8th Annual Investment Symposium

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House – Dallas, TX


Many thanks to our remarkable past speakers for their time, insights and support. Our 2013 speakers are listed below.


Chuck Akre

Managing Member, CEO and CIO, Akre Capital Management, LLC

Chuck has been in the securities business since 1968. He is primarily responsible for Akre Capital Management's (ACM) investment process and investment selection. Prior to managing the Akre Focus Fund, Mr. Akre was the sole portfolio manager of the FBR Focus Fund from its inception in December 1996 through August 2009. He previously held positions as shareholder and Director at Johnston, Lemon & Co. (a NYSE member firm) as well as CEO of its Asset Management Division and Director of Research. Chuck established ACM in 1989 and established its current location in Middleburg, Virginia in early 2002.  Chuck holds a BA in English Literature from the American University.


Caroline A. Cooley

Partner and CIO, Crestline Investors, Inc.

Ms. Cooley is the chief investment officer of Crestline's diversified funds. Ms. Cooley's responsibilities include leading the portfolio management team and managing fund of funds portfolios for Crestline. Ms. Cooley has over 28 years of experience in the investment industry, focusing almost exclusively in the absolute return area. Prior to joining Crestline in 1998, she was a trader and risk manager with Taylor & Company, an investment firm associated with the Bass Family of Fort Worth, TX. She was responsible for risk management of the various absolute return strategies employed by Taylor & Company, including monitoring and hedging equity, currency and interest rate exposure. Her experience includes trading equity derivatives and fixed income arbitrage securities in the U.S. and international markets.

Ms. Cooley began her career in the investment industry at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company in New York and Chicago after receiving her B.A. in Economics from The College of William and Mary in 1983.

Crestline Investors, Inc. is an alternative asset management firm based in Fort Worth with affiliate offices in New York and Toronto. The company, founded in 1997, manages $6.7 billion in assets in absolute return hedge fund of funds, opportunistic investment strategies, and hedging and beta overlay strategies.


Karen Finerman

CEO, Metropolitan Capital Advisors

After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from the Wharton School, Karen Finerman began her career as a trader at First City Capital, a risk arbitrage fund. She later joined Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette where she became Lead Research Analyst for the Risk Arbitrage department. 

In 1992, she co-founded Metropolitan Capital Advisors, a New York based hedge fund. She was recently named one of the 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds by The Hedge Fund Journal, the 25 Most Powerful women in finance by US Banker and Trader Monthly's "Wonder Women."  Ms. Finerman is a permanent member of the CNBC show Fast Money, one of the most watched business programs in America. The CNBC platform also enables Ms. Finerman to inspire women to succeed in the world of finance. Her first book, Finerman's Rules: Secrets I'd Only Tell My Daughters About Business and Life, published by Hachette, came out this June.

Ms. Finerman serves on the Board of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and is a Trustee of Montefiore Medical Center, where she sits on their investment committee. She lives in New York City with her husband Lawrence Golub, and their two sets of twins (Lucy, Jack, William and Kate).


Mario J. Gabelli

Chairman & CEO, Gabelli Funds

Mr. Gabelli is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gabelli Funds. A 1965 summa cum laude graduate of Fordham University's College of Business Administration, he also holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business, and honorary doctorates from Fordham University and Roger Williams University. Mr. Gabelli serves on the Boards of Boston College, Roger Williams University, Columbia University Graduate School of Business, the American-Italian Cancer Foundation, the Foundation for Italian Art & Culture, and is a Trustee of the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States and of the E.L. Wiengand Foundation. He was Morningstar’s Portfolio Manager of the Year in 1997 and was named Money Manager of the Year by Institutional Investor for 2011 and is a member of  Barron's All Star Century Team.


Tom Gayner

President and CIO, Markel Corporation

Mr. Gayner, age 51, is President and Chief Investment Officer of Markel Corporation, a publicly traded financial holding company headquartered in Glen Allen, Virginia. Since 1990, he has served as President of Markel Gayner Asset Management; he served as a Director of Markel Corporation from 1998 to 2003. Previously, he had been a certified public accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and a Vice President of Davenport & Company of Virginia. Mr. Gayner serves on the Board of Directors of The Washington Post Company, Colfax Corporation, and The Davis Funds where he serves as Chairman, as well as at the Community Foundation of Richmond. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the Lawrenceville School.


Van R. Hoisington

President and CIO, Hoisington Management

Van Hoisington is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Hoisington Investment Management Company, a firm with nearly $6 billion in fixed income assets under management for insurance companies, endowments, pension plans, and charitable organizations. The firm also manages the Wasatch-Hoisington U.S. Treasury Fund. Van started Hoisington Investment Management Company in 1980 after serving as Executive Vice President at Texas Commerce Bancshares in Houston. Previously, he was an economist with the United California Bank in Los Angeles. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas in 1962 and his master's degree in business from Fort Hays Kansas University in 1970.

Van has been a guest speaker at the CFA Institute’s Annual and Fixed Income Conferences and is published in the CFA Institute Conference Proceedings Quarterly. He was featured in the August 7, 2010 edition of the Wall Street Journal, where it was noted that the firm had out performed the bond and stock market indices for the past twenty years. He was also highlighted in the December 2011, July 2005 and April 2000 issues of Barron’s as an outstanding bond and mutual fund manager, and recognized in the July 2007 and September 2004 issues of Forbes. He has been recognized in various other publications including Institutional Investor, Smart Money, the New York Post, Pensions & Investments, and Fortune magazine, as well as the online publications CNNMoney.com and Forbes.com. He appeared as a special guest on Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street Week, and is a frequent speaker at Grant’s Interest Rate Observer conferences.


T. Boone Pickens

Founder and Chairman, BP Capital Management

A legendary oil and gas entrepreneur who has become the nation’s most effective energy expert, T. Boone Pickens is on a mission to enhance U.S. energy policies to lessen the nation’s dependence on OPEC oil — a reliance that he views as the greatest threat to America’s national security and economic well-being. Cited by President Barack Obama for his leadership in developing The Pickens Plan for America’s energy future, the entrepreneur and visionary has long been an advocate for harnessing domestic alternatives and developing even greater new technologies. He has not been shy in predicting oil and gas prices, and has been uncannily accurate. As a result, he is a frequent guest on some of the nation’s most-watched business programs (CNBC coined him the “Oracle of Oil”).

Truly an American success story, he grew from humble beginnings in Depression-era Holdenville, Oklahoma, to be one of the nation’s most successful businessmen, gracing the cover of Time, Fortune and virtually every other major business publication in America. A folk hero in global business for his tenacity in the rough-and-tumble world of mergers and acquisitions, his career has staggering breadth. He first built and led one of the largest independent natural gas and oil companies. Then, at a time in his life when many of his peers retired to the golf course, he reinvented himself by establishing one of the nation’s most successful energy-oriented investment funds.

The much-honored Pickens chronicles the lessons he learned during the journey in his best-selling 2008 autobiography The First Billion Is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America’s Energy Future. Ranked by Forbes as one of the world’s richest people, Pickens also is an innovative, committed philanthropist who has donated nearly $1 billion to charity. His impact on American culture reflects his many interests and passions, including an unyielding belief in the entrepreneurial spirit, leadership in corporate fitness, the need for alternative fuel development, and prudent stewardship of American lands.


Michael F. Price

President of The Price Family Foundation, Inc.; Managing Member of MFP Investors LLC

Michael F. Price earned his bachelor’s degree in 1973 from the University of Oklahoma. In 1999 the University of Oklahoma honored him with a Doctor of Humane Letters.

Michael F. Price was Chairman of the Board of Franklin Mutual Advisers and Franklin Mutual Series Fund. He had been associated with both entities and their predecessor organizations since 1975. At that time the adviser was known as Heine Securities Corp. and the fund was Mutual Shares Fund. Michael was Vice President of the fund from 1975 until 1986. From 1986 until November 1, 1998 he was CEO, President and Chairman of the Board of the adviser and the fund, which came to be known as Mutual Series Fund.

Presently, Michael is the President of The Price Family Foundation, Inc.; Managing Member of MFP Investors LLC; and Managing Partner of MFP Partners, L.P. He also serves as a Director of Liquidnet Holdings and Nexsan Technologies, an Investment Advisory Council Member to the Florida State Board of Administration and on Boards for The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.


Thomas A. Russo

Partner, Gardner Russo & Gardner

Thomas A. Russo joined Gardner Russo & Gardner as a partner in 1989. Mr. Russo manages individual separate accounts and serves as General Partner to Semper Vic partnerships, overseeing more than $7 billion.

Mr. Russo looks for companies with strong cash-flow characteristics, where large amounts of “free” cash flow are generated. Portfolio companies tend to have strong balance sheets and a history of producing high rates of return on their assets. The challenge comes in finding these obviously desirable situations at reasonable or bargain prices. 

Mr. Russo’s investment approach is focused on a small number of industries in which companies have historically proven to be able to generate sustainable amounts of net free cash flow. These industries typically have included food, beverage, tobacco, and financial services. This fairly narrow approach reflects his training and discipline at the Sequoia Fund in New York, where he worked from 1984 to 1988. Mr. Russo tries to limit risk by not paying too large a multiple of a company's net free cash flow in light of prevailing interest rates.  

Thomas A. Russo is a graduate of Dartmouth College (B.A., 1977) and Stanford Business and Law Schools (JD/MBA, 1984). Memberships include California Bar Association and Dean’s Advisory Council for Stanford Law School. Mr. Russo is a charter member of the Advisory Board for the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing at Columbia Business School. He is a member of Dartmouth College’s President’s Leadership Council. He serves on the boards of the Winston Churchill Foundation of the U.S. and Facing History and Ourselves.


Gretchen Morgenson (Moderator)

Assistant Business and Financial Editor, The New York Times

Ms. Morgenson has been Assistant Business and Financial Editor and a Columnist at The New York Times since 1998. She covers the world financial markets and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her “trenchant and incisive” coverage of Wall Street. In 2009, Ms. Morgenson won a Gerald Loeb Award in the “Beat Writing” category in her coverage of Wall Street. This followed her Gerald Loeb Award for excellence in financial commentary in 2002 and the American University School of Communication’s Annual Journalism Award for excellence in personal finance reporting in 2000.

Ms. Morgenson began her career at Vogue magazine as an Assistant Editor in 1976. By the time she left the magazine in 1981, she was a writer and financial columnist. She has filled the roles of Assistant Managing Editor and Investigative Business Writer and Editor at Forbes magazine, Press Secretary for the Forbes for President Campaign, Executive Editor for Worth magazine, Staff Writer at Money magazine, and Stockbroker for Dean Witter Reynolds in New York from 1981 to 1984. Ms. Morgenson received a B.A. degree in English and History from Saint Olaf College. She is co-author of The New York Times bestseller Reckless Endangerment, published by Times Books in May 2011.


John Train (Special Guest)

Author of The Money Masters

John Train is chairman of Montrose Private Clients and Montrose Accounting Company, of New York. He has written 25 books, including Money Masters of Our Time and The Craft of Investing. Also about five hundred columns for The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The New York Times, Harvard Magazine, The Financial Times, and other publications. He has received appointments from three presidents, and has been a director of several large emerging market mutual funds. He lives in New York, spends summers in Maine, and travels extensively.