FPA Annual Conference 2015 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.

Lessons Learned from Keynote Speaker Jim Craig
The opening general session began with the presentation of our colors by the Massachusetts Army National Guard, escorted by “The Revolution” from the 215th Army Band and welcome from Ed Gjertsen III, CFP®, 2015 FPA President, and John McAvoy, CFP®, AIF®, 2015 FPA Annual Conference Task Force Chair. 1980 US Men’s Hockey Team Gold Medalist, Jim Craig then took stage and recognized how financial planners help clients maintain their legacies and attain their dreams. He recommended attendees listen, learn and understand what their clients’ dreams are and make sure they are capable of helping them fulfill them. He recommended to recognize when good isn’t good enough because clients will find a financial planner who does and to “organize work around clients’ dreams.”

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.