Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Three Conferences in Two Months

For some reason, winter seems to be conference season. I attended three industry conferences during the last two months, and each provided excellent content, which will have a direct and positive impact on how we accomplish our mission on behalf of clients.

The first event was the Inside ETFs Conference in Boca Raton, Florida, which provided an in-depth focus on the specific investment topic of Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). The second was the TD Ameritrade Institutional National Conference in Orlando (which I attended with two of my partners, Rhett Giddings and Cooper Flack). Here we explored a variety of subjects in the areas of investing, economics, business management and national and world affairs.

The third and final leg of this mini-odyssey was last Sunday through Wednesday at the FPA (Financial Planning Association) Business Solutions Conference in Dallas. Here the emphasis was squarely on the practical challenges of running a financial planning business in a way that serves clients more effectively and efficiently. Juliet attended with me, and our specific goal was to gain insight and guidance into our ongoing project of replacing and upgrading our aging computers and some software programs. (You may be aware that we have recently accomplished one portion of this project with the implementation of AssetBook as our portfolio management system.)

Technology may not be the locomotive that powers a financial planning practice, but it could be called the tracks on which the locomotive runs. For people in our business, the technology puzzle consists of several parts that must work together in order for us to do our job well. The challenge of selecting the pieces and making them work together are many, varied, and intricate. I won’t go into the details of what we learned, but I will tell you that we came away with a concrete plan of action that we believe will result in another step forward for our clients.

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