Each year, financial advisors can attend a multitude of industry conferences.
The education component, the content and the engagement with fellow advisors make these events invaluable.
There are many industry events to choose from – custodian-sponsored events, association-specific events, and those events provided by your vendor or technology partners.
Here are some of the industry events I’m looking forward to this year:
- 13th – 16th: Technology Tools for Today (T3) in Tampa, Florida – founded by advisor tech consulting pioneers Joel Bruckenstein and Dave Drucker and is now widely viewed as the “go-to” event for advisor technology. The conference started more than ten years ago and is the largest event focused solely and directly on “FinTech for Financial Advisors.
- 15th – 17th: Barron’s Advisor Independent Summit in Dallas, Texas – a gathering of self-made leaders who have earned a distinct place within the financial services industry. Offered by Barron’s Advisor since 2009, this curated experience has become the premier annual event for ranked independent advisors, with content designed to highlight the best practices and specific needs of independent advisors.
- 1st – 3rd: Tiburon CEO Summits in Boston, Massachusetts – provides one of the only true forums where a select cross-industry group of senior executives from across traditional industry silos gathers to discuss a broad swath of issues regarding the future of wealth and investment management businesses.
- 3rd – 5th: Jolt in Las Vegas, Nevada – a financial advisor marketing conference that brings together the brightest marketing minds from inside and outside the financial industry with one goal – to help financial advisors fuel growth through better marketing outcomes.
- 21st – 24th: WealthStack in Hollywood, Florida – a community of leading advisors, broker-dealers and asset owners who have successfully leveraged tech to optimize their operations, provide a higher quality client experience and ultimately grow their firm to share their stories and insight on how you can do the same.
- 30th – 31st: FPA NorCal in San Francisco, California - this premier Conference has a national reputation for providing knowledgeable speakers and excellent networking opportunities for the more than 600 financial professionals who attend each year. FPA NorCal Conference is planned by financial advisors and sponsored by the East Bay, Northern California, San Francisco and Silicon Valley FPA Chapters.
- 31st – June 2nd: TradePMR’s Synergy23 in Tampa, Florida – TradePMR's annual SYNERGY conference unites growing RIAs from around the country to network, learn, and converse about topics impacting firms, including practice management, compliance, M&A, and technology.
- 6th – 8th: Pershing Insite in Orlando, Florida – you can expect a first look at the newest digital products and services, immersive learning experiences with industry innovators and networking opportunities with the top advisors and influencers in the business.
- 10th – 13th: Future Proof in Huntington Beach, California – billed it as the world’s wealth management festival. Join thousands of financial advisors, institutional allocators, asset managers, technology providers, and more on a four-day experience like none other.
- 12th – 14th: Carson Excell in Nashville, Tennessee – a blend of sessions about how to scale an advisory firm, along with a lot of content on marketing and growth strategies to get to that next level and inspirationally-oriented keynote sessions to fire up attendees to go home and try it all out.
- 19th – 21st: XYPN Live in Atlanta, Georgia – a venue for fee-for-service advisors to learn from the successes, failures, and struggles that come with independence. This event is filled wall-to-wall with experts, advisors, and attendees to support an advisor's journey at every stage.
- 27th – 29th: FPA Conference in Phoenix, Arizona – one of the largest financial planning conferences, this gathering attracts CFP professionals and financial planning thought leaders from across the globe. The overarching goal for this conference is built around sharing practical strategies, tactics and knowledge designed to help attendees take immediate action.
- 24th – 26th: Schwab IMPACT in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – attended by over 5,000 advisors, asset managers and technology executives. Whether it’s expert-led sessions or conversations with fellow advisors or solution providers, the design of IMPACT is to inform and inspire.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Integrated Partner's Chief Content Officer, Matt Ackermann, to chat about what he would like to see from industry events this year. Click on the video below to hear the conversation.
SULEMAN DIN: Hi, everybody. This is Suleman Din, AdvisorEngine, Advisor Intelligence Lead and Editor of Action! Magazine. I hope you guys have been enjoying our content. We've had a great year and we're looking to create more incredible content for you here in 2023. I'm joined today with Action! Leaders Group member extraordinaire and content veteran Matt Ackerman from Integrated Partners. Thank you for joining me today, Matt. I hope you're doing well.
MATT ACKERMANN: I'm doing great. Suleman, thank you so much for making some time to chat today.
DIN: No, it's awesome. Matt, I want to talk to you a little bit about conferences that are upcoming this year. We started getting back into conferences last year after that big COVID hiatus that we all kind of put ourselves into. And for me, what was interesting was the innovation that we're beginning to see at conferences themselves, FutureProof namely being one of them, which took the traditional conference model and moved into a new environment, gave people different experiences, new topics, and new speakers that we haven't seen at a traditional wealth management conferences. I'm interested in hearing from you, as we go to these events: What are the things that you're looking for? What's stood out?
ACKERMANN: It's a great question. I think in terms of this industry, it became almost like this, you know, rinse, lather, repeat, when it came to events, right? People were doing the same thing over and over again. They're getting sponsors, so they continue to do it. The truth is that FutureProof set a new bar for what was expected at conferences. People expect more than just, you know, rubber chicken and a couple of speakers on the stage that were bought and paid for. People want something that sets them up for success long term. That can be great networking, it can be great content, but across the board, it has to be a great experience that's very memorable. And ultimately, at the end of the day, we say advisors want to walk away with one thing when they go to a conference. And that's one great idea that they can implement right away. And if you get that, then that was well worth your time and money to go there. The audience is happy, the sponsors are happy, and everyone's happy. So you have to deliver something unique and different. If the entire pandemic taught us anything, it's that people are more than ever going on their computers in a Zoom format. So you have to deliver something above and beyond that; if you want them to spend money and to show up in San Diego or Las Vegas or Denver, Colorado, you’ve got to really deliver the goods.
DIN: I think the challenge for all companies now as we sort of enter the new phase of communication, it's like, how do I create sort of a system of communication that's not only producing compelling content but hits that rationale of, 'What's different? Why should I go to your conference as opposed to another conference? Why should we read your content versus someone else's content that they could get elsewhere?' That's something we really try to do here at Action! You know, give some people something different, something that they can read and say, “Okay, this goes beyond what I can see elsewhere and there's something I can take away.” I feel like with conferences, FutureProof being a prime example, but a couple of other events that I have attended, where they really tried to change the dialogue or offer you a new experience. I think interactivity is something that really can help people feel better engaged in a conference, right, like not just sitting around at a table, but here, get me out of that space. Give me a yoga class. Give me a surfing class. Give me something that I can kind of build a relationship with somebody that goes outside of the normal networking that you would do at a conference. You and I attended the recent MarketCounsel conference, and we got a bunch of great interviews there – but, you know, something that stood out to me at MarketCounsel was that the realness of some of those conversations that we had amongst the panelists and those attending. For some folks, it felt a little too real, they were kind of overwhelmed by the sharing that was happening there. But, authenticity in what's being discussed, I think, helps you get beyond like being a passive listener, a passive participant, into someone who's actually engaged.
ACKERMANN: You're absolutely right. We use the word "DICE" a lot. You have to be DICE – different, interesting, compelling and exciting – you have to be engaging. You have to do things that someone else hasn't done before. Before even Future Proof, one conference I loved last year was the Jolt conference that Snappy Kraken held. I thought they did a fantastic job of their formatting, where what they did is a big idea – then they have breakout sessions to kind of dig deeper, even deeper one-on-one conversations so that you can get a lot out of it really actionable content. Actionable is a good word, especially when I'm talking to someone from Action! here, but that's really what it's all about is how can I be actionable and take action with these great pieces. Also, diversification of voice is a very important thing. I think some of the work Sonya Dreizler is doing with Choir has been commendable. And I think as we begin to hear different people speaking, nobody wants to go to three conferences where the same guy delivers the same speech three times. So it's all about elevating different voices out there so that we keep hearing and listening to different people give us different actionable pieces of content.
DIN: Yeah, absolutely. What Sonya is doing there with Choir, I think it's just it's truly commendable and it's setting people up to think about how to do events differently, and the recognition that people can get as well. I attended ThinkAdvisor's recent Luminaries Awards and it’s remarkable how there were so many people there who are being awarded at that event – that you don't really see at a wealth management conference. That adds a new level of thought and perspective and understanding about the industry that's really needed. I think another thing I really liked seeing both at Future Proof, MarketCounsel and a couple of the other events as well is more participation from people who are not veterans but right in that beginning phase where they're, you know, they've started a business and they're looking for that mentor, or at least that relevant experience to help them grow, or they're not even there. They're there during that training and learning phase of their career, their interns really getting their first exposure. I think we need to see more of that at conferences, especially when a lot of people admit the demographics of this industry are really changing and we'll see some major industry impacts as a result of that.
ACKERMANN: So, along with all this being said, what's on your Horizon? What are some events that had you excited as we embark on 2023?
DIN: Well, definitely, I think that some of the tech-related conferences – WealthStack, Future Proof, T3, all these conferences – I'm interested in hearing what they have to say about some of the new exciting, innovative developments that we're seeing that are happening in the industry. Having an immediate discussion now about how they will impact wealth management at large. In the past when robo-advice came into the market, it was a very long curve in terms of the actual discussion about, this is going to impact my profession. It was a very, very slow discussion around that. Even when social media came in here, they was a very slow approach to how do we adopt this, whereas you know, now what we're seeing with AI and ChatGPT, people are immediately talking about ramifications for the industry. You know, how do you use it? How do you counter it? Is this a threat? Is this an additive? And if you take a look at social media, you'll see that this topic is lighting up discussions across people and firms. So I'm really interested in hearing, from these conferences how the industry will be a little more fleet-footed and a little more reactive, to what seems to be an accelerating pace of development and technologies.
ACKERMANN: I couldn't agree more, my friend, and I think we're going to see some really great innovations. I always remind people when they get worried about AI or ChatGPT or any of these innovations, one thing that still can't be faked is this – some good video that puts your face out there is always going to be something that distinguishes you from the crowd.
DIN: Yeah, I mean, they just need to make like us like Aldous Huxley's smell vision or, or you know, touchy-feely vision, so you can pinch the person and know, this person is real. It's not an AI-generated image for Running Man or something like that.
ACKERMANN: AI is not generating this image. My friend, this is 100% real, 100% real.
DIN: Exactly. Again, I want to remind everybody who’s watching these videos, Matt and I are at these conferences, we're creating videos, they are available on Action! If you have a chance, go to the Action! Magazine website. We're collecting these videos there and they feature lots of folks that you probably have seen in the industry or want to hear from. Every one of these videos here, they're short, but they provide you with takeaways that you can use or think about in your practice today, so I highly encourage you to check out those videos on the Action magazine website.
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