Conferences

This section contains news and coverage about the dozens of conferences held in the advisory industry every year. Those conferences range from annual events put on by the big custodians to small hands-on workshops hosted by law firms, consultants and tech companies, among others. RIABiz can't cover all the conferences, but this page includes our stories about those we have written about.

We hope that getting a flavor of the different gatherings helps you decide which are worthwhile attending and — if you're in the conference business yourself — what clicks with attendees and what doesn't. Have a suggestion for a conference we should cover? Email me, Brooke Southall at brooke@riabiz.com.


Bernie Clark: We are at an inflection point where new technology craves data, a scenario where incumbents have the advantage.

Bernie Clark uses Schwab IMPACT 2017 as pulpit to preach Schwab scale as firewall to blaze of dystopian big-data future

With no RIA deliverable to pitch, Charles Schwab & Co. execs presented their go-big, 'no goals' vision for managing accelerating external change

November 17, 2017 — 10:45 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Timothy D. Welsh

Brooke's Note: Tim Welsh artfully draws a picture of what happened to 4,000 people in Chicago over a three-day stretch by reducing it to a few broad strokes. Schwab IMPACT 2017 hammered home the point that Charles Schwab & Co. is very, very ...

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Brian Hamburger worked the phones until headliners signed on in droves.

After Brian Hamburger scores Greg Fleming, Tom Bradley, Elliot Weissbluth and other A-list whoppers, MarketCounsel Summit fees will rise

Speakers fresh off making RIA headlines, including ex-Morgan Stanley president who is launching Rockefeller-backed RIA, will address uncomfortable issues, which sends demand up; $1,000 tickets til Monday

November 10, 2017 — 11:09 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: The MarketCounsel Summit hit a heat-check peak in 2014 when it got Tony Robbins and Mark Cuban to show up in Las Vegas. Until this year with the booking of former Morgan Stanley ex-CEO Greg Fleming -- a coup calculated to answer the unanswered question in every RIA ...

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Joel Bruckenstein (w/Brian McLaughlin): This can become a de facto industry standard by providing something that does not exist today: true end-to-end protection, as well as a baseline of due diligence.

The T3 Enterprise Conference showed the dark side of the RIA software business in Vegas

RIAs may be reaching a point of diminishing returns in buying software unless RIA custodians can join them in the reinvention process -- with the tenuous fate of cleverDome hanging in the balance

November 7, 2017 — 1:00 AM UTC by Graham Thomas

Brooke's Note: Feel sympathy for our correspondent on the ground, Graham Thomas, as he navigated three cross-currents at T3 -- the enormous potential of technology, the even more gargantuan inertia of RIA custodians and independent brokers-dealers and the all-encompassing jargon and the enveloping hype-cloud thrown ...

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Graham Thomas interviewed Michael Kitces about the elephant in the FPA tent.

The 2017 FPA conference leans heavily on a Michael Kitces unimpressed with the group's 'silence' on the CFP Board

Although its theme was elusive, the Denver-based advocacy group and standard-setter drew 1,800 advisors to the Country-Western capital

October 9, 2017 — 7:57 PM UTC by Graham Thomas

Brooke's Note: Any successful system of governing and accountability starts with checks and balances. At the practice level, firms are undergoing a pretty radical uptick in accountability as RIAs take hold and the DOL rule begins to make its mark on brokers. The CFP Board is also ...

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Mike Durbin draws the brightest lights at his old firm.

eMoney -- with an immense Fidelity presence -- pulls out stops to debut RIA robo AMP, which shared buzz bandwidth with Envestnet M&A

The Radnor, Pa.-based software firm drew 800 attendees with advisors knowing they'd get sun, fun and Mike Durbin thrown in for good measure

October 4, 2017 — 9:10 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Jason Lahita

Brooke's Note: The Fall of 2017 is crackling without much of a spark from the world of robo-advice. That's not because automation or its players are going away. Just the opposite. Yesterday, we showed how far Schwab has come. See: Exploding to near ...

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Greg Friedman (r., with Doug Fritz):This used to be a much more collaborative industry.

Greg Friedman rallies RIAs at Junxure conference -- then news of Envestnet-FolioDynamix deal turns up the heat

The $2-trillion platform consolidation stunned open architecture-minded CRM-users who suspect bundling's advantages may quickly turn to diminishing returns

October 2, 2017 — 9:00 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Timothy D. Welsh

Brooke's Note: Tim Welsh's conference reviews become more fun to edit with each passing week because they are so dang loaded with hard and breaking news. He may be an industry consultant but the UC Berkeley grad is also an accomplished bloodhound when it comes to nosing ...

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Dan Seivert: It's so eye-opening to put it out to the audience.

After storming PIMCO, Dan Seivert puts LA on RIA map with high-aptitude Summit

Appropriating the bond giant's Newport Beach headquarters was a masterstroke that took the investment banker's 'deal' event to an RIA MBA cram course

September 22, 2017 — 9:51 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: I've said it before. Nobody has ever created a true RIA conference. Sure, RIAs get invited as the primary guests to events every week. But ultimately vendors of products and services make a giant dent on the agenda. It's off-the-shelf infomercial ...

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Bill Stone: We are investing $150 million cash in R&D every year.

SS&C overlords culturally shock Black Diamond RIAs in Chicago with heaviness and wow them with well-funded competency

'Intense' SS&C CEO Bill Stone let 1,000-strong attendees know they are part of $500-million cash cow not afraid to make strategic purchases

September 15, 2017 — 7:10 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Tim Welsh

Brooke's Note: As I debriefed Tim Welsh ahead of editing his column, he explained the components of his culture shock expressed in this piece. For one, he'd just come from Orion's super-down-home conference, "FUSE", in a Utah suburb. Second, he'd missed ...

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Richard Powers: If [new products] don’t differentiate in product design or exposures, some form of traditional active is how many firms look at ETF’s as 'my only shot.'

Morningstar renders ETF verdict by discontinuing ETF-only conferences after category becomes the Vanguard-BlackRock show

Smaller, newer ETF players are forced to pursue micro-niches and active management -- only to encounter the big players lurking there, too

September 13, 2017 — 5:26 PM UTC by Graham Thomas

Brooke's Note: ETFs have a bright future. Morningstar has a bright future. Neither seems remotely replaceable. But human characters as diverse in nature as Chip Roame, David Booth and Jack Bogle have long cautioned that nobody should count mutual funds out. That Morningstar is now ...

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Tim Welsh braved the Utah wilds to write this report and found DFA and BlackRock had joined the hacker scene.

Eric Clarke keeps FUSE lit by rebalancing deep-suburbia hackathon with BlackRock and DFA real economiks

The event's subversive air drew the local police, yet again, to the door of the Park City, Utah weekend hackathon

September 11, 2017 — 6:43 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Tim Welsh

Brooke's Note: I have never coded. Not much, at least. In our old admin system I did create little squibs of code that showed up on your cyber doorstep as something more visually appealing like a photo or italicized word. It gave me a taste of ...

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Mike Sha (center): We’re not gonna disrupt a crusty industry. Discretion is the better part of valor for start-up people.

Schwab CTO's speech in NYC spotlights an RIA business addicted to innovation – with no fresh fix in sight

Timothy Heier set the lower-morale tone at In|Vest 2017 of a B2B industry waiting for a Mark Zuckerberg to push it forward again -- perhaps with artificial intelligence as the final frontier

July 20, 2017 — 9:37 PM UTC by Janice Kirkel

Brooke's Note: Conferences have many things going for them but not creativity and inspiration. The In|Vest conferences offered a chance to break out of the box by featuring thinkers and doers of innovation ahead of the asset monarchs and market- share mavens. The 2015 ...

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Mark Tibergien with his uber-millennial interviewer, Min Zhang, who got an answer to the question of how long he plans to stick around.

Part of futuristic Pershing Insite 2017 is Mark Tibergien letting RIABiz know that he is intensively grooming his own successors

The Pershing Advisor Solutions CEO came aboard in 2007 but he'll leave a much bigger, younger, more feminine, techier unit -- with more of a BNY Mellon feel to it

June 19, 2017 — 11:12 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Min Zhang

Brooke's Note: Bolstering RIAs' notion of Pershing as the stylistic and practical equivalent of a sensible pair of shoes, the Jersey City, N.J. custodian has long held its national conference in Hollywood, Fla., a lesser-known beachfront city up the AIA a piece from Miami ...

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Lukas Smart brought DFA fervor to a surprisingly self-critical smart beta conference.

The smart beta ETF industry gets blasted at swank Manhattan summit by an unlikely group of critics

The active-but-passive category soared from $200 billion to $620 billion in the past four years, but Rob Arnott and other big smart-beta names at Convene were not in a gloating mood

June 15, 2017 — 2:44 AM UTC by Janice Kirkel

Brooke's Note: Whoever the genius was who coined the term "smart beta" was smart, like a politician. In a sense, the whole category starts with the promise that you can get something for nothing. But smart beta ETFs have few critics, perhaps because the ...

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John Castelly: A June 9 deadline is just like when we were back in school, thinking we would have a substitute teacher, so we didn’t do our homework, but the real teacher showed up instead.

How a Personal Capital exec electrified the NorCal FPA crowd with DOL details, relegating Jeff Gundlach and other stars to a dimmer sparkle

John Castelly elicited a school days nightmare leaving the Bond King to warn about the indexing bubble and Tim Kochis to caution against seeking for yourself in succession search

June 1, 2017 — 6:39 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Timothy D. Welsh

Brooke's Note: No matter how great it is to run an RIA, it always comes with a problem: There are no men and women in back rooms assigned to warn you about incoming meteors. Instead RIAs go to conferences and find out from each ...

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Fred Reish: You need the data in your file.

DOL fiduciary rule's upcoming September surprise'll send brokers memo-izing -- or else -- says Fred Reish in Nashville to a spellbound room

The Drinker Biddle attorney's invariably even tone gained inflection as he spoke of how brokers can only invoke BICE exemptions to go off DOL script by zealous, proactive documentation

May 25, 2017 — 7:53 PM UTC by Graham Thomas

Brooke's Note: People say certain things, and in certain ways, in front of different people. It is perhaps the best reason, from a content standpoint, to attend a conference. Graham Thomas was -- full disclosure -- in Nashville as an RIABiz advertising executive but he took notes ...

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