Pershing kicked off its annual INSITE conference for independent financial advisors Wednesday with a variety of both educational programs for advisors and technology updates for those using its clearing and other services.
The event, taking place at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Fla., is expected to draw about 2,300 attendees, such as independent RIAs, as well as dually registered and hybrid advisors.
Wednesday’s keynote speaker is former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who will address key national security, foreign policy and political issues. Her talk will be followed by the release of a Bloomberg Markets poll of global investors.
On Thursday morning, Joe Torre – executive vice president for baseball operations for Major League Baseball, a former player for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets – will describe his journey to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
In the afternoon, Pershing Advisor Solutions CEO Mark Tibergien will outline how advisors can help build a long-lasting industry.
The final keynote will be delivered by Peter Diamandis, a futurist and head of the X Prize Foundation. His talk will focus on ways to achieve innovation and breakthroughs.
Breakout sessions during the event feature speakers on technology, regulation, alternative investments, global diversification and the state of today’s equity and bond markets.
Pershing, owned by BNY Mellon (BK), says that for the first time in the same calendar year, it will roll out new versions of all its major platforms: NetX360, NetX360 Mobile, NetXInvestor and NetXInvestor Mobile, along with new versions of Albridge Wealth Reporting and a new managed-investments portal integrated into NetX360.
“The increased adoption of digital capabilities in the advisory industry is changing how advisors and end investors are doing business,” said Pershing Chief Information Officer Ram Nagappan, in a press release.
“Based on the needs and preferences of different demographics and generations, our customized, multichannel solutions are designed to allow clients to engage and collaborate in powerful new ways that boost efficiency and productivity,” Nagappan said.
Pershing says it has worked with advisor feedback to simplify and improve the current user experience, extend integration and build on core technology offerings. Other needs addressed include better collaboration between advisors and investors, “as well as consistent experiences and user-friendly design across devices,” according to Pershing.
The firm says that its redesigned investor-facing portal, NetXInvestor (formerly NetExchange Client), has been rolled out to more than 500 firms.
Its layout and functionality include a new site design with improved navigation, flexibility with feature sets, simplicity and enhanced data presentation capabilities, as well as a new integrated research offering from Markit on Demand.
The enhancements to the redesigned NetX360 platform, Pershing says, “focus on advisor productivity and offering flexible technology, letting users define the experience they want to have based on their unique needs.”
Late on Wednesday, Pershing said it is introducing the Alternative Investment Center, which advisors can access through NetX360. The center includes research from Morningstar, Blue Value Partners and other firms.
“Education remains one of the toughest obstacles when it comes to alternative investments,” said Sandra Bolton, managing director, financial solutions at Pershing, in a statement. “Our Alternative Investment Center will address the most pressing issues by helping advisors not only understand the available products, but also by providing information on the vast array of alternative investments available through Pershing and thought leadership from leading investment management experts.”
According to the 2013 Natixis Global Asset Management SA survey, 72% of investors would consider using alternative investments if their advisors recommended them, and 85% said they would invest in alternatives if they understood them.
Through the Alternative Investment Center, advisors can review investment details on some 2,300 alternative-investment products, including about 280 investments on the Alternative Investment Network and Pershing's no-fee platform, as well as access to liquid mutual fund alternative investments through FundVest.
Check out 10 Steps to Becoming a Multigenerational Advisor: Pershing on ThinkAdvisor.