Top Tier: Ricky Sandler, new panel format lead 9th Annual Investment Conference, a substantial financial literacy fundraiser

A new format, intriguing stock picks and a keynote by “one of the best investment minds in our country” made Thursday’s 9th Annual Investment Conference a top-tier event.

Generosity and sponsorships that dedicated more than $337,000 toward teen financial empowerment took it even further.

Ricky Sandler, CEO, CIO and Founder of New York City-based Eminence Capital, led an afternoon of “emerging” and “opportunistic” investment ideas at the event, held before more than 550 attendees on April 27 in downtown Milwaukee.

Active as a money manager since graduating from University of Wisconsin in his mid-20s, Ricky Sandler gave the audience an earnest and edgy assessment of “living and dying by performance, every day.” Ricky divulged investing philosophy in a 40-minute Q&A with Joe Schlidt, conference co-chair and Make A Difference – Wisconsin board director, as well as strengths Sandler saw in the current market landscape. (Sandler and Schlidt, from left to right, are pictured at left.)

“We as investors and analysts love to value business, love to understand what’s happening, then we operate in the larger marketplace, which can humble you,” Sandler said. “Emotion and dispassion are really critical when markets can be as extreme as they’ve been over the last eight years.”

Earlier in the day, two panels explored exclusive investment ideas in a new format for the conference. A trio of Midwestern investors – David Durrant (UBS), Craig Albert (Sheffield Asset Management) and Colin McWey (Heartland Advisors) – explored opportunities they saw in commodities, retail and foreign markets. The first panel featured Adam Peck (Riverwater Partners) and Andrew Robbins (Piney Point Capital) with a duo of emerging investment possibilities. (Peck and Robbins are pictured at right, respetively, with moderator Elmer Moore.)

The event serves as the primary fundraiser for Make A Difference – Wisconsin, a financial education and mentoring nonprofit based in Milwaukee. Through the net revenue of this Investment Conference, more than 6,000 teens in Wisconsin and Chicago will gain life-changing financial fundamentals. During the event, Curt Culver, MGIC Investment Corporation Chairman, and a long-time supporter of Make A Difference, led a special challenge to attendees to rally support around scholarships in the Money Coach program. Culver also took a moment encourage Money Coach teens: “keep dreaming those dreams.”

Planning is already underway for next year’s 10th anniversary of the Investment Conference, which promises to be the most ambitious yet. Stay tuned to the Investment Conference website for updates. To lock in 2018 sponsorship, contact Brenda Campbell, President and CEO, Make A Difference – Wisconsin at

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