Originally published in the May 2013 issue of FSIVoice.
Independent financial advisors fill a uniquely challenging array of roles and responsibilities in their efforts to provide objective financial guidance to Main Street investors: acting as trusted counselors and confidants to dozens of clients; leading their own companies and employees; representing and serving their communities through charitable organizations and other groups; and, of course, coping with constant change in the economic, regulatory and technology environments.
With so many people counting on them, independent advisors frequently find themselves wondering how to keep up with their clients and businesses — let alone their own personal lives.
FSI has designed its first-ever Financial Advisor Summit, to be held in Washington, D.C. from September 9th through the 11th, with these challenges in mind. Working closely with a team of veteran independent financial advisor members, we have created a unique and holistic event, built for advisors by advisors.
Joe Himelick, a member of the FSI Financial Advisor Council and President of Himelick Financial Group, played a key role in organizing the Financial Advisor Summit and shaping its agenda. Himelick wanted the event to offer something fundamentally different from other financial services industry conferences. “The Financial Advisor Summit will be driven by and focused on the full ‘advisor experience’ — not simply separate components of it,” he said.
Fellow organizer Dean Harman, founder and Managing Director of Harman Wealth Management, concurred. “A key benefit of the Financial Advisor Summit is its focus on the personal and business development of the financial advisor,” he said. “When you put three unique tracks together like the Financial Advisor Summit has, you open up a completely different dialogue for advisors to share their experiences and network with peers.”
The Financial Advisor Summit will be organized in the following tracks:
- For Your Business: this track will focus on crucial practice management issues confronting advisors. In particular, it will offer sessions focused on succession planning, branding, and social media, along with a primer on how to best leverage the media in connection with promotional efforts.
- For Yourself: this track will largely focus on personal development and will offer sessions related to life balance, nutrition and time management.
- For Your Community: this track will focus on how advisors can become more involved at the community level through client advocacy efforts. It will feature sessions related to the regulatory process, grassroots activism and overviews of the legislative process and current FSI advocacy efforts.
Additionally, the general session on the first full day of the conference will include a discussion with Phyllis Borzi, Assistant Secretary for the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. Borzi is in charge of writing the Department’s rule to redefine the term “fiduciary” which could ban the earning of commissions on IRA advice.
Commenting on the slate of discussions scheduled for the conference, Himelick said, “Attendees will get a sense for what takes place at the local and national level from a regulatory and political perspective, and how they can in turn influence and become more engaged in that very process.”
Financial Advisor Council member and organizer Denise Barrows, owner of Barrows Wealth Management, noted as well that the Financial Advisor Summit will help advisors strengthen their practices and deal with other challenges right away.
“We all attend a lot of conferences and from those experiences gain a lot of worthwhile ideas,” said Barrows. “But if we don’t take action, we really haven’t benefited from the time spent away from the office. This event will give members actionable insights across the full range of the ‘advisor experience.’”
“When I look at the agenda and see the list of speakers,” said Barrows, “I feel like I want to attend every session.”