2020 Event Agenda

Day 1 | Tuesday, February 11, 2020

*Note: Timing of sessions is preliminary and subject to change

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM 1.0 | Opening Remarks

AmeriCatalyst CEO and event curator Toni Moss opens with candid commentary about the event narrative, ENTROPY, and how it directly relates to all sessions in this year’s program. She will also discuss the three most important issues impacting the housing market today that must be addressed, yet no one is talking about.


9:00 AM - 10:15 AM 1.1 | SHOCK AND AWE: The World in 2020

HOSTED BY
  • Sean Dobson, Chief Executive Officer | Chairman, Amherst Holdings LLC

The program begins with a “big picture” perspective addressing the questions: what is happening in the world today; what’s coming next; what can we anticipate in the future and what do they mean for the U.S. housing market? 


10:30 AM - 11:45 AM 1.2 | THE AVENGERS: The Undeniable Facts About the Housing Market and What They Mean for the Future of Housing

HOSTED BY
  • Toni Moss, Founder and CEO, AmeriCatalyst, LLC
  • Rick Sharga, President and CEO, CJ PATRICK COMPANY
FEATURING
  • Doug Duncan, SVP & Chief Economist, Fannie Mae
  • Lynn Fisher, Senior Economic Advisor - Office of the Director, FHFA | Federal Housing Finance Agency
  • Laurie Goodman, Co-Director, Housing Finance Policy Center, The Urban Institute
  • Sam Khater, Vice President and Chief Economist, Economic and Housing Research, Freddie Mac
  • Dowell Myers, Professor of Urban Planning and Demography, The University of Southern California

Some events are lucky to have one or two of the speakers on this panel, we’re fortunate to have them all. This session features a powerhouse of the industry’s best analysts, economists and demographers to provide a comprehensive baseline of the most important facts, data and trends inside of and impacting the housing industry. We’ll begin with a robust, Sharpie-free analysis of the conflicting and disconcerting signs and data on the economy, and housing market implications of the “missing middle” in labor markets and worker obsolescence. What does it mean for housing affordability?  We then move to the unprecedented change in demographics - the primary driver of the economy - and how the changes in population, productivity and prosperity impact the prospects for and needs of the renters and homeowners of the future. Plot spoiler: we’re not ready for that future because we continue to rely on a system of generational waterfalls that has long since broken. In identifying the new population, we then discuss supply, demand, and how the industry must adapt its mentality and products to serve them. We also discuss the segments of the current population that are increasingly marginalized and underserved. What is interesting about this group is not just the fresh data and insights that they will be presenting, but the discussion among them about what all of it means for the industry moving forward. 


1:00 PM - 2:15 PM 1.3 | ENTROPY: Who Are the Winners and Losers in the New Housing Order

HOSTED BY
  • Toni Moss, Founder and CEO, AmeriCatalyst, LLC
  • David Stevens, Former President & CEO, MBA | Mortgage Bankers Association
FEATURING
  • Ed DeMarco, President, Housing Policy Council
  • Ted Tozer, Former President, GNMA | Ginnie Mae
  • Christopher Whalen, Chairman, Whalen Global Advisors
  • OTHER SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED, *

One of the primary functions of government support to increase homeownership in almost all countries around the world has had nothing to do with macroeconomic stimulus: Governments promote homeownership to reduce crime and incentives for civil unrest. Keep in mind that today’s U.S. government-subsidized housing and mortgage market infrastructure is based on policies stemming from the Great Depression, the post-World War II demographic shift and housing boom that helped create and maintain a solid middle class and of late, the economic implosion of 2007/2008, which wiped out almost $8 trillion in household stock market wealth and $6 trillion in home values. Since the 1930’s, the government has intervened in housing policy when the economy has undergone significant changes in demographic structure, income distribution and the progressivity of taxable income, using the mechanisms of tax treatment and benefits, regulation of and participation in the financial system, and direct subsidies to housing producers and consumers. Today, we are undergoing dramatic changes in U.S. demographic structure; no one can deny the crisis of income distribution and inequality, and Trump’s tax cuts have had a massive impact on the progressivity of taxable income. Given the historical precedents triggered by these same criteria, what happens now? The U.S. Department of Treasury recently released its plan to reform the U.S. housing finance system. The ambitious Plan includes almost 50 recommended legislative and administrative reforms that define a limited government role for the housing finance system of the future. For those who advocate shrinking the government footprint in the market, the Plan is widely heralded. One of the more interesting plans includes opening Federal Bank depositorship to nonbanks, which would essentially level the playing field among lenders. On the other hand, the plan constrains credit availability which, in turn, could potentially eliminate the “dream of homeownership” for aspiring minority homebuyers, debt-laden Millennials, residents of less lucrative geographic regions, and any other financially challenged or low-income Americans. Is this the last gasp of the middle class? While we will likely end with more questions than we address, this crucial session looks at who are the winners and losers in the New Housing Order.


2:15 PM - 3:30 PM 1.4 | LAST MAN STANDING: Surviving the Mortgage Market Fallout

HOSTED BY
  • David Stevens, Former President & CEO, MBA | Mortgage Bankers Association
  • Christopher Whalen, Chairman, Whalen Global Advisors

In the first sixteen years of this event, our underlying narrative has shown how the forces of globalization are fundamentally altering the housing ecosystem. In 2017, we began to shift the narrative to something new: We call it “The Technium”, which is the convergence of technology, culture and economics. At the core of every significant change in our lives is some kind of new technology, which is now the accelerant of humanity. The problem is, those unstoppable forces continue to evolve in a way that is so fast and strong that our ability to invent new things outpaces the rate at which they can be “civilized”. We now live in a constant beta society. So, what does this have to do with mortgage origination and servicing? Everything. Technology has emancipated consumers, who now have almost unlimited options to transact with whomever they want. The key word is transact. No longer relationship-oriented, mortgage lending and servicing are now entirely transactional, with no loyalty from either side of the transaction. Despite the billions of dollars being invested in digital mortgages, lenders and servicers continue to be constrained by underlying, legacy technology platforms that restrict real innovation, the ability to foster strong consumer relationships and the ability to react and adapt to rapid consumer changes. It renders much of the housing finance industry vulnerable to disintermediation, and requires disaggregation and specialization to survive. At the same time, the mortgage business is entirely leveraged, cyclical and completely dependent on interest rates and macroeconomic trends. This cyclical nature incentivizes short-term thinking and punishes long-term planning. The boom/bust dynamics inherent in today’s mortgage business have changed the psyche of market players on all sides of the entire secondary market transaction process as well, from originators who ignore the consequences of servicer takeouts to the bipolar shifts of greed and fear among investors. Smaller and mid-market lenders face serious liquidity constraints without access to capital markets and the pullback by large banks, and some of the more senseless regulation stifles creative solutions to benefit consumers has led to increased costs with no capability to recover the cost from revenues. It seems that everyone is out of alignment: Wall Street is out of alignment with the originators, the biggest originators are massive refi shops, which is in turn, out of alignment with what bondholders want. Meanwhile, those with MSR portfolios are currently getting their teeth kicked in. And finally, nonbank mortgage companies remain vulnerable to liquidity pressures in both origination and servicing activities, which hearkens back to the same issues that unfolded in 2007/2008. Given all of the above, it’s no wonder that since that time, the mortgage industry has experienced ten years with no growth. Even with mortgages 10% larger on average than a decade ago, the market is currently $11 trillion and likely should be around $15 trillion. Why isn’t the market growing? We predict that consolidation activities and company failures are on trajectory to shrink the lending market to around 10 to 12 lenders and servicers over the next seven years. This session features top lenders and servicers with no shortage of issues to talk about. Foremost, how can the market grow in the future; what strategies will it take to survive and thrive in that future, and who will be the last ones standing?


3:45 PM - 5:00 PM 1.5 | FREUDIAN SLIPS: Investor Perceptions in Balancing Risk in the New Abnormal

HOSTED BY
  • Sean Dobson, Chief Executive Officer | Chairman, Amherst Holdings LLC
  • Michael Drayne, Senior Vice President, Office of Issuer and Portfolio Management, GNMA | Ginnie Mae
FEATURING
  • Anup Agarwal, Head of Structured Products, WAMCO | Western Asset Management Co
  • SPEAKER TO BE ANNOUNCED, CPPIB | CANADIAN PENSION PLAN INVESTMENT BOARD
  • SPEAKER TO BE ANNOUNCED, SAFE INVESTMENT COMPANY
  • OTHER SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED

Having heard from regulators and originators, this session features four major investors in various sectors including those buying MSRs; Ginnie Mae; agency securities and those providing equity capital. The question addressed is, “in a hyper-competitive and volatile market, what is a sensible and balanced approach to risk vs reward?  We will also discuss the extent to which originators and servicers have transferred risk to institutional investors, and the inherent problems of transactional investments and short-term thinking.


5:00 PM - 6:15 PM 1.6 | WHO ATE MY CHEESE? The New Market Disruptors in the Housing Ecosystem

HOSTED BY
  • Amy Brandt, President and Chief Operating Officer, Docutech
  • Francis Lobo, Executive Vice President, Chief Business & Product Officer and President, Cooper Labs

This year, our “Champagne Debate” features five companies that are disrupting various elements of the housing ecosystem in an overall discussion about what problems they’re trying to solve and why their model is the most valuable solution. The firms we’ve selected have disrupted the housing transaction process; the way that properties are financed; how we build homes and even how we live in them. At the end of the session, the audience will vote on the model that they believe creates the most value for their customers. Our session title pays homage to the “timeless business classic” (and worst book title we’ve ever heard) ‘Who Moved My Cheese’, a motivational tome on how to deal with change. Here’s some sound management advice: if you’ve lost your cheese, chances are someone else has eaten it. In other words, if you don’t have a strategy, you’re definitely part of someone else’s.


Day 2 | Wednesday, February 12, 2020

*Note: Timing of sessions is preliminary and subject to change

8:30 AM - 8:50 AM 2.0 | OPENING REMARKS

SPEAKER TO BE ANNOUNCED


8:50 AM - 10:20 AM 2.1 | CREATIVE DESTRUCTION, AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND THE FUTURE OF CITIES

HOSTED BY
  • Rayman Mathoda, CEO, Xome Holdings
  • Toni Moss, Founder and CEO, AmeriCatalyst, LLC
FEATURING
  • Carol Galante, I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy and the Faculty Director of THE TERNER CENTER FOR HOUSING INNOVATION, The University of California at Berkeley
  • OTHER SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED, *

One of the greatest opportunities in the housing industry today is the wave of urbanization and development of smart cities. However, as we’ve seen from rocks flying at the Google Bus, one of the greatest problems that cities face is the lack of affordable housing, which has now reached crisis proportions. This session features a discussion between mayors, city planners and homebuilders on current impediments to construction recovery, and what city planners and mayors are doing to overcome obstacles to increase affordable housing options and availability. We also look to the future design of cities and how housing will inevitably change as power moves from the federal to the local level.


10:40 AM - 11:45 AM 2.2 | FATAL ABSTRACTION: The Inevitable Impact of Climate Change on House Prices and Real Estate Values

HOSTED BY
  • Toni Moss, Founder and CEO, AmeriCatalyst, LLC
FEATURING
  • Katharine Hayhoe, Atmospheric Scientist, Associate Professor of Political Science, Co-Director of the Climate Science Center, Texas Tech University
  • OTHER SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED, *

Have you heard the joke about the risk manager who jumps off of a 20-story building and as he passes each floor he says with relief,  “So far, so good!”? Whether you prefer to call it “climate change” or refer to “extreme weather events”, no one can ignore the seemingly apocalyptic environmental events happening today. As we write this introduction, Alaska and the Amazon are on fire and two cracks on the Antarctic Brunt Ice Shelf are about to cause an iceberg twice the size of New York City to slide into the ocean. But so far, so good.

This session picks up from where we left off at AMERICATALYST 2017 on the impact of climate change on house prices and real estate values. In May of 2019, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine LaGarde named climate change as “the greatest existential challenge of our times”. In the World Economic Forum’s annual “Global Risks Landscape 2019”, in terms of likelihood, climate-related risks were the top three in terms of likelihood, and after weapons of mass destruction, climate-related risks were numbers two and three in terms of impact. 

We begin with a presentation by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. As an atmospheric scientist who studies climate change, Katharine’s focus is on why it matters here and now. She has been named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People and Fortune’s 50 World’s Greatest Leaders. She is also the host of the PBS digital series “Global Weirding”. She has also served as lead author on the Second, Third, and Fourth National Climate Assessments. The 1,500 page report is the most authoritative on climate issues. 

Katharine’s presentation is followed by a panel of reinsurance actuaries, investors and data providers who are at the forefront of calculating the impact of the reality of a warming planet. Our focus is on which cities are the most vulnerable to climate change in what period of time, and which cities will benefit from climate change migration.


1:00 PM - 2:15 PM 2.3 | IVY ZELMAN

HOSTED BY
  • Laurie Hawkes, Principal, Hawkes Insites
FEATURING
  • Ivy Zelman, Principal/Chief Executive Officer, Zelman & Associates

Information is not illumination. Rather than simply provide information about housing market sectors, Ivy Zelman has that unique ability to synthesize and illuminate interactions among and between the entire housing ecosystem. Static research is the norm these days. Zelman’s research is dynamic, predictive, actionable - and bold. Over the years, Ivy has made some of the best investment calls in the market. Words matter, and Ivy's words move stock prices and markets. Ivy will be discussing the internal and external factors impacting the housing ecosystem and inherent opportunities within it.


2:15 PM - 3:00 PM 2.4 | RENTING, THE FUTURE: THE NEXT STAGE OF SINGLE-FAMILY RENTAL

HOSTED BY
  • Gary Beasley, Co-Founder | CEO, ROOFSTOCK
  • Laurie Hawkes, Principal, Hawkes Insites
FEATURING
  • SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED, *

When we began coverage of the newly developed Single-Family Rental sector at this event in 2010, we called the initial sessions “Renting the Future”. By 2012, we added an editorial comma to what became a full day of sessions, “Renting, the Future”. With homeownership increasingly out of reach for so many Americans, out of necessity or choice, the new American dream appears to no longer be to own a single-family home, but to rent one. Comprising 25 million households and a market valuation size of between $4.2 and $4.6 trillion, Single-Family Rental is the fastest growing and most rapidly evolving sector of the housing market.  This session looks at the latest trends and iterations of single-family rental housing including the strides of institutional SFR; new (and unconventional) incumbents entering the sector; and the new strategies and business models for financing, acquiring, developing, renovating, leasing and operating single family rentals.


3:20 PM - 4:30 PM 2.5 | CHECKMATE: THE FUTURE OF REAL ESTATE

HOSTED BY
  • Rick Sharga, President and CEO, CJ PATRICK COMPANY
FEATURING
  • SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED, *

For the first time in history, the real estate transaction process will be driven by the consumer, and not the real estate professional. The entire process is being redesigned around the needs of the consumer, which changes everything. What are the implications of a consumer-driven industry? This session discusses the new iBuyer models; home trade-ins; e-title; co-investors; transaction liquidity and alternative funding models; the technology enabling the consumer shift and Amazon’s entry into the real estate market, among other hot topics.