Since its inception in 2000, the FPA Retreat has always been sui generis: It is as much a gathering of like-minded financial planners who draw strength from communing with each other as it is an educational conference.
At the opening session of this year’s Retreat, being held in Bonita Springs, Fla., from May 3-6, FPA President Marty Kurtz greeted the 350 attendees on Tuesday by raising the community theme: “We talk about being a community of communities,” said Kurtz, referring to the Financial Planning Association itself, and said that while FPA members fervently some share some common beliefs, such as custody of care and putting clients first, “other things we do differently; that diversity is one of our greatest strengths.”
Planner Michael Kitces of Pinnacle Advisory Group in Columbia, Md., the chair of the 2011 Retreat task force, said the Retreat’s focus would be on “what’s coming in the future," evidenced as well in a new track at the conference, an "outside the box" track where experts from outside financial planning would provide insights to the financial planners.
Kitces then introducing keynote speaker Thomas Frey, a former IBM engineer and now a futurist. Frey, executive director of the Da Vinci Institute in Louisville, Colo., told attendees that digital technology advances, evidenced in the highest degree by apps for smart phones and tablets, were creating an “untethered” marketplace and society that is ushering in an “age of Hyper-Individuality.”
Recalling from history the problems that the Roman Empire had in matching the sophisticated mathematical developments of the Greeks, which he attributed to the limitations of Roman numerals, Frey (left) challenged attendees to ask themselves "What systems do we employ today that are the equivalent of Roman numerals?” and to determine if “financial planning is the equivalent of Roman numerals.”