The Wealth Management EDGE conference is taking place later this month in Florida. It expects to draw more than 1000 wealth advisors together and features a speaker lineup of nearly 200 industry professionals. Diana Britton, the managing editor at WealthManagement.com, and Nabia Jenkins-Johnston, who is one of the primary producers of the conference, join the ETF Think Tank to discuss what people should expect at this event.
The pair believe that the key to running a successful conference is focusing on where the shining light is, and they believe that is the advisor base. You need to be at conferences, such as these, to have your finger on the pulse of the industry and conferences are finally back in a big way since the COVID pandemic. At this conference, they want to have discussions around the challenges advisors are facing and the outlook for the industry itself. They believe that the emergence of active management is going to be a big discussion point, but they also plan on discussing fixed income, direct indexing, and the role of the advisor as a counselor and risk manager.
On the topic of active management, they note that well over half of new ETF ideas getting pitched feature active management. There’s a lot of product development there, but we’re also seeing companies converting mutual funds to ETFs. A lot of these developments are still new and we’re still seeing what the trend is going to be there, but this is going to be a period of rapid change. The conference is evolving away from just the ETF itself and shifting to a focus on strategies, structures, and alternatives.
In talking with advisors and stakeholders to set the agenda, they found out that alternatives was an area that needed to be emphasized. Crypto and crypto ETFs also generated some interest. There’s a demand for discussions around regulation and behavioral finance. In searching for speakers for the event, they’re looking for people with energy who can really convey their messaging.
Overall, the big theme for the event is going to be around personalization and customization. There’s a lot of talk about advisors being in a relationship with clients first and an asset manager second. That past year has been really tough, and advisors need to be equipped with the tools and knowledge to be able to act as a counselor more than anything. Direct indexing is a buzz term, and we are likely to hear more about it in the discussions. There is an expectation that there could be a lot of talk around topics that investors and advisors used to not have to think about.
Other key takeaways:
- The conference will have an app that has the ability to schedule out your day. It’s a great way to get the right people to meet and connect. You are able to navigate the agenda and set meetings before you even get there. There will be a podcast booth set up in the middle of the conference where attendees can listen in and there will also be a “media village”.
- The networking aspect is the most important piece of the conference. Shared experiences are important because the past year has been really tough. There’s something about getting people together to collaborate and seek the advice of others.
- The conference will also have an emphasis around mental health. There’s the realization that the job of advisor is very stressful and there’s a high vulnerability to depression, addiction, and other issues. We didn’t think people were addressing this and it was important to shine a light on it. The hope is that folks will find support for this or at least understand what others may be going through.
- For anyone who’s interested in attending, here is a link to register with a special discount code for 20% off for ETF Think Tank Members (code: ThinkTankEdge).
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