It appears that the long drought for live advisor conferences may be over.
Marv Tuttle, CEO of the Financial Planning Association, said April 22 that there were 297 planners attending the FPA's annual Retreat this year, being held from April 22 to 25 in San Antonio, compared to 220 attendees in 2009. Tuttle said attendance was good as well at the group's Business Solutions practice management conference held in Dallas in early March.
While Tuttle said that some previous, pre-financial crisis Retreats attracted more than 400 planners, he expressed great satisfaction with this year's numbers, as did Marty Kurtz, the recently named president-elect of the largest planners' association, suggesting that not only was there a pent-up desire among planners for education and networking, but also to do so in a relaxed atmosphere.
That has long been one of the hallmarks of the FPA Retreat, which attracts many of the leading lights of the profession in general and the FPA in particular--people like Roy Diliberto, Norm Boone, Linda Lubitz, Dan Moisand, Myra Salzer, and Dave Yeske--who spend quality time cogitating as much on matters of the heart and mind (with general sessions like Jay Hughes's on "The Nature and Practices of Families of Affinity" with references to Socrates and Moses Maimonides, as they do on more traditional planning topics like Scott Stoltz and Michael Kitces's session on "Using Variable Annuities for Retirement Income in an Era of 'De-Rised Product Designs," with references to subaccounts and surrender charges.
The attendance increase at major planner conferences seemed to begin most obviously with TD Ameritrade's annual conference in February in Orlando, where it reported record total attendance of 2,000, including 1,200 planners. The major advisor conferences in fall 2009 had mixed attendance results: Schwab Institutional's Impact conference had about the same number of attendees as the previous year, while attendance at the FPA national conference was down from 2008.
Read a report on happenings at the TD Ameritrade conference from the archives of InvestmentAdvisor.com.
The FPA and the Financial Planning Coalition has been waging the fiduciary fight in Washington; read a Soapbox article on the topic from the February issue of Investment Advisor.