The Sohn Investment Conference usually brings together a diverse mix of fund managers, economists and the occasional celebrity. This year is no different -- two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning of the New York Giants will be speaking. However, on the more investment-related front, attendees can look forward to getting advice from several speakers.
In light of the wacky market behavior at the start of the year, Sohn attendees will gain some insight into their behavior from Dan Ariely, behavioral economist and professor at Duke University. Ariely is also the author of the New York Times bestseller, "Predictably Irrational," a book that, as the title suggests, explains how human behavior may be irrational, but it is also predictable. Ariely has also been working with Google to develop a calendar tool called "Goals," which finds time in overscheduled lives for enriching activities such as exercise or reading.
"It's a tool to help us against ourselves, and all the short-term things we agree to do in our calendar," Ariely said in interview with The New York Times. "Empty time where you think you'll do something loses precedence to things on the calendar that are concrete and specific."
Ariely's interest in technology could pair well with the presentation by Social Capital's Chamath Palihapitiya. Palihapitiya was an early Facebook employee who in 2011 founded Social Capital, a technology-focused venture capital fund. Among the Palo Alto fund's diverse holdings are SurveyMonkey, messaging app Slack and cloud-based software company Box (BOX).
For perspective in the event-driven space, attendees can look forward to the presentation by VR Capital Group's Richard Deitz. VR Capital is an alternative asset manager focusing on distressed securities with an emphasis in emerging markets. The fund has offices in London, New York, Moscow and Dubai and maintains "a presence" in Buenos Aires, according the fund's website. The Argentine presence is of particular interest as Deitz penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in July 2014 in which he urged Argentina's then president, Cristina Kirchner, to tone down her combative rhetoric and reach a settlement agreement with Argentina's bondholders.
Adam Fisher of Commonwealth Opportunity Capital can also be counted on to bring an international perspective to the conference. The fund focuses on global macro events and gained prominence in 2010 when it was subject of a Barron's profile piece that highlighted Fisher's then-bearish views on Europe.
Finally, PointState Capital's Zachary Schreiber may give an update on his views on the energy sector as he famously announced his short outlook on crude oil at Sohn's May 2014 conference. The dramatic fall in oil came soon thereafter. Schreiber could, of course, present something entirely different. The 13F portion of PointState's portfolio is spread through a mix of industries, with Alphabet (GOOG), Cheniere Energy (LNG) and Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) among some of the fund's largest positions at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015.
The Sohn Investment Conference, which will be held in New York on May 4, brings together some of the top minds in the financial world for a day of sharing investment ideas. It is held in honor of Ira Sohn, a Wall Street professional who lost his battle with cancer when he was 29. Proceeds from the New York conference, as well as other conferences the Sohn Conference Foundation holds, are dedicated to the treatment and cure of pediatric cancer and other childhood diseases. The foundation has so far raised more than $65 million.