but really video has come onto its own.
So we actually have Jay Coulter and Katie Braden here. And they've been amazing at capturing the whole conference experience through video. So they've been doing live streams on LinkedIn. They've been doing some TikToks, they've been doing Instagram. And it's really just a way to kind of create that higher conference experience.
Because, you can read things on tweets or you can maybe see a photo, but video really puts personality into things. And I think it helps people connect better.
Swift: Agree completely. And like when they see you online on video and then they meet you in person, they feel like they kind of already know you.
Deligiannis: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. We're at a place now where we really can't avoid video. But what I also think is okay about that is we've spent the past two years on zoom. So I think in some ways it's really accelerated people's comfort with video because, I would say two years ago at the conference, we had people shy away from being on video, but now people are literally on video every single day. So they're a lot more comfortable with that.
Swift: That's that's so true. Well, it seems like the conference has been going great so far. And any other highlights or key takeaways you've gotten out of the conference?
Deligiannis: Yeah, so I just sat in Mary Child's lunch note, keynote session. She just wrote "The Bond King" about Bill Gross, who used to head PIMCO. Her book is super interesting and her session was amazing. So I was really glad I was able to catch that.
Swift: Awesome. Well, glad to hear everything's going well. Thanks for joining us in the Social Digital Hub.
Deligiannis: Thank you for having me and thank you for being here.
Swift: Of course. Happy to be here again at the Social Digital Hub and great conference yet again, so thank you.
GUEST #3: ALEKSANDR SPENCER
Jonny Swift: Hey, I'm Jonny Swift. I'm here in the social digital hub at the 2022 Morningstar Conference in Chicago. And I'm here with Aleksandr Spencer of Bogart Wealth. So Alex, tell me a little bit more about you and the firm you work for.
Aleksandr Spencer: Yes. Well, first off, pleasure to see you again, Jonny. A little bit about Bogart Wealth. So we are a Registered Investment Advisor out of McLean, Virginia. We're about 2 billion in assets under management. Specifically, what we do is financial plans, investment management, tax, and estate plans. We really try to offer our clients that one stop shop experience. Our goal is to make it a seamless transition for them from the work years onto their retirement phase.
My role specifically for the company is Chief Investment Officer. So I'm tasked with running the investment operations for the company and just kind of helping the firm figure out what's the best solution that's gonna help our clients navigate throughout their financial years.
Swift: So I'm sure you're picking up lots of good tips and takeaways from the conference here. I know this is your first time at the Morningstar Conference. What have been your biggest highlights and takeaways so far?
Spencer: You always know it's a good conference when your brain is just overwhelmed by the end. A lot of information, a lot of insightful things. You know, one thing that you learn in this industry is that you have to be open to all the changes and all the disruptions and all the new technologies and new ways to streamline your operations.
Some key takeaways are things that folks are doing with disruption from Bitcoins and things like that, or how folks are modeling their portfolios, or even some of the new softwares that we're seeing out there, perhaps things to help us with compliance and things like that.
So that allows us to focus more on the core aspects of our business and we can perhaps lean to software or third party providers to beef up the rest. So that's been an interesting experience and you get that from all the individual sessions and then just simply mingling with the various folks throughout the industry has been a pleasure too.
Swift: Walking around the Exhibit Hall, lots of great exhibitors here and great to be back in person at the Morningstar Conference. So thanks again for joining us, Alex.
Spencer: Yeah. Thank you very much.
GUEST #4: TOM LYDON
Jonny Swift: We're here in the Social Digital Hub at the 2022 Morningstar Conference. I'm here with Tom Lydon of ETF Trends. Thanks so much for joining me. And tell me about your conference experience so far. How's it going?
Tom Lydon: Hey Jonny, it's been great. It's just so fun to get back and in front of people, shake hands, a few hugs, hearing all the great content here. And everyone slipped in a couple drinks last night, too. Didn't they?
Swift: Exactly. Yep. Had a nice happy hour last evening. And so what have been some highlights for you at the conference so far?
Lydon: The CEO of Morningstar, Kunal, did a great job. Not only addressing those of us that are a little bit long in the tooth, but most importantly Millennials, Gen Zs, Gen Xs. You know what we've been talking about these folks for a long period of time, and guess what? They've actually got some real money now.
And they are more tech savvy, and they're more aware of fees and expenses. So more than ever, those of us that are serving investors need to do a better job of giving this generation what they're looking for. And that's quick, easy, definable strategies, tools that are inexpensive and most importantly technology that they can use to track all that.
Swift: Yeah, definitely. So I know also that you have a big announcement coming out later this week. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Lydon: We do. We're really excited. So again, I started ETF Trends in 2005. We merged with ETF Database. So two of the biggest ETF related platforms. We also were acquired by Alarian and S Network, the indexing firm.
So now we have a lot of arrows in the quiver. The fun thing is we can do a lot of things for not only investors and advisors, but also ETF issuers and exchanges too, but being able to spit all that out at one time is a little bit difficult. So we've come up with one brand and starting now the new name of our collective company is VettaFi. So it's V E T T A capital F I. We're really excited. And kind of, when you think about a company like Morningstar, that offers a lot of different things. We aspire to be a brand like that one day.
Swift: Yeah. That's great. So where can people learn more about VettaFi?
Lydon: Go to Vettafi.com. And still ETF Trends, ETF Database, Alarian. We're not going away, but you'll see this collective brand all coming together. And new and exciting colors and fanny packs are coming soon.
Swift: Alright. Very exciting stuff. Well, thank you for joining us in the Social Digital Hub, Tom.
Lydon: Thanks Jonny.
GUEST #5: PETER LAZAROFF
Jonny Swift: Hi, I'm Jonny Swift. I'm here at the 2022 Morningstar Conference in Chicago. I'm here with Peter Lazaroff of Plan Corp. So thanks for joining me, Peter, tell me a little bit about your firm.
Peter Lazaroff: Well, Jonny, thanks for letting me hop on the mic. I am the Chief Investment Officer at Plan Corp, which is based out of St. Louis and manages about $6 billion for clients across the country.
So we have the traditional wealth management business. But we also do some institutional and retirement plan work and a family office all within inside of that.
Swift: Great. So I heard you say that this is your first Morningstar conference. So tell me why you're here and what you're most excited for.
Lazaroff: My first Morningstar conference-- and I've wanted to come for ages, but the dates have never quite aligned. And honestly, these dates weren't perfect either. So I'm not here for the whole event, but I'm always really excited to connect and network with some of the speakers and attendees. And similarly, it's a really efficient way to do a lot of due diligence on fund providers that we're not currently using all in one venue.
So prior to the pandemic, that was sort of our policy is that if we weren't actively using a particular manager, we would go perform that due diligence all at once. Just so it doesn't interrupt your day to day work. And here at Morningstar, they have a lot of great sponsors and a lot of great funds here.
All of whom we'd like to speak to and learn a little bit more about to make sure that whatever we're doing for our clients is in fact in their best interest.
Swift: Well, thanks again for joining us, Peter and enjoy the rest of the conference.
Lazaroff: Thanks Jonny.
GUEST #6: ALISON SUSKO
Jonny Swift: Hi, I'm Jonny Swift. I'm here in the Social Digital Hub at the 2022 Morningstar conference. I'm here with Alison Susko of Asset Maps. So Alison, tell me a little bit about yourself and about your firm.
Alison Susko: So thank you so much for having me today. I'm Alison Susko, as you said, and I'm Director of partnerships over at Asset Map. I've been in the industry for gosh, over 15 years now. So at some firms that everybody might have heard of, e-Money Advisor, DocuPace, and now at great company Asset-Map, where we're really helping advisors kind of visualize things better with their clients, have them open up to some great opportunities and decision making and happy to be here at Morningstar this week.
Swift: So you've been to the Morningstar conference a few times before, right?
Susko: I have.
Swift: And so what is standing out to you this year? What are about some highlights and takeaways?
Susko: Just really seems like everyone's thrilled to be back out and networking, meeting people, getting to put a face to the name and kind of the social media connections that have been made over the last couple of years. It's really fun to see everybody connecting and back out there.
Swift: Great to be back in person.
Swift: Always a great conference here. And so you have a new announcement and partnership with Morningstar, right? Tell me more about that.
Susko: We do. So we just finished up an integration with Morningstar Office.
We are so excited to talk to more people about it this week. We've actually seen our authentications go up a bunch this week and folks using it. It's able to kind of prepopulate that great visual map that advisors can talk to their clients about with the Morningstar data. The accounts they have under management.
And also share back those great Asset-Map reports into Morningstar Office that they can then distribute to their clients or keep right there in their Morningstar Office platform.
Swift: Very cool. Sounds like a perfect integration. So thank you, Alison, for joining us in the Social Digital Hub.
Susko: Absolutely. It was great being here.
GUEST #7: LIV GAGNON
Jonny Swift: Hi, I'm Jonny Swift. I'm here in the Social Digital Hub at the 2022 Morningstar Conference. And I am here with Liv Gagnon of Choir. So Liv, tell me more about yourself and about Choir.
Liv Gagnon: Yes. Thank you. I'm happy to be here. So I'm Liv Gagnon. I am the co-founder of Choir. Choir is a platform that connects women, non-binary folks, and people of color with media and speaking opportunities.
So our goal is to make conference stages across all of financial services more representative of the world that we walk around in every single day. We also have the first diversity certification for financial conferences. So we've developed an algorithm that measures how representative and visible women and people of color are at events compared to the representation in the US population. So yeah, it's been a blast here meeting people and telling people about Choir Voices, our platform.
Swift: So how's your engagement been at the conference so far? Are you having lots of good conversations?
Gagnon: Yes, it is just so nice to be back out and around and meeting people face to face and just really learning about all of the brilliant experts that attend these conferences.
And we've had quite a few people show interest in signing up for Choir Voices. So we're really excited. We've got a couple hundred folks now signed up and we've barely marketed it so far. So we're excited to start connecting more speakers.
Swift: Very cool. Any other highlights from the conference so far you wanna share or things you're looking forward to?
Gagnon: I think just the energy is really good and just the going around and seeing everyone sometimes for the first time in person representing their companies. And so it's just been a really great place to network and just a good crowd.
Swift: Awesome. Well, thanks so much for sharing all that with us, and enjoy the rest of the conference.
Gagnon: Appreciate it.
GUEST #8: ROGER WOHLNER
Jonny Swift: Hi, I'm Jonny Swift. We're here in the Social Digital Hub at the 2022 Morningstar Conference in Chicago. I'm here with Roger Wohlner. Thanks for joining me. And Roger, tell me a little bit about yourself and your firm.
Roger Wohlner: Hey, Jonny. Great to see you again this year. Well I work for a big firm called RLW Associates and L happens to be my middle initial. And I am the owner and the associate. I focus on financial writing which I do both under my own byline and as a ghost writer for a number of financial advisors and firms in the industry.
And then I still have a small financial advisory practice. I love the Morningstar Conference. I enjoy coming here every year. It's great to catch up with people like you and to learn about what's going on in the industry.
Certainly some of the Morningstar products that I use and enhancements to those and just network with other people in the industry and get some different ideas and also see some familiar faces that I might not get to see during the year. And, certainly with, depending on who you talk to coming out of the pandemic or whatever status we're at, it's great to be in person, too.
Swift: Agreed. Yeah. It's great to be back in person after the Morningstar Conference was digital for a couple years. So, any other highlights from the conference, any other services or new technologies or anything that stood out to you so far?
Wohlner: I don't know about new technologies, but just I just got a demo on the direct indexing product, which they are rolling on. I think that's really cool. I think that fits a niche and I had had some specific question of the Morningstar Advisor Workstation, which is something I've been a subscriber and user of for a number of years and they did their best to answer those.
So, I'm looking forward to a couple of the breakout sessions today. And, and again, just to catch up with people that I haven't seen in a while and meet some new people in the industry.
Swift: Awesome. Well, thank you again for joining us in the Social Digital Hub. Enjoy the rest of the conference, and we'll talk to you soon.
Wohlner: Take care.
GUEST #9: KATIE BRADEN
Jonny Swift: Hi, I'm Jonny Swift. I'm here in the Social Digital Hub at the 2022 Morningstar Conference. I am here with Katie Braden of Innovating Advice. Katie, tell me more about yourself and your company.
Katie Braden: Absolutely. Thanks for having me here, Jonny, and here in the Social Digital Hub. So I'm a CFP professional with a degree in photography. So winding career over the last 17 years. And I now spend all of my time helping financial advisors and financial planners easily and authentically leverage video throughout their business.
Swift: And I know you had a hub talk yesterday, a presentation on that in the Social Digital Hub. So tell us more about what you talked about there.
Braden: That was all about really the easy and authentic parts of video and just getting advisors to get out there and do it. And so often we tend to overcomplicate things and we do that in all aspects of our lives. And so when it comes to doing video, I encourage advisors to start with one-on-one videos.
Don't try to go build a YouTube channel from day one, because that tends to just be too much. And then people don't get the success metrics and they're like "video doesn't work!" So I try to reframe the conversation and get advisors to start easily, start simply. And leverage that authenticity. Because I genuinely believe we can change the public perception of financial advice and who financial advisors are through authentic video.
Swift: That's great advice. And I know that you were also capturing a bunch of video here at the conference with Jay Coulter of Financial Advisor TV. So how was that? Did you get a lot of good videos?
Braden: We've gotten a lot of good videos. It's been really fun to talk with a lot of the speakers after their sessions, gather some takeaways, we've been live streaming a lot of those. We'll also continue to drip out content, talking with attendees about their favorite parts of the conference, talking with some of the vendors here. So it's been really fun to be hanging out in the Exhibit Hall, which has so much going on here.
Swift: Yeah, there's so much going on. It's been a great conference.
We're winding down later today, but great conference. Lots of good video footage coming out of it. And thank you again for joining us and the Social Digital Hub.
Braden: Yeah. Thanks Jonny.