The Sohn Investment Conference is set to mark its 20th anniversary this year. Founded by family and friends of Wall Street trader Ira Sohn, who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 29, the Sohn Conference Foundation has raised more than $50 million for pediatric cancer research to date. This year, the Conference will take place on Monday, May 4 in New York City’s Lincoln Center, and will feature hedge fund heavyweights including David Tepper, Bill Ackman, David Einhorn, and Leon Cooperman, as well as luminaries such as Magnus Carlsen, Jay Walker, and Ian Bremmer. If you’re heading to the Conference, make the most of your time with these three tips:
1. The Scoop on the Hottest Investment Opportunities
In 2014, the Sohn Investment Conference gave five scrappy managers with smaller hedge funds the opportunity to share their fresh perspectives on the market. And boy were they fresh. The lineup of up-and-coming fund managers, known as Next Wave Sohn, went five for five with their market predictions, helping conference attendees significantly grow their portfolios. Leading the group of multi-digit returns was Will Snellings, founder of Marianas Fund, who pitched JetBlue (JBLU) , a stock that returned 151% over the past year. Nitin Saigal of Kora Management gave attendees the chance for a high double-digit return with his pick of Bharti Infratel, which has grown 88% over the last year. And finally Jason Karp, of Tourbillon Capital Partners, pitched Ctrip.com International Ltd. (CTRP) as a strategy to capitalize on Chinese tourism, a pick that has returned 34% over the last year.
Unlike those newcomers, the Conference’s headline presenters have given disappointing predictions in recent years. The Wall Street Journal calculated that their 2013 investment picks went on to underperform the overall stock market by 19%. In 2014, their predictions were more of a mixed bag. While the plunge in oil prices was correctly predicted by Zachary Schreiber of PointState Capital (who ended up making $1 billion on that call), famed hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman pitched Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have fallen 33% and 36%, respectively over the last year.
If you’re lucky enough to be one of the 1,000 people with a seat at Next Wave Sohn, don’t miss your chance to act on world-class investment ideas before regular investors even get to hear them. Last year, Next Wave stock picks often rose immediately after being pitched, so position yourself to be able to act quickly and take full advantage of what you hear at the Conference.
|Equities.com's Ari Zoldan with Evan Sohn, Co-Founder of the Sohn Conference Foundation|
2. Networking Opportunities
Beyond what you’ll hear and learn at Sohn 2015, don’t forget about the opportunity to see and meet elite hedge fund magnates including David Tepper, Barry Rosenstein, Larry Robbins, and Bill Ackman. With double-digit billion dollar funds under their management, those Wall Street gurus know what it takes to build world-class investment portfolios.
After a long day at the Conference, when 5:30 P.M. rolls around, you may want to leave Lincoln Center and head back to your hotel room or to your home and simply decompress. But that would be a mistake. The best networking opportunities will come at the 5:45 P.M. cocktail reception and the post-conference dinner and drinks at nearby bars. The Mandarin Oriental Lobby Lounge and Per Se are good bets for letting loose and expanding your network, but save the business talk for your Wednesday morning followup note.
3. The Opportunity to Pitch the Next Big Thing
If you think you know about the next big thing in finance or you want to grow your media contacts, the Sohn 2015 Investment Conference is your chance to do so. Journalists from all the major financial news organizations such as Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and MarketWatch will be there, and so will Sohn Media Partners AIMA, Capital Forum, Equities.com, Hedge Fund Alert, Insider Monkey, and Market Folly. If you don’t think everyone is looking for new ideas, think again. This year, the Sohn Conference Foundation launched its Investment Ideas Contest in partnership with Bloomberg. While the call for entries has already closed, keep an eye out for your own opportunity to pitch at this year’s Conference.
****Ari Zoldan is on assignment at the Sohn 2015 Investment Conference in New York. Alex Hantman contributed to this article.
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