The MoneyShow is guided by the belief that "knowledge is power". It would be difficult to argue with that statement at face value and with the knowledge value the show provides its attendees. Whatever your investing interests may be, The MoneyShow has something for you with a very wide array of opinions on macro topics like the economy to sector specific ones like the metals complex. This company was a pioneer in this field going back to the early 80s when CEO Kim Githler started the company. The idea is to bring together the retail investor and trader community and mix them with financial experts and even representatives from prospective companies in which to invest. While this is a trade show with vendors having a selling objective, one never gets the sense that you are in the middle of an infomercial or a sales pitch for a timeshare. The speakers all have a genuine interest in sharing.
The MoneyShow team produces 17 events in the U.S., Canada, England, and China. They are also on the web with MoneyShow.com, a site with as many as 1,500 contributors. With the motto of "knowledge is power", they provide investors a myriad of ways to become smarter, and independent about their investment decisions.
I attended the show on August 15th and part of the day on the 16th. The event was held in the Marriott Marquis hotel in San Francisco. The layout of the show was commendable since the convention area was located in floors below the main hotel. This allowed for easier traffic flow without having to worry about hotel guests traversing the show areas. While this may seem inconsequential, it certainly facilitated movement between the sessions. The venue was quite "right-sized" too. I never got the feeling that it was too crowded.
The show kicked off with opening remarks by Kim Githler (Chair and CEO) and Charles Githler (Chairman Emeritus). Kim reaffirmed the company's motto. I also appreciated how she was strident about investors conducting due diligence and to make investment part of a broader family decision. Charles was quite effusive in his praise about the state of the investment markets whether stocks or precious metals. In fact, I cannot recall anything other than bullish optimism during his remarks. While I don't share his views, it is always important to understand diverse opinions and their source.
Joe Kinahan of TD Ameritrade, one of the show's sponsors, introduced a new index, at least for this writer, that went beyond measuring sentiment by surveys. The Investor Movement Index (IMX) showed what TD Ameritrade's retail investors were actually doing in the stock market.
Former GOP candidate Steve Forbes made an appearance and as expected, it had plenty of politics and economics. I enjoyed the macro view of the economy and its intersection with politics. This collision is something I discuss often in this area of cyberspace and in my book. I truly believe that the intersection of politics and economics will be the headline in the years ahead.
While I was looking forward to the Jim Rogers presentation, I had no idea that he was such a naturally funny and entertaining speaker. He was engaged in a very lively conversation with a young American lady of late high school age who is growing up in Japan. He was so impressed with her questions that he gave her his business card. What a coup for that young lady! It was nice that he took the time to share his personal experiences in his global circumnavigations. You could also tell how proud he was of his daughters growing up in Singapore and becoming immersed in the culture. He feels the 21st century will be the time when China displaces the U.S. as the dominant power. Between the laughter, however, he was very firm in his belief that tough times lie ahead, even for China.
I can honestly say that I gained a different perspective on technology from Roger McNamee. He discussed his views about Google and Apple noting that Apple is suffering from the Innovator's Dilemma. The future of tech seems very bright when he discusses HTML5, content owners, and the sharing economy. The sharing economy alone has significant implications for capital goods manufacturers.
The Everbank team of Chuck Butler and Frank Trotter provided good insight into the U.S. Dollar and their preferred course of investment which includes a diverse currency portfolio. Chuck extended himself further than any other speaker with bold proposals for combating the nation's debt problem. Whether you agree with his solutions, it was refreshing to see someone in the investment community take unpopular stances on this issue. Eventually it will take leadership to commit to unpopular solutions to solve this crisis.
Upon meeting Laszlo Birinyi, you get the sense that this is one proud man. He is proud of his research accomplishments and why not, he was a very successful prognosticator on Louis Rukeyser's Wall $treet Week for many years. His methodology, Money Flows, indicates to him that the stock market still has room to grow.
A personal highlight for me was meeting and interviewing Steve Hochberg of Elliott Wave International (EWI). Elliott Wave analysis is no doubt too esoteric for a large part of the investor segment. To their credit EWI has expanded their research into a burgeoning field called Socionomics - an examination of how social mood impacts markets and other parts of our lives. The blending of these two disciplines is a powerful way to understand investment markets and more. The audio of my interview is available at this link.
I did not spend a great deal of time in the exhibit hall but a broad array of companies found a home here. Some were investment companies like Liquid Investments. After visiting their booth, I learned something about a commodity as mundane as a coconut. Liquid Investments has financial interests in coconut plantations in Brazil and they produced a very nice brochure that both educated an investor on the product and provided good detail on investment opportunities.
Others exhibitors were investment advisory services. There were media companies represented (Investor's Business Daily and Barron's). There was also a plethora of well-known companies whose products we probably consume including BBVA, Darden Restaurants, General Electric, Petrobras, Procter and Gamble, and TexStar Energy Corporation. This latter grouping allowed investors just to have a conversation with a company prior to contemplating an investment. Seated in the BBVA booth was NBA Hall of Famer Chris Mullin. For a basketball fan, that was a nice and unexpected treat.
Oh did I mention that attending this conference is free! That's right an attendee can enjoy the majority of the content free of charge. There are some sessions that were considered premium and had an associated fee. If they were as good as the free sessions, then I am certain they were well worth the expense. If you have never been to one of these shows and have the opportunity, do it. Remember,
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Jim Mosquera is the author of Escaping Oz: Protecting your wealth during the financial crisis.