RIAs of all sizes and countless types of service providers gathered recently for the TD Ameritrade Institutional LINC conference for discussions ranging far and wide with optimism for the advisor industry abounding.
Held last week in San Diego, TDA gathered over 3,200 advisors and industry luminaries to discuss all of the developments impacting advisors today and in the future.
“It’s time to double down on your business,” said Tom Nally, President TD Ameritrade Institutional, in his opening remarks as he talked up the positive state of affairs in the industry. “We are at a cultural crossroads where investors are demanding more, and clients are flocking to the fiduciary model.”
At the same time, Nally acknowledged that despite advisors’ success, there are still areas where firms are moving too slow. “What we have is the continued automation and digitization of advice, which is good news for advisors who embrace it – client expectations are changing and we all need to adapt, but those who don’t will be left behind.”
Key Conference Announcements
To help advisors manage growth opportunities, TDA rolled out a series of technology enhancements to the Veo platform, most notably the official launch of Veo One, with 14 integrated technology partners, including SS&C Advent’s Black Diamond.
Top news coming out of the Veo Village, TDA’s 115-member community of technology partners, included SS&C Advent’s new partnership with HedgeCoVest to provide their SMArt Xchange (SMArtX) exclusively to SS&C’s client base of advisors using Black Diamond, AXYS, and APX.
This managed account integration allows for seamless, sleeve-level reporting of all SMArtX accounts through SS&C Advent’s portfolio accounting platforms. Advisors gain access to long only, long/short, and options strategies, which are allocated into a single brokerage account. The SMArtX service uses proprietary technology to maintain a real-time record of investment managers’ activity and automatically creates trades to sync investors’ portfolios with the investment managers’ trading strategies.
Key Conference Speakers and Sessions
David Cameron, former British Prime Minister
One of the high profile speakers at the conference was David Cameron, former British Prime Minister, who provided a very engaging, funny and sobering speech. Cameron, noting the current political environment, took the opportunity to remind everyone about the benefits of globalization, open trade agreements and what can happen from protectionism from his experience in managing these issues as a popular leader in the UK. Cameron was very optimistic for the long-term outlook.
Robo Advisor Session
These days you can’t go to any conference without at least one robo advisor session on the agenda. For TDA, that robo session was more advanced than in previous years, featuring advisors who have either rolled out robo services to their clients or who have started “robo-izing” their firms.
Key takeaways from the panel are that the benefits from robo platforms for advisors come in the form of operational efficiencies and an enhanced client experience. The panel noted they had not found significant benefit from lead generation, an important strategy distinction for others looking to add robo services.
The Future of Financial Advice
In a very thought provoking session, Vanguard spoke to the crowd about, “The Future of Financial Advice.” Don Bennyhoff, Senior Investment Strategist for Vanguard walked the room through his predictions, including the idea that despite the new administration’s anti-regulatory stance, there will be a much more stringent regulatory environment than in the past and that the trend in pricing for advisors services is continuing to go down. “The future is 40 basis points,” he said.
On the social scene, TDA and top vendors took advantage of San Diego to throw dinners, receptions, parties and concerts, including an elegant dinner sponsored by Black Diamond.
The highlight of the conference was definitely the final night party featuring a live concert by performer Sheryl Crow, playing all of her hit songs – a great way to cap off an inspiring event.
To learn more about what went on at TDA LINC, check out the #NationalLINC hashtag on Twitter
Timothy D. Welsh, CFP® is President and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry, and periodically blogs for Advent’s On Point blog. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@NexusStrategy.