One Denver advisory association looks to the other for hires but the two organizations profess peace

March 26, 2010 — 5:53 AM UTC by Brooke Southall

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The Investment Management Consultants Association hired another Financial Planning Association executive this week, in yet another signal that IMCA, traditionally an organization for wirehouse brokers, intends to expand further into the independent advisory community.

Denver, Colo.-based IMCA hired Ian MacKenzie as its new deputy executive director of operations, it’s third recent hire from the FPA. IMCA, which is aggressively seeking ways to grow, is also broadening its conference strategy to include advisors.

Still, the FPA does not see IMCA’s moves as a threat to its turf, according to its spokeswoman, Lynn Brackpool.

“It’s sort of like our overlap with NAPFA,” she says. “We’re the broadest part of the umbrella and these groups are focused on their disciplines.”

Fervent belief

IMCA is focused on investment consulting and wealth management for high net worth individuals, she says. National Association of Personal Financial Planners members tend to have a fervent belief in fee-only business and take a pledge to do right by clients.

MacKenzie will oversee IMCA’s marketing and communications initiatives, conferences, educational offerings, and publications, including Investments & Wealth Monitor and the Journal of Investment Consulting.

Previously, he was the managing director in charge of marketing and business development for the 25,000-member FPA, which is also based in Denver.

In 2007, IMCA hired Sean Walters, now executive director and CEO. He had been managing director of the knowledge and market development group for the Financial Planning Association after a 10-year career there. IMCA has 25 employees.

Beau Ballinger, IMCA’s spokesman, also came to the organization from the FPA.

“As for the hiring of Sean, myself, and Ian, Denver is a pretty small association community, so the most qualified candidates for positions in this market traditionally come from other associations,” Ballinger said. “Ian’s background and experience was a perfect fit for this role.”

Mackenzie says he will make IMCA more visible to many of the kinds of advisors served by the FPA.

Wirehouse community

“[IMCA] has been well-known within the wirehouse community for 25 years, and my goal is to use my experience and expertise to elevate that recognition among independent advisors serving a high-net-worth client base,” he says.

About 60% of IMCA’s new applications to join in 2009 still came from the big four firms [Merrill Lynch, UBS, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney]. But IMCA is aggressively seeking new ways to grow. Its membership overall grew by 30% between 2006 and 2009, and 10% between January 2008 and October 2009. The association has more than 7,700 members, of whom 6,000 have earned their Certified Investment Management Analyst professional designation.

It has begun offering more conferences to a broader constituency. Last year, it created a way for advisors to attend it conferences without achieving the CIMA designation.

IMCA’s deputy director position became available when Walters vacated the spot last year. He took over the CEO position after Dede Pahl retired.

Right qualifications

Walters believes that MacKenzie has the right qualifications for the IMCA job.

“Ian’s 25 years of broad experience in the financial services industry, coupled with his knowledge of association management, will help IMCA expand our educational offerings into new markets,” Walters said. “His extensive background in publishing, institutional relations, market development, and knowledge and content programs will be instrumental for IMCA’s continued growth.”

At FPA, MacKenzie also served as editor-in-chief and publisher of the association’s Journal of Financial Planning. At various times during his six years at FPA he oversaw publications, sales, marketing, research, strategic alliances, meetings and events, online learning, and institutional membership.

MacKenzie will work closely with Walters and Gary Diffendaffer, deputy executive director of certification, to aid IMCA’s expansion.

Pay dividends

The fact that so many FPA alumni are now in leadership roles with IMCA may actually pay dividends for both organizations and for the industry, Brackpool says. It means that there is no hesitation by either side to pick up the phone and discuss ways to collaborate. IMCA had an educational session on the pre-conference agenda of the FPA’s national convention in Los Angeles in October.

Walters agrees.

“Organizational relationships are nothing more than individual relationships,” he says. “Marv Tuttle [executive director and CEO of FPA] and I are friends.”

Brackpool adds that the FPA is philosophical about its loss of another leader to IMCA.

“For Ian, it was a great move,” Brackpool says. “We think it’ll be a wonderful growth opportunity for him.”

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Mentioned in this article:

Investment Management Consultants Association
Association
Top Executive: Sean Walters

Financial Planning Association
Association
Top Executive: Lauren S. Schadle, CAE, Executive Director and CEO



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