Seen and Heard at the Morningstar Conference
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Seen and Heard at the Morningstar Conference

As lightning flashed, thunder roared and city officials issued tornado warnings, the Morningstar conference kicked off Wednesday in Chicago. Nearly 1,300 mutual fund executives, advisors, individual investors and journalists descended on McCormick Place. The foul weather was a favorite conversation topic, with many attendees swapping stories about flight delays.

In one extreme case, a New York-based attendee was originally due to arrive in Chicago at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. He finally saw O'Hare Airport at 11 p.m. The attendee faced a two-hour delay before his flight got canceled. Determined to make it to Chicago, he switched to another airport, narrowly missed a flight, was placed on a waiting list on the next one and finally made it to Chicago at 11 p.m.

"I read the paper back and forth three times," he said.

Asked whether the conference was worth the ordeal, the attendee said yes.
* * *
Rudolph-Riad Younes, head of international equities at Artio Global Investors, drew laughs from the audience at a session Wednesday afternoon with his "dotcom, dot gov" remark.

"That's a great line, I wish I had thought of it," said co-panelist Steve Romick, partner at First Pacific Advisors.
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DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeff Gundlach doesn't seem to mind being trapped in a room with several journalists. In one of the lighter moments during Gundlach's Q&A session with 13 or so reporters Wednesday night, a conference organizer interrupted the chat by reminding people to stay inside the room and stay away from the windows as the storm raged.

One of the reporters asked Gundlach, whose ouster from TCW last December triggered a chain of events worthy of a soap opera, how he felt about the possibility of being stuck in a room with reporters.

"There are worse things," Gundlach deadpanned.

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