The first-ever FPA Business solutions conference opened with a roar March 1, for 250 attendees at the Omni Hotel at Las Colinas in Dallas. FPA Chair Jim Barnash opened the conference by saying the premiere conference supports one of the FPA's pillars, "lifelong learning." He added that the two-day gathering was designed to give members a leg-up in running an "efficient, effective business," in a setting that encourages advisors to interact with each other.
Barnash introduced the conference chair and Moss Adams partner, Deena Katz, who said advisors "need to pay as much attention to our business as we do to our clients." Advisors, she noted, need to "turn our practices into businesses." Katz said the difference between a practice and a business is that "in a practice you take on anyone who fogs a mirror [as a client]; in a business, you follow the activities that are in keeping with your mission statement and business plan," adding that in a practice you don't know if you are making a profit, while in a business, you always know. She also called for advisors to lobby the CFP Board to add a requirement for mandatory credits in practice management.
Advisors chose among four tracks for a full day seminar: on starting a business; creating a solo firm; turning an ensemble into an "elite ensemble;" and transitioning out of the business. The second day included sessions on working with the media; staffing and compensation; effecting change in an advisory business; and a choice of compliance topics. Reports from attendees were positive, with several telling IA that they planned to go again if the FPA offers the conference next year.--Kathleen M. McBride