Disruptive forces are all around us.

Uber is the world's largest taxi company, but owns no taxis. Alibaba is the world's most valuable retailer, but has no inventory. Airbnb is the world’s largest accommodation provider, but owns no property.

Designing companies for the future is more than just upgrading to the latest technologies. It requires a radical rethink of the human factors behind innovation. To succeed in this environment, we must think without constraints and re-imagine the way we do business. The power of imagination — the willingness to think what if — is now a critical factor to success.

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Current State of the Financial, Economic and Political Market 

Milton Ezrati, consultant, former Senior Economist, Lord Abbett and Co.

A slowdown in China's growth, fast-falling oil prices and other global macro changes are roiling the equity markets. Add to that changes in the U.S. political leadership and a global refugee crisis - how will this affect the asset management industry? Who will be the winners and losers? What are the implications for distribution channels, investment strategies and asset classes? Read more.


What's in Store for the Asset Management Industry

Michael Serota, Americas Wealth & Asset Management Co-Leader, EY 

Major markets weren't kind to the asset management industry in 2015, and volatility looks to be the name of the game for 2016. Investors are more sophisticated, demanding both customization and cheap beta; regulatory demands remain at all-time highs; and margins are under pressure. Yet the rise of the machine and advances in technology and operations offer opportunities for growth.

Who are the firms best able to compete in this environment? What solutions are they offering? What are the characteristics of the organizations most likely to acquire greater amounts of new assets, take advantage of new distribution channels, and achieve higher revenue and cost margins? Read more.


A Hacker's Guide to Space Exploration

Ariel Waldman, founder of Spacehack.org, NASA datanaut 

Don't panic: the next big science revolution isn't just for asteroid miners or CERN nuclear research scientists. There's an emerging movement towards "massively multiplayer science," that is, empowering people from a variety of different backgrounds to be explorers and contributors to new scientific discoveries and methods.

Just as science fiction has often shown the way to future inventions, the act of hacking is now generating prototypes that act as footholds for future explorations, discoveries and epiphanies in science. Leagues of multidisciplinary science hackers are mashing up ideas, mediums, industries and people to create crude yet cunning devices that change how we experience science. Read more.

Augmented Human: How Technology is Shaping the New Reality

Jitendra Waral, Sector Head - Internet and Global Consumer Electronics, Bloomberg Intelligence 

Our virtual future is no longer a distant promise, but a rapidly growing industry. Consider Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality headset-maker Oculus; Google's part in leading a $542 million investment in augmented reality company Magic Leap; and Microsoft's introduction of holographic experiences with HoloLens.

In this presentation, Jitendra discusses how artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) will change life as we know it and how we may be soon living in a virtual — not physical — world. What are the opportunities AR presents for business, design and culture? How can we contribute to and help define this new technological era? Read more.


Designing Your Business for the 21st Century 

Mike Walsh, author of the best-selling book FUTURETAINMENT and CEO of the global innovation research agency, Tomorrow

If you could start with a clean sheet of paper, how would you design your company? Should your youngest staff member be making coffee or running your R&D team? Is big data something for your IT department to worry about, or a weapon to be wielded by your management team? Do you ban social networks or use them to collaborate more effectively?

Companies built to survive the future are no accident. In his presentation, Mike will show us that these are a result of deliberate business design decisions smart leaders are making today. Read more.


Talent Management and the Future of Work

Moderator: Sandra Pinnavaia, EVP, chief knowledge and innovation officer, Business Talent Group
Panelists: Dr. Patti Ippoliti, Consultant and Professor, Rutgers Business School; 
Paige Scott, Head of the North American Asset Management Practice, Sheffield Haworth

Money managers now compete not just with other financial services companies but also with high-tech companies and start-ups. Hedge funds are hiring social media specialists and data scientists from the computer science industry and Silicon Valley. Alternative career models are quickly emerging for professionals earning more than $100,000 per year. Professional employees — particularly millennials — are looking first and foremost for meaningful work and for new ways of working.

How should money management organizations respond to attract and retain the employees they need to stay competitive? How do these trends force us to think differently about human capital and knowledge work–related risks and opportunities? Read more.

Knowledge Center 2017 Executive Conference: Innovating to Expand Competitive Advantage Leaders across industries share how they're setting themselves up for the future

Humans Are Underrated

Geoff Colvin, senior editor-at-large, FORTUNE magazine

 It's no longer the stuff of speculation or science fiction — machines are entering the workplace in record numbers, replacing human labor in the process. It's a trend that will only increase, so what should we be doing about it? Geoff Colvin argues that we shouldn't compete with computers on tasks they excel at — we'll lose that battle. Instead, we should leverage what they're good at and focus on qualities they're incapable of.

Empathy, creativity, sensitivity and relationship-building are all key components of any successful organization, and they're essences that can't be programmed, wired or calculated: they're unique to us and us alone. Geoff's talk explores how focusing on human qualities not only ensures our survival in a computer-dominated workplace, but also makes businesses more relatable, accessible and successful in the long run. Read more.


Distribution Opportunities and Challenges in the European Marketplace

Moderator: Philip Masterson, SEI
Panelists: Robert Drake, Managing Director, Bury Street Capital; 
Maya Rodriguez, Managing Partner, AZR Capital Limited

Europe is the second largest fund marketplace in the world, yet Fortress Europe imposes barriers to entry making it difficult for non-European managers to succeed.

In this session, we discuss how U.S. managers can successfully access the European institutional investor base and answer a variety of questions: Will the uptake of UCITS persist? Will liquid alts UCITS funds continue to advance? Are UCITS platforms worth the money? Will regulations help or hurt asset growth? Who will be the winners and losers? Read more.


The U.S. Retirement Marketplace: Trends, Developments, Innovations and Opportunities

Sarah Holden, Senior Director, Retirement and Investor Research, Investment Company Institute; 
Bridget Bearden, former Director of Retirement Research, Strategic Insight

Americans have earmarked nearly $25 trillion for retirement across defined benefit and contribution plans, Individual Retirement Accounts and annuities. Mutual funds' and CITs' share of DC plan assets continue to grow. What are the trends, new product developments and opportunities to access this large asset pool? Read more.

The Coming of Age of ESG

Moderator: Jag Alexeyev, Impactvesting
Panelists: Jim Dunn, CEO and CIO, Verger Capital Management; 
Mark Wood, VP, Global Manager Research, Callan Associates; 
Carol Jeppesen, Senior U.S. Network Manager, Principles for Responsible Investment

Gone are the days where environmental, social and governance factors are viewed solely in dedicated funds or strategies. There is growing evidence that suggests that ESG or values-based factors, when integrated into overall investment analysis and decision making, may be a core means to evaluate risk. They may be part of a fiduciary responsibility and offer investors potential long-term performance advantages. Add to that, Morningstar has changed the narrative by now accounting for ESG in rating the funds in its database, forcing all managers to consider ESG factors. Has ESG finally moved out of its niche? Read more.


Life, Business and the Power of Optimism 

Bert Jacobs, co-founder and chief executive optimist of the Life is Good® company

Bert Jacobs provides inspirational information on how to stay happy, healthy and empowered. Life is Good is a company that seeks to overcome violence, poverty, and illness through the proceeds of selling vibrant accessories and apparel. Believing that consumers are influenced by too much “negative media,” Life is Good chooses to focus on what is right with the world vs. what is wrong. The Life is Good community believe that “optimism can take you anywhere.” Read more.