Friday, June 16, 2006

Montreal vs. Boston: Which market outlook dinner is better?

I attended my first market outlook dinner in Montreal on June 8, sponsored by the Montreal CFA Society. As I shmoozed before the meal, another Bostonian said "I've heard that Montreal's market outlook blows Boston's out of the water." Technically speaking, Montreal has an "annual forecast" dinner, while Boston has a "market outlook" dinner.

Here are my thoughts on that topic:

Montreal beats Boston on glitz and laughs
A robust sound system blared recorded music. My favorite musical moment came when bagpipes announced the arrival of Moderator Martin Barnes, Managing Editor of The Bank Credit Analyst.

Four oversized video screens shot pictures of the podium to the back of the room, which was packed with more than 600 attendees. The Society used the video screens to display video highlights from the previous year's dinner. Naturally, they highlighted the 2005 predictions farthest off the mark. It appeared that nobody foresaw the robust upward moves in Canadian stocks or gold.

Of course, it's easy to take potshots at one-year predictions. Dear readers, have any of you been consistently right in your predictions? Don't you have at least one year-old prediction that folks could laugh at?

Between the video highlights and Barnes' sense of humor -- which Bostonians didn't experience fully when he spoke at our Market Outlook dinner -- Montreal beats Boston on laughs as well as glitz.

Do I understand the reasoning behind the speaker(s)' predictions?
Boston wins on this score. Why? Because each speaker gets a good chunk of time to describe his or her market outlook and the reasoning that underpins it.

Montreal's market outlook is conducted as a question & answer session. The same question is directed to each speaker in rapid succession. I had to pull together their rationales on my own. In addition to moderator Martin Barnes, there were four speakers representing different geographic regions.

Good food
Sorry, Montreal.

My very subjective judgement is that Boston's Ritz-Carlton beats the Queen Elizabeth on market outlook dinner food. My beef at the Ritz was cooked to perfection, whereas it was overdone at the Queen E.

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