Ahhh, back to the comfort zone!

I may not have been traveling, but I was out of my usual routine the past few days with TBP conference — so you can blame me for the back-to-back triple digit Dow losses.

The conference was truly an incredible day. It was a fantastic line up of brilliant, outside the box speakers, who dazzled the room.

I did not read the tenor as bearish as portrayed — it was more along the lines of “Equities are of increasing risk, and there are various asset classes that offer greater opportunity for the risk assumed.” I know that nuance doesn’t always translate easily, but there were many investment themes beyond equities for those people who are long only (beyond gold). There were also plenty of thoughts on paired trades and shorts for those who weren’t.

I’ll do a full write up on it, along with links to video and media.

Over dinner, Rosie mentioned a few people had told him it was the single best conference they ever attended. That’s a testament to the unique perspective and fierce intelligence of the people who spoke.  And I have to give mad props to Marion Maneker, my co-producer of the event, Dianne DiNardo (of One Source Worldwide) who runs the logistics. I also have a secret weapon: My team of Josh, Anna, Caitlyn and Mike. They make it easy for me to look good.

For today, I have to shake off the after effects of three days of late dinners, too much wine — and a boatload of coffee yesterday. More to come later . . .


Category: Apprenticed Investor

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

25 Responses to “Back in the Saddle (Post-Conference)”

  1. Steve M says:

    Hi, Barry, Wonderful Conference and I appreciate the invite. You had a terrific group of presenters and I found it quite valuable. Sorry I couldn’t stay for the latter part of the program and have a glass of wine with you and your lovely wife. Thanks and Best  Steve  p.s. I told  Laura she missed something special. I was particularly impressed with Rosie’s presentation, and thought Michael Belkin was a rather offbeat, interesting, guy. I’d like to meet him.    

  2. Mike B says:

    Thanks for inviting me to speak at your conference. It was a pleasure to
    finally meet you.

    Great bunch of speakers and a good, informed crowd.

  3. Jaime says:


    Great to meet you yesterday. Thank you for inviting me to tbpconference. It was excellent.


  4. Tom S says:

    Terrific job yesterday, Barry! 

    Thank you, Tom

  5. sakhalinsk says:

    Would it be crazy/impossible to run a similar conference in London?
    Just wonderin… Some of us couldn’t make it over to NYC this time round.


    BR: Very challenging to do from a distance — doing the conf in NYC allows us to take advantage of our knowledge of locales, speakers, media, etc.

  6. Jeremy H says:

    You and your team did a great job at the conference today. I was very impressed not only by the content but also by the execution – kudos.

  7. JC in Va says:

    Mr. Ritholtz,

    Have you ever considered getting some of the presentations approved for Continuing Education credit?


    BR: Excellent idea — someone suggested that at the conference, and I will look into it.

  8. John Mc says:


    I wanted to extend my thanks and gratitude to you and your staff
    for putting this conference together.  The speakers were outstanding
    delivering robust information. This was a tremendous experience and
    a valuable resource in my teaching and research.

    I wanted to follow up with you (since I had to leave for an early flight) about access to the slide presentations. Is there a way I might access the presentation slides from the guest speakers?  Yesterday was a cognitive blur and I forgot to ask before mosying back to Michigan.

    Thank you again for all of your collective work,



    BR: Hey Prof —

    I’ll get links to everything posted by tomorrow

  9. Greg0658 says:

    Thanks for the live feed sent over the interpipes to IL – “nice bump up in provisions”
    I stayed with ya’s all day – tho my lunch was put’g the pond into winter mode
    lived on coffee, milk & cookies then chips & beer for the day

    was it Michael Belkin? who mentioned a statue at the NYSE? of miners & farmers? who the exchange exists for – the speaker gave it a name – I tried google for it but couldn’t find – unless its the gabble front panel

    this dark cloud stuff – its only a cloud :-| the economies of both main & wall will see the sun tomorrow – just keep throwing your feet out of bed, work work play, and when balance has been found the sun will shine more regularly
    .. then someone will throw a wrench into the machine (for tides)

  10. dead hobo says:

    BR complained:

    I did not read the tenor as bearish as portrayed — it was more along the lines of “Equities are of increasing risk, and there are various asset classes that offer greater opportunity for the risk assumed.” I

    The Business Insider portrays the conference as a bunch of gloomy gusses who spent all their time whining about the Fed’s support of the economy. (My description may be a little exaggerated, but it makes the point.)

    I’ve made my peace with the Fed since they came out and publicly stated their plan to pump in liquidity to support asset prices to aid growth. Prior to this announcement, they looked like a secretive cabal who only wanted to enrich secret beneficiaries, and that they might stop at any second … similar to pulling out the rug from underneath an innocent bystander. They were to be feared, not appreciated.

    Look. All prices for all things, financial or otherwise, are supported by liquidity. Remove liquidity and all prices fall. People sell what they have for whatever they can get. This applies to financial assets, gold, groceries, cars, everything. Financial assets are the most sensitive and the entire economy suffers if the Fed does not supply liquidity. Remove liquidity and imagine a bank run, but apply it to the entire economy and not just one bank. That’s the works without QE. Had the Fed not been so nauseatingly secretive about it, the economy world be years better off for it.

    So, it’s a difficult investment environment for pros? Cry me a river. Wait. Here’s an idea. Try to guess where the economy might grow next and put your cash there before anyone else notices. Then, when the economy expands there, you will profit from the increases valuations. You’re welcome.

  11. You are completely missing the point — but I don’t expect anyone who wasn’t there and is commenting 2X removed on a third party writeup would understand any of the nuance or shading of what was said. The presentations were nuanced and informative and offered many opportunities for investing.

    I did not say it was “a difficult investment environment for pros” — I explicitly said this was “one of the hardest market environments I have ever seen, in part because of the cross-signals sent by the economy and the Fed.”

    Cry you a river? Why, for you misrepresenting what was said? You make a strong argument for not having comments on blogs.

  12. Richard D says:

    You and your team did a great job organizing and presenting the conference. I thought the speakers ranged from outstanding to very good with one exception. You also avoided the trap of panels. Even the two panels you had were limited to a moderator and one or two participants and were pretty good. Panels are often disjointed and a waste of time. Without being too negative your second speaker, Dylan Grice, while obviously very intelligent, did not present that well. The panel format may have hurt his presentation. While I don’t agree presently with either Bianco or Rosenberg I loved hearing their presentations- they were terrific. I also have a different interpretation on events in Washington and what needed to be done than Neil Barofsky but I thought he was terrific and I am going to revisit my point of view based on his presentation- and try to find the time to read his book. The venue for the conference was a good one, and was well done.

    Suggestions for next year:

    I think that perhaps one less speaker after lunch would make sense and end the conference a little earlier, although what you presented here was so strong I hesitate to tell you to cut anything.

    Having a municipal manager was a good idea and timely. Next year to mix it up I would suggest a mortgage or sovereign debt investor present to mix it up in the bond space.

    Mr. Rosenberg and Bianco are terrific but if you invite them back next year I would not have them present back to back- they are a little too similar in outlook to do that. Keep them both but split them.

    Mr. O’Shaugnessy was terrific have him back if you can.

    It was one of the best conferences I have attended and I learned a lot from the questions posed. Thank you again for inviting me.

  13. Save Dorothy says:


    I was at the conference, and I have to tell you that Biz Insider was wrong. They sometimes have decent content (I follow Wiesenthal on Twitter), but they sensationalize every news story to max out page views they give yellow journalism a bad name.

    Ritholtz had it right. It was a very eclectic and informative line up, and you got nothing from reading about it second hand AT BI.

    You were wrong and obnoxious. You owe the host an apology. I won’t suggest he hold his breath waiting.

  14. Dave L says:

    I have extensive notes I will send you , as soon as I put it together. Hopefully, some of it will be salvageable.

    Thanks again for having me. It was easily the best conference I’ve been to.


  15. Mahler's Revenge says:

    This summed it up nicely:

    Big Picture views range from don’t fight QE3 to ‘just avoid risk    

  16. dead hobo says:

    Barry Ritholtz Says:
    October 11th, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Cry you a river? Why, for misrepresenting what was said? You make a strong argument for not having comments on blogs.

    Cry me a river. Agreed that a 2X summary is problematic. But things are what they are perceived as to a large degree.

    You’re a pro who charges money for being a pro. Anyone can put cash in a mutual fund. You’re suppose to be better than that and always seeking the untrodden path, since, I presume, that’s where the herd will trample next if you’re tight.

    You don’t want my comments. Fine. This space only for fanboys and fangirls.

  17. I don’t want fanboys — I want intelligent objective informed comentaries — not ignorance thrown from a distance.

    If your comments are going to misstate what I said to demolish strawmen, who needs them?

    Let me know the next time you spend 6 months working on a project that by all accounts turned out to be wonderful, so I can piss all over it.

  18. Trader Joe says:

    I ran an active listserve in the 1990s. Early on, I learned that metastatic cancers had to be surgically exized immediately. The Dead Hoboes of the world infect healthy organs and kill them. Then you lose the host organism.

  19. maspablo says:

    My 2nd conference attended. Great lineup of speakers , only thing I missed was more BARRY. I was hoping to have Barry touch on some of his ideas in the afternoon , though it was great to have him get the questions rolling/jumping on stage with some of the speakers. Great job Barry. Can’t wait to next one

  20. Peter W says:

    I just wanted to thank you for your conference. I thought that the venue, presentations and guests were outstanding. Next year, I will invite clients to attend as I can share how worthwhile it is having been in attendance. Talk to you soon


  21. KJ says:

    I’m still buzzing from that amazing conference. (Words I’d never expected to say!)

    Thank you again. As I said on Wednesday, it was a truly enriching day. New ideas at every turn. And I’m grateful for all of it.

    Also, it struck me that much of what was familiar about what I heard on Wednesday I knew from reading you. You really do provide a critical and original point of view for our readers. Your perspective is a great service to them. I know I don’t say it enough, but thank you for the time and effort you put into each piece.



  22. Joe D says:

    Hey Barry – great conference again this year. I really enjoyed each one of the speakers.

    I’m pretty sure I was the only person there from FMR so I plan to write up the highlights and publish them internally. Hopefully it helps the conference get some more attention because I truly think that it stacks up to any of the other really good ones of similar focus (ISI, Grant’s, etc.) that I end up at throughout the year.

    Again, well done. I would have said as much in person but you looked like you had your hands full all day.

    Looking forward to next year,


  23. Doug says:

    The conference was the most informative group of presentations I have been to, particularly including Mauldin. He had Dave, Lacy and Al Erian, but it was too interspersed with less relevant stuff. Yours was compact and efficient. Jim Grant’s a couple of years ago wasn’t even close.

    Please do me a favor and send me the PDF of Belkin’s stuff. It is blocked here at the office and I want a hard copy for my files. He was brilliant and I had no idea about his methodology and track record.


    BR: All conference PDFs are here.

  24. Joe Z says:


    Your conference this year was far and away the best conference I have attended all year, and I attend many of them.

    I am still trying to figure out if the overall tone of the conference was decidedly bearish or simply pragmatic. I am still trying to also figure out how my client portfolios should be repositioned given the comments from many of the speakers.

    I have always hedged against being both right and wrong when building strategic and tactical allocations for my clients. I am curious what are your thoughts about how portfolios should be positioned given the current circumstances.

    I have copied my colleague, Tom, in on this email because I know he too will be interested in your reply. Thanks for all you do.

    Joseph Z

  25. Rondy says:


    You Sweet Savage, you, you have put together a conference the likes of which mankind may never experience again. I know this to be true because Masser and McGee just did a derivative of it from onsite with most if not all the speakers.

    With the exception of only Jim O’Shaughnessy, when you hear these speakers again, you’ll think they are my puppets – I move their mouths and throw my voice.

    Of particular note, listen to Dylan Grice, global strategy analyst at Societe General, when he merely hints at much of the elementary basis of my philosophical and psychological research on the real nature of Money. You’ll chuckle with me when he struggles to explain the basis of money to be a sort of “Faith in People,” when I perfectly described it in my paper as: The core basis of all money is labor, either mechanical or intellectual labor. Money is not faith in anything. It’s Monetary Obedience to fiat money because that obedience is the only ticket to the infinite bazaar.

    Listen to both Grice and Rosenberg as they taunt Benber N. Anke. Listen to Rosenberg ridicule the bond bears as I’ve lovingly ridiculed them for longer than you’ve known me. And I whipped your ass one time real good, a long time ago – right, Barry Larry?

    All in all, it’ll make you wake in a sweat and realize how right I am that they must be my puppets.

    Hat’s off. I can’t imagine a better quality of service to investors than you produced with that conference.