At Envestnet’s Advisor Summit, It’s All About Innovation

With a big jump in attendance this year, annual event in Chicago will welcome 800 advisors and speakers from Putnam’s Bob Reynolds to Wired’s Chris Anderson

Bob Reynolds of Putnam Investments. (Photo: AP) Bob Reynolds of Putnam Investments. (Photo: AP)

At its annual Advisor Summit this week in Chicago, Envestnet will welcome 1,400 total attendees, including 800 advisors — a 30% jump from last year — for an event that will focus on innovation “in our industry, among independent advisors, in the investment management business and new ideas that we’re generating as a firm,” said Ron Fiske of Envestnet.

In an interview Tuesday, the day before the formal start of the conference, Fiske, managing director of events and education at Envestnet, said the intent was to help advisors “embrace innovation” on their own behalf and to benefit their end clients.

One of the featured speakers, Bob Reynolds, who is CEO of Putnam Investments and Great-West Lifeco US, will be speaking about how the investment management industry is innovating in response to the growing number of boomers retiring, the growth among independent advisors, and “global investment opportunities, in different markets and asset classes.”

The “wave” of advisors going independent, said Fiske, “is well documented, and not unnoticed” among investment management firms.

Another keynote speaker will be Chris Anderson, the former Wired editor and author, whose session is titled "Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, and How 3D Printing and Open-Source Technologies Will Affect Business Moving Forward." But Anderson will go beyond just talking about innovation: Fiske said the technologist will have a 3D printer on stage with him, and as he speaks he will be printing something “and handing it out to attendees.”

At last year’s conference, Envestnet announced its “Envestnet Intelligence” initiative, and while Fiske declined to be specific about any new initiatives from the company this year, he did say that Envestnet would be making a number of announcements during the conference, with Chairman Jud Bergman and President Bill Crager speaking about “the various ways we’re innovating.”

Another highlight of the conference will take place Thursday morning, when the winners of the 10th annual SMA Managers of the Year awards will be announced at a live event, including the SMA Manager of the Year, who will be picked from among the category winners (Disclosure: Investment Advisor partners with Envestnet | PMC to name these winners).

And while the conference sessions themselves will be serious, Envestnet will “embed some fun” in the event, Fiske said, with a Thursday night gala at the Buddy Guy’s Legends blues club across the street from the conference venue, the Hilton Chicago, featuring Shemekia Copeland’s blues band.

Envestnet the company seems to be having some fun as well. The company (ENV) recently announced its first quarter earnings, in which it showed sharp increases in revenue and income. In the quarter, adjusted revenues increased 68% to $78.5 million from $46.8 million in 2013's first quarter, helped by an 85% increase in revenues from AUM or assets under administration to $67.1 million. Adjusted net income in the quarter was $6.3 million, compared with $4.1 million in the first quarter of 2013, or $0.17/share, compared with $0.12 in the first quarter of 2013. Chairman Bergman said during the company's earnings call that "we’re executing on all aspects of our growth strategy."

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Check out Finalists Announced for 10th Annual SMA Managers of the Year Honors on ThinkAdvisor.

Check out ThinkAdvisor’s special section on Envestnet’s Advisor Summit.

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