As the stakes for winning the custodian game helping RIAs run a better business continues to escalate, Pershing upped the ante with its recently held Elite Advisor Summit.
Held over 2 ½ days last week in balmy Miami, Florida at the fabulous Turnery Isle resort, the inaugural Pershing Elite Advisor Summit gathered 75 of the industry’s most successful RIA principals to hear from top speakers, participate in networking opportunities, and share ideas in intimate forums. As a longtime partner with Pershing, SS&C Advent was one of the top sponsors of the event.
At the conference opener, attendees saw an intriguing look into the future of wealth management by Doug Sieg, Principal at Lord Abbett. Winning organizations in the future, according to Sieg will be the ones who, “Understand transparency, have a clear strategic direction, and a strong culture in a maturing industry.”
Sieg described today as the “golden age of financial advice” but explained how it must change to remain relevant in the future as the industry matures and becomes more competitive. His recommended framework for thinking about the future of the industry is to focus on macro changes while maintaining transparency in order to develop a focused strategy and enduring culture.
As the industry matures, not only will there will be heightened competition, but also increased fee pressure, and greater regulatory scrutiny. In order to succeed in this environment, Sieg encouraged the audience to focus on transparency to drive innovation and change, especially as investors demand more from their financial advisor and institution. This innovation will challenge existing processes, infrastructure, technologies, and in turn nurture and incubate new thinking.
At the same time, strategy will become even more important as firms need to make the right choices and tradeoffs to remain relevant in a rapidly changing industry. From this perspective, Sieg’s recommendations are to focus on product quality over product quantity, become product leaders vs. followers, and consultants vs. salespeople.
“In order to succeed, firms will need to go deep in understanding which market(s) they serve in order to provide what others don’t. As the industry has evolved in some markets, 85% of flows are going to the top four providers, so you need to be one of those category leaders.”
Sieg’s final consideration for future success was all about culture. Pointing to his research with advisors and their clients, he said, “If you ask any client why they do business with you, inevitably they will say that it is because of your unblemished, ethical reputation, which I say is ‘code’ for culture.” In order to extend that culture throughout the organization, firms need to have a floor for the lowest common denominator of the behavior they’ll put up with. “Leaders of firms need guiding principles to make the right decisions and not be afraid to say no to things when it matters most.”
The Elite Advisor Summit brought in high profile speakers to discuss current affairs as well as inspire the attendees to think big. One such speaker was Anthony Scaramucci, the famous hedge fund manager at SkyBridge Capital, and now Senior Advisor to President Trump.
Scaramucci used historical references and books to tell the story of the recent rise of Nationalism around the world. “We are watching a 35 year transformation as we are onboarding billions of people into western capitalism,” he noted. “With that large of a change, there will be disruption. Particularly as the great generations from the WW1 and WW2 era are dying off, the living memory of war decreases and rhetoric increases.”
Following Scaramucci with an uplifting message was the great astronaut hero, Jerry Linenger. Linenger regaled the crowd with his story of being on the Russian space station Mir, facing life-threatening situations during his 132 days off the planet.
“Every day it seemed we were facing disaster, so after that experience, I cherish every moment on the planet and never let anything worry me so much that I can’t get to sleep, overlook the importance of being able to simply breathe, or being with family.”
Rounding out the agenda at the Pershing Elite Advisor Summit were several panel discussions, including a deep dive into the recent practice management book authored by industry guru Mark Tibergien, CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions and his colleague Kim Dellarocca, “The Enduring Advisory Firm,” which will be featured in our next blog.
Event organizers took advantage of the Miami venue to host various dinners and receptions, including the SS&C Advent Beach Party on the final night. To learn more about what went on at the Pershing Elite Advisor Summit, check out the many tweets on the #EliteAdvisor hashtag on Twitter.