FPA Annual Conference Blog

  • 2016 FPA Annual Conference Takeaways and Recap

    Keynote Session Highlights
    Opening keynote speaker, Cal Ripken Jr. and keynote host CNBC’s Sharon Epperson officially opened the FPA Annual Conference – BE Baltimore 2016. Ripken told the audience he learned the importance of money management early in his career. Ripken also understood the need to keep working on your craft even when you’re not performing well. He explained baseball players spend thousands of hours preparing for a game and sometimes have to force themselves to play especially when they’re in a slump.  “In business,” Ripken says, “you have to do the same.”  In his business dealings, Ripken has learned he needs to be a quick learner and have quality people around him. And as it relates to financial planning, Ripken says “you want to have the right people at the table with you when you have a problem to address with clients.” Learn more about Ripken’s drive for perseverance from the following articles:


    The day’s second keynote speaker, Eliza De Pardo, of FA Insight provided lessons for growth to firm owners who struggle with growth including how to achieve, manage and sustain it.  Her tips explored how growing by “design” produces sustainable growth that minimizes stress on the firm’s infrastructure.  The full study can be found on the FA Insight website.



    Keynote speaker Brian Rogers and Sharon Epperson

    If you’re worried about the presidential election so is keynote speaker Brian Rogers, CFA, CIC Chairman of T. Rowe Price Group Inc. Rogers explains investors become “risk adverse” when facing uncertain events like the election and the terrorist attacks. But, the main fundamentals still apply to these situations in supporting clients – diversify, simplify investment strategies, perform due diligence, be self-educated, stay on top of current events and keep an eye on long-term goals. He also thinks the Federal Reserve should raise interest rates now regardless of the outcome of the election. Read more about Rogers’ presentation:


    maddox-recap“The very best financial planners are great listeners… stop and listen to your clients’ needs,” explains Eric Maddox, the mastermind behind Saddam Hussein’s capture and closing keynote speaker . “If your clients are not being transparent, there’s a lack of trust and empathy,” Maddox warned attendees. He advised attendees to clear their mind and really listen to the clients wants, needs and goals instead of having a canned presentation down. “If you listen, your client will tell you their needs and you won’t need to prepare for anything because you’ll learn what’s important to them and how they want to invest. : Read more about how Maddox’s interrogation tactics can be applied to financial planning from the 10 Question Interview with Eric Maddox from the Journal of Financial Planning.



    DOL chief of operations Tim Hauser and Western Kentucky University professor Ron Rhoades

    Industry Trends Deep Dive 
    Good news for advisers struggling with the DOL final rule, Tim Hauser, DOL Chief Operating Officer of DOL Employee Benefits Security administration says “our main goal in the near-term is to help people get compliant.” Hauser recommends to research what other advisers are charging and make sure you’re in line with it.  “If you’re candid with the client about what you’re getting paid and [your compensation] is in line with the market you’ll be in good shape.” And, if firms are trying in good faith to be compliant, the department will assist them in the effort. Additional guidance and FAQs will be released this fall.  Read more about the presentation from the following media articles:




    D. Crystal Alford-Cooper, CFP®, CRC®, CDFA™ press conference on the exhibit floor

    The latest FPA Research and Practice Institute™ (RPI) study sponsored by TD Ameritrade Institutional was released during an onsite press conference on cyber threats.  The report shows 81% of advisers know of the risk, but lack understanding how to mitigate them. A panel discussion dedicated to cybersecurity assessment indicated the first step is to become aware of your data and do a risk assessment. If there’s a breach, it’s your responsibility to notify clients and ensure your team is aware of what to do in the event a breach occurs. And vet your vendors, ensure your third-party technology partners are safe, visit their office to ensure they’re doing what they need to do to be safe. Additional white papers will be released by the FPA RPI on cybersecurity later this year. Learn more about cybersecurity coverage at:


    Sessions of Interest
    Noteworthy sessions revolved around helping clients through difficult life stages. John Scroggin, J.D., LL.M., AEP®, suggested advisers alert clients to the ramifications of remarriage. Clients should understand the practical, legal and tax implications of the remarriage and should consider declaring who gets personal belongings of the deceased parent. On the flip side, other sessions covered how planners need to think beyond ”what to do with client’s money” when a client is going through a divorce to help the client divvy up money and consider long-term goals. And Montgomery-Warschauer Award winners Martin Seay, Ph.D. CFP®, and Sarah Asebedo, Ph.D., CFP® presented how positive psychology can improve clients’ quality of life through the sense of well-being and the financial planning process.



    Tom Potts, Elissa Buie, CFP®, Drew Cook, CFP® and Jon P. Yankee, CFP®

    Evergreen topics took on a new twist as well.  A roundtable discussion that focused on retirement realities explained how longevity, low interest rates and medical advances are making retirement planning more difficult when clients are living to be 100 years old. And we learned 20% of advisers will be exiting the industry in the next five years, but only 2/3 of firms have succession plans. “Having a success plan will ensure your clients are cared for and is a way to increase the future value of your practice,” states Mark Tibergien, Pershing CEO. We learned that celebrities make estate planning mistakes just like some of our clients. Michael Kitces, MSFS, MTAX, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, RHU, REBC, CASL provided insight into why “going digital” will help your business grow.  Technology is a tool to integrate into your practice, and in a data-driven world embracing technology will be essential in the next ten years. Stacy Tisdale, Senior Editor of Black Enterprise, stated African Americans’ wealth population is rapidly growing and advisers need to help dispel their money beliefs.


    Financial Planning Challenge Winners Announced
    Additionally, FPA, Ameriprise Financial and CFP Board hosted the 2016 Financial Planning Challenge.  This year’s winners are:



    William Paterson University

    1st Place Overall ($10,000 scholarship for their school, 1 hour career coaching from Caleb Brown and full scholarship to the FPA Residency Program)
    William Paterson University
    Matthew Callander, Stephanie Spies, Eric Vartanian
    Tao Guo, Ph.D., Academic Advisor

    2nd Place Overall ($5,000 scholarship for their school)
    University of Akron
    Adrianna Demjanjuk, Joseph Johnson, Benjamin Schwarz
    Suzanne Gradisher, JD, MBA, MTax, Academic Advisor

    3rd Place Overall ($5,000 scholarship for their school)
    Kansas State University
    Lindsay Adams, Nolan Keim, Stephen Phillips
    Ann Coulson, Ph.D., CFP®, Academic Advisor



    Ed Gjertsen II,CFP® presenting Ray Fererra, CFP® 2016 P. Kemp Fain Award

    FPA Awards Recognize Outstanding Achievement in Financial Planning
    The 2016 P. Kemp Fain, Jr. Award is bestowed upon an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the financial planning profession in the areas of service to society, academia, government and professional activities and upholds the FPA core values of competence, integrity, relationships and stewardship. The winner this year’s award is Ray Ferrara, CFP®. The 2016 Heart of Financial Planning Award recognizes professionals, financial planning firms and organizations that engage in extraordinary work, contributing and giving back to the planning community and public through financial planning.  This year’s honorees are John Crosby, CFP®, ChFC®, CLTC, CRPC®; James Peniston; and Richard Salmen, CFP®, CFA, EA. The Diversity Scholarship is awarded to financial services students and professionals who demonstrate and act upon an intense desire to promote diversity in the financial planning profession.  This year’s recipients are Yi Liu, MS; Diane Manuel, Ph.D®, CFP®; and Lauryn Williams, MBA.



    FPA Annual Conference - BE Nashville 2017 October 2-4

    Don’t Miss Out Next Year!
    The 2016 FPA Annual Conference was a great success! If you attended this year, you know the invaluable takeaways you gained from the conference on the latest industry trends while earning CE. You networked with peers and onsite business coaches to gain professional advice to help your practice increase efficiencies. If you didn’t attend, we hope you’ve had a brief glimpse at what you’re missing and join us next year in Nashville, October 2-4, 2017 at the Nashville Convention Center!

    To help entice you to register now, we’re offering a special discount to register for only $699 using promo code BEW@BE17. Register online now to take advantage of this special offer. Register Now!


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  • 2016 FPA Annual Conference Photos

    breakouts15-114Find your face in the crowd to relive your favorite moments from the 2016 FPA Annual Conference! Click on the segments below to view different conference activities.  And, if you didn’t attend this year’s event - see what you missed!

    General Session Photos

    Breakout Session Photos

    Business Consulting Lounge Photos

    Financial Planning Challenge Photos

    Expo Hall Photos

    FPA Tech Deck Photos

    NexGen Photos

    Miscellaneous Photos

    Closing Party Photos

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  • 3 Lessons in Listening


    Former Army interrogator, Eric Maddox, talks the value of listening at FPA BE 2016.

    Eric Maddox had never done an interrogation in his life when he was called upon to go to Iraq and interrogate the world’s most wanted terrorists.

    Maddox, who gave a keynote presentation at FPA’s annual conference, FPA BE 2016, was a Chinese Mandarin linguist stationed in Los Angeles, Calif., when he got orders that he was to be part of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which was tasked with tracking down, capturing and killing every person on the most wanted “deck of cards.”

    But his having been a paratrooper who was also an Army Ranger and trained interrogator gave him all the skills necessary for this important mission.

    But as it turns out, the one skill he ended up finding the most useful—the one skill that led him to help find and capture Saddam Hussein—wasn’t something the Army trained him to do.

    That one skill was listening. And Maddox said that is what helped him gain the trust of the prisoners he interrogated who eventually led him to Saddam Hussein. That skill is also the one that some financial planners lack, he said.

    “It’s probably the biggest failure that I’ve noticed of financial planners—they’re not listening to the needs of their clients,” Maddox said.

    Though the Army’s interrogation techniques included breaking prisoner’s spirits and not giving them anything in return for information, Maddox found that just listening to them with empathy and giving them hope that they might get out of there got him more information and

    Financial planners would do well to practice empathetic listening—especially the younger planners, Maddox said.

    “Financial planners are well-informed and great talkers—but the very best are great listeners,” Maddox told a crowd full of financial planners. The great planners, he said “stop and listen to their clients’ needs The younger financial planners, they don’t listen.”

    Maddox gives the following advice to gaining your clients’ trust through empathetic listening:

    1.) Have true empathy. You have to put yourself in your clients’ shoes. Devote your time and attention fully to them. Put the phone down, clear your mind and listen to what they are saying.

    2.) Be transparent and gain their trust. If clients don’t feel you are being transparent, they’re not going to trust you. And if they don’t trust you, they’re not going to confide in you. For example, when something goes wrong, the market takes a dip, then be straightforward with your clients and honest about what is happening. They’ll trust and respect you more.

    3.) Find out exactly what their needs are and address them. If you have true empathy, you can better understand your clients most pressing needs and address those first.

    For more information on how to apply Maddox’s techniques in your practice, see this Journal of Financial Planning 10 Questions interview.

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  • Planning of the Future

    Today, your relationships with clients are quite different than they will be in 2025.

    In that time, technology will help planners be more efficient with their time, will help you plan more proactively and eliminate time-wasting in-person meetings.

    It’s already starting to happen, Michael Kitces, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, told a roomful of people at FPA’s annual conference, BE 2016, last week.

    kitcestwitter2_“Producing financial plans will be gone 10 years from now,” Kitces explained to the captivated audience. He noted that even over the past 10 years, financial documents have changed. There has been a move to have instantaneous access to investment account statements and there will soon be a move to do that with the entire financial plan.

    In the future, “You want to know how your plan is doing, you log on and see instantaneously where you stand,” Kitces said.

    You will stop producing financial updates because software will do that for you. You will stop engaging in reactive planning because the software will tell you immediately when a client is starting to get off track so you can stop them from doing detrimental things sooner. Software will give clients incentives to make good choices by recognizing when they make good choices.

    And this is going to change how you engage with clients. Some of the dynamics that will shift in the future include:

    1.) Communication will shift. Kitces said we see it already. Years ago, planners used to have to get pre-approval from compliance to send a simple email, nowadays it’s different and it’s going to continue to evolve until communication is more frequent and in shorter bursts.

    This means cutting out those time-consuming in-person meetings and replacing them with shorter, video chats.

    “This builds trust with clients,” Kitces said.

    Any confusion that phone meetings create, for example not knowing if your client is reading the same page of the plan as you are, will be eliminated with video meetings as you will be able to show them, on their screen, the exact page you are on.

    “If they can watch Netflix and Skype with their grandchildren, they can do video meetings,” Kitces said.

    2.) Technology will make geographic dividing lines irrelevant. Technology will even make it possible for planners with a unique niche to serve clients all over the country whom they perhaps haven’t even met yet. Kitces gave the example of a planner who focuses on doctors selling their practices and his client who have never met and live across the country from one another.

    3.) Software tools may go where the client goes. Say you have a meeting scheduled with your client and you map out the plan for their targeted retirement age of 62. Then they get to the meeting and ask, “What if I retire at 64 instead?”

    That means you’ll have to go back to your office, re-run all the numbers, print up new documents, schedule another meeting with them or attempt to explain things over the phone. But with new software, you can run those numbers instantaneously with a few clicks and show the client in real time whether their proposed options are feasible.

    “With traditional methods, you can’t jump between scenarios like that,” Kitces said.

    He noted that the technology company, Advicent’s acquisition of the interactive software Figlo, is a start to giving clients this type of interactive experience with their financial plan.

    “Software needs to move to where the client is,” Kitces said.

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  • Cybersecurity Report Shows There’s Work to Be Done

    A day duntitled-7014oesn’t go by when there’s not some attempt to hack personal information, Bryan Baas, the managing director of risk oversight and control for TD Ameritrade Institutional said at press conference at FPA BE 2016.

    Baas was speaking on the results of the “Is Your Data Safe? The 2016 Financial Adviser Cybersecurity Assessment” study conducted by the FPA Research and Practice Institute™ and sponsored by TD Ameritrade Institutional.

    Advisers are well aware of the issue and 81 percent of those surveyed say it is a high priority for them. But despite this, less than half of the advisers surveyed don’t understand the risks and how to mitigate them.

    “Cybersecurity is with us every, single day,” Dan Skiles, president of Shareholders Service Group and a member of the FPA Board of Directors said. “It is something advisers need to worry about today, tomorrow, 10 years from now.”

    The report found that there are several areas where advisers can improve in terms of establishing and implementing documented policies and procedures.

    When it came to governance and risk assessment, 57 percent of the 1,015 survey participants had documented policies and procedures in place; 59 percent had them in place for access rights and prevention; 58 percent had them for data loss prevention; 51 percent had them for vendor management; and 43 percent had them for incident response.

    Simply becoming aware that there is work to be done is an important first step.

    untitled-7037What Can Planners Do Now
    It doesn’t have to be so complicated, said Brian Edelman, CEO of Financial Computer Services, Inc., during a panel on cybersecurity. Some things you can do now include:

    Become aware. Become aware of what components you need to be looking at. Take an inventory of your data and do some risk assessment, which is similar to what you do with your clients.

    Know that if there is a breach, you are responsible for notification. It’s embarrassing and distracting to have to tell all your clients there has been a breach, but the rule is clear that you must be the one to notify the clients.

    If you have plans in place, practice them once. Ensure that your team is aware of what to do in each type of event that could possibly occur.

    Give your clients tips to stay safe. Oftentimes, a breach that happens to you happens because one of your clients was hacked. So give them tips to employ tools like dual-factor authentication on their Gmail accounts.

    Vet your vendors. You’re trusting these third-party technology companies with your information, so ensure that they are safe themselves. Visit their offices and see how they work and ensure they’re doing all they need to do to keep you safe.

    These things might be a pain, but they’re necessary steps to ensure yours and your clients safety.

    “What is an inconvenience to you is most likely a roadblock to the bad guy,” Baas said.

    Three upcoming whitepapers will be released by The FPA Research and Practice Institute™ and TD Ameritrade Institutional that will give advisers information on the following topics: how advisers are communicating with clients regarding cybersecurity; how advisers are training their teams on issues related to cybersecurity; and what tools and technology (and its associated costs) advisers are using to protect their business.

    For the full study, visit www.onefpa.org/Cybersecurity.

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  • 3 LinkedIn Tips to Implement Today


    “We Google plumbers; of course we Google financial advisers.” – Laura Virili

    “What’s your story?” has become the new value proposition, according to marketing expert Laura Virili. “Even with all of our devices, we are still humans, and we still connect through stories,” she told the planners in attendance at the FPA Annual Conference—BE Baltimore. “You need to tell your story online, offline, and you need have your story down!”

    But first, you need to find more people to tell your story to. Virili is a strong believer in the power of LinkedIn, and she shared a wealth of tips and strategies for using LinkedIn to expand your reach and fill your pipeline.

    If you’re wondering who on LinkedIn you should be connecting with, Virili offers these suggestions: clients, prospects, alumni, friends and family, centers of influence, community leaders, professional acquaintances, former colleagues, and the next generation.

    For how to best connect, here are just some of the tips Virili shared (for dozens of online resources, visit her at lauravirili.com/resources.htm).

    Make It Personal

    Personalize your LinkedIn invitation to connect request. You have 300 characters in that request to differentiate yourself. Sign the request with your name and phone number; don’t make people work to reach you.

    Say Thanks

    Send a thank you message for accepting your LinkedIn invite. That message will plant the seed to get you in front of that person, because as Virili said, “You want to use the internet to get off the internet” and build that in-person relationship.

    Update Your Profile

    Google gives preferential treatment to LinkedIn, so make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, because it will be one of the first results that surfaces when someone Googles you. Some other profile tips are:

    • Spend money on a great profile picture, and keep the headshot casual, because social media is casual.
    • Put your certifications with your name; they help identify you.
    • If you’re not a writer, hire one to help you tell your story in the 2,000-character summary section; it’s well worth the investment!

    Bonus: Virili’s Daily Best Practice

    Every day, go into “my network” on your LinkedIn profile and click on “connections.” This will bring up three things that are happening in your network, they’re social triggers you should respond to: birthdays, work anniversaries, and new jobs (new jobs are potential money in motion.) Take a few minutes to send personalized messages offering congratulations or best wishes.

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