Project Punch Card held its first annual conference on December 7th, 2018. The new non-profit, launched in 2018, is focused on fostering a long-term investment orientation in students, particularly those from groups that are under-represented in the investment industry.
The conference was held at Fordham University’s Gabelli Center in Manhattan, and featured an impressive line-up of speakers, from David Abrams of Abrams Capital, to Alice Schroeder, author of The Snowball, the best-selling biography of Warren Buffett (neither of whom had ever spoken at an investment conference before), to John Rogers of Ariel Investments, the country’s first African-American owned money management firm.
Speakers who are rarely seen on public stages spoke at the PPC Conference in support of the new nonprofit’s mission. The sold-out event set aside one third of its available seats for students, giving them the rare opportunity to interact directly with the speakers. Partner organizations like Smart Women Securities, SEO (“Sponsors for Educational Opportunity”), and the Forte Foundation helped contribute to an audience that reflected the diversity we hope to foster in the industry.
In addition to speaking in depth about the benefits and challenges of long-term investing, speakers like John Rogers discussed the work they’ve done to expand the field of investing to include the excluded, starting with education and continuing with hiring.
Legendary investors like Murray Stahl of Horizon Kinetics, Paul Isaac of Arbiter Partners, John Levin of Levin Capital Strategies, John Bader of Halcyon Asset Management, and David Marcus of Evermore Global shared insights from decades of successful investing, and were noticed at times participating in each other’s Q&A sessions, giving attendees a rare glimpse into the interaction between some of the industry’s greats.
Author Cheryl Einhorn introduced the audience to a new system of decision-making, and attendees also heard Best Ideas presentations from Michelle Kelner of Sandglass Capital, Miguel Fidalgo of Triarii Capital, Clifford Sosin of CAS Partners and Paul Lountzis of Lountzis Asset Management. Michael Weinberg spoke about machine learning, and Steven Wood moderated a panel on family-owned businesses.
Thanks to generous sponsorship from the Gabelli Center, as well as the Boyar Value Group, Project Punch Card was able to include women and minority students in a truly uncommon gathering of speakers that received rave reviews from speakers and attendees alike.