FPA Annual Conference Blog

  • Your Conference: In Photos


    Find your face in the crowd or relive the FPA Annual Conference 2015 memorable moments!

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  • 2015 FPA Annual Conference Recap


    The FPA Annual Conference is the largest global gathering of CFP® professionals. This year’s event took place September 26-28 in Boston and provided 2,000+ attendees from 19 countries with the latest information, trends and predictions on prominent industry topics.

    Six general sessions and 62 breakout sessions allowed attendees to dive deep into topics and issues – both positive and negative – impacting the financial planning industry. New Roundtable and FPA Exchange sessions were introduced to give attendees the ability to network and interact with thought leaders like never before.

    The FPA Annual Conference kicked off with four preconference sessions from the Association of African American Financial Advisors (AAAA or Quad-A), the Foundation for Financial Planning, PridePlanners™, and Sudden Money Institute. In addition, this year’s Financial Planning Challenge featured eight school finalists that competed in oral case study presentations and the “How Do You Know” Challenge. Kansas State University won first place overall and individual phase winners include: Phase 1 – University of Akron, Phase 2 – Kansas State University and Phase 3 – University of Akron.

    Robo-advisers – a Topic on Most CFP® Minds
    Multiple conference sessions addressed Robo-advisers in the market place. Futurist and keynote speaker, Dr. Michio Kaku, went as far as to predict that “robo-advisers will not eliminate financial planners” saying “while software can give rough projections of financial markets, they can never know the wants and needs of clients. Humans provide the intellectual capital, experience, imagination, innovation, etc. that robots can’t provide.” CBS News Analyst, Jill Schlesinger®, was welcomed back as keynote host to interview Kaku onstage to tie his presentation back to the profession.

    The Importance of Social Media in Marketing Practices
    Attendees also learned the how to leverage social media from author and keynote presenter, David Meerman Scott.  Scott provided an onstage real-time example of how attendees can engage with new and potential clients in an “always-on” world.  And, social media expert, Brittney Castro, CFP®, CRPC®, AAMS® discussed leveraging social media platforms to gain, nurture and convert leads into paying clients.

    Another Hot Topic – Fiduciary Responsibility
    Keynote speaker, Marcia Wagner, J.D., discussed the Department of Labor’s proposed ERISA modifications – indicating “changes are coming fast and they’ll be huge” and predicts the eventual success of “Buffett Rule,” mandating a minimum tax rate for individuals in the highest tax rate.

    More on Education Sessions and Conference Recordings
    Additional educational sessions provided exceptional learning opportunities on a variety of topics at the FPA Annual Conference.  Thirty-nine sessions were recorded and will be available in four weeks to access.  Conference attendees will receive the recordings for FREE.  Pricing for non-attendees will be available shortly.

    Notable Roundtable Discussions
    FPA Roundtable discussions were introduced to this year’s conference.  One of the more notable discussions featured Robert Powell, Harry Margolis, Robert Mauterstock Jr., CFP®, CLU, ChFC and Dianne Savastano whom provided seven steps for attendees to follow to protect their clients, practices and themselves when representing clients with diminished cognitive abilities.  A shocking prediction disclosed from the Alzheimer’s Association states “46 percent of people who live over the age of 85 will have some sort of dementia. “

    Business Coaches Provide One-on-One Advice
    Attendees were able to book appointments with eight noted business experts to receive advice to improve practice management strategies. Business coaches in Marketing, Human Resources, Social Media and Websites, Tools and Technology, Running an Efficient Practice, Growth Strategies, Succession Planning and Going Independent were on hand in the Business Consulting Lounge to offer their professional guidance to attendees.

    Conference Closing
    The joint AARP/FPA Social Security Study results were released the final day of the conference detailing consumers’ significant Social Security knowledge gaps and how financial planners play a part in closing the gaps.  Several top-tier media outlets were onsite to cover the study findings and a press conference was held at the FPA booth to discuss the significance of the study. The conference concluded with a panel discussion on the subject with representatives from AARP, Social Security Administration. The discussion was moderated by CNBC’s Sharon Epperson.  Learn more about the study and media coverage of the conference.

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  • Conference Recordings Are Now Accessible Online!


    Over 35 sessions were recorded at this year’s FPA Annual Conference – BE Boston 2015. The sessions represent some of the more popular sessions including tips to using social media to grow your practice, the SEC’s Cyber Security Initiative, what you need to know about robo-advisers, how women invest differently than men and more!

    Attendees have access to recorded sessions at no additional charge, and non-attendees can purchase sessions for as low as $28.99 for members and $58.99 for nonmembers.

    Click here for the full list of sessions recorded onsite.

    To access conference recordings, please follow the instructions below:

    • Visit the Professional Development Center and login on the upper right hand corner using FPA credentials (unless already logged into MyFPA).
    • Select the session you’re interested in learning more about by clicking on the title.  Add to cart if you’d like to download the recorded session and continue adding additional titles in the same manner.
    • When finished shopping, click the Checkout button on the lower right.
    • Enter in the coupon code (if applicable) and click Apply.
    • When finished, click Complete Purchase. A receipt will be sent via email.

    We hope you enjoy the content and encourage to register for next year’s conference in Baltimore September 14-16.

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  • Financial Planning Challenge

    IMG_3301-webSince March, and on top of their regular day-to-day responsibilities and full course loads, the 24 students competing in the 2015 Financial Planning Challenge have worked hard to prepare and write a comprehensive financial plan for two hypothetical clients, present their plan to a panel of judges, as well as compete in a game-show style financial planning knowledge contest. This distinctive competition engages students in a holistic financial planning learning experience and expand awareness of the professional community and organizations that support the profession. Find out more about the Financial Planning Challenge and next year’s competition information at www.OneFPA.org/FPC.

    Congratulations to the 2015 Financial Planning Challenge Winners:
    1st Place: Kansas State University
    Hannah Rice, Cole Foster, Mariah Bausch

    2nd Place: University of Akron
    Cinara Foor, James Dawson, Aaron Gates

    3rd Place: Utah Valley University
    Lauren Loucks, Kevin Michels , Mark Whitaker

    Learn more about the 2015 Financial Planning Challenge eligibility, the competing teams and judges.

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  • If the CIA Can Tweet, So Can You: 5 Marketing Lessons from David Meerman Scott

    When David Meerman Scott turned 50, he was bigger, he said.

    He proved this by showing a roomful of people at the second general session at the FPA Annual Conference a picture of big 50-year-old him, and new fit 54-year-old him.

    He changed his mindset, he said. That’s exactly what you have to do with marketing in real time utilizing social media.

    1) Provide Great Content. Generate helpful blog posts and Tweet links. You may be concerned about regulations, but Meerman Scott gave the example of the CIA tweeting, so you shouldn’t have any excuse not to, too.

    “Yes you have regulations, yes you have to be ethical, but that doesn’t mean you can’t communicate,” Meerman Scott said. One of the methods to communicate is something Meerman Scott calls “newsjacking,” which is the art of injecting your ideas into breaking news.

    2) Connect With Your Markets Via Social Media. Align the way you sell with the way people buy. A good example of this is Donald Trump. Meerman Scott emphasized he wasn’t endorsing Trump politically, but said the man is “crushing it” in terms of social media connection.

    For example, when Trump’s phone number was published by Gawker, instead of changing his number Trump changed his voicemail message to be a campaign tool, driving callers to his Twitter page and his campaign website.

    Trump is leading in the polls, and it’s probably no coincidence that Trump has Tweeted 27,000 times.

    Meerman Scott also emphasized following the “Sharing More than Selling Rule,” which is 85 percent of your activity on social media should be sharing and connecting, 10 percent should be original content and 5 percent or less should be promotional stuff.

    3) Real Time Is Key. You should be operating in real time. Planners know about real time when it comes to markets and the news, but when it comes to marketing, they tend to look to past information to make plans for the future.

    “If you’re spending all of your time in the past and the future, you’re not spending any time in right now,” Meerman Scott said. And that’s a problem because potential clients are looking for right now.

    He used the CIA as an example here, too. The agency answers questions and interacts with its followers in real time, often making comical statements like, “No, we don’t know where Tupac is,” referring to the famous 90s rapper whose death involves numerous conspiracy theories that he is alive and well.

    “If the CIA can do it, what’s you’re excuse,” for not doing it, Meerman Scott posed.

    4) Bring Humanity to the Organization.  Don’t ask your potential clients to first fill out a form before you give them access to your content. Make your content free and encourage followers to share it. Take a lesson from the Grateful Dead, who shared their music for free and were tremendously successful.

    Also, don’t describe your firm in technical, hard-to-digest terms. Eliminate stock photos and hire a real photographer to take pictures of you and your firm.

    5) Manage Your Fear. The best way to manage your fear is to change your mindset. Think of it in terms of fitness, Meerman Scott said, and be diligent and consistent.

    “If you want to get fit and run around a stage like I do,” Meerman Scott said. “You can’t dabble, you have to truly become fit.” Same thing with marketing and sales, he said.

    For more on Meerman Scott, check out this recent Journal of Financial Planningarticle.


    HeadshotAna Trujillo
    Associate Editor
    Journal of Financial Planning
    Denver, Colo.

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  • Quantum Physics Predicts Planning Is Here to Stay

    You might ask yourself, “What has quantum physics done for me lately?”

    To that question, Dr. Michio Kaku, physicist, futurist and Henry Semat Chair of theoretical physics at City University of New York, would answer the laser, the transistor, the space program, the internet, GPS satellite, and basically every other thing that makes our lives livable and easy.

    “We love to make predictions,” Kaku told the crowd at a general session at the FPA Annual Conference—BE Boston 2015. And generally those predictions are spot on. The next thing they’re predicting: digitization.

    What does this have to do with financial planning, he posed to the crowd. Mostly, he said, quantum physics is saying that the financial planning profession isn’t going anywhere. Despite future inventions such as toilets that detect minuscule cancer cells in our pee, people are still the key ingredient in roles like doctors, lawyers and financial planners.

    The author of books like The Future of the Mind, Physics of the Impossible and Physics of the Impossible said that the future holds some pretty cool things for us. For instance, “smart wallpaper” is a living, breathing thing in some labs in this country and scientists are fine tuning it for consumer use in the future.

    People will be able to simply watch a movie, consult an online doctor, lawyer, etc., at the command of their voice. They can ask for simple planning advice but nothing will ever replace financial planners themselves, Kaku assured.

    But know that you have to adapt with the times, he noted. Don’t be like the music industry that nearly self-destructed with its arrogance. People, that industry said, will always buy music the old-fashioned way. We all know that isn’t the case.

    “You are free to ignore everything I’ve been telling you today,” Kaku told the room. “You are also free to go bankrupt because if you don’t digitize, your computer will digitize.”

    Also, don’t ignore innovative technology. Embrace it and make it work for your business. Robo-advisers, for instance, are a tool not a threat.

    “You will use this because you will ride the wave,” Kaku said. “Use it as a means of advising customers because the bottom line is these machines are adding machines—they cannot think, they cannot weigh plusses and minuses, they don’t understand the needs of the client.

    So while your clients may have contact lenses that incorporate night vision and digitized money, they’ll always need you.

    “Experience, know-how, savvy and analysis—that’s the currency of the future,” Kaku said. “There are software programs you will use in your work as an aide, but they will not replace thinking, analysis and know-how.”

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