Keith Kelly, executive VP and COO of  the Financial Services Institute, said the independent broker-dealer group has already attracted a record number of attendees for the FSI’s annual OneVoice conference, to be held in Orlando on Jan. 23-25.  

Kelly (left) said in an interview with AdvisorOne on Jan. 13 and subsequent email messages that a total of 624 people have registered for the conference as of Jan. 17, including 250 broker-dealer executives, a 12% increase for OneVoice, which is designed for IBD executives and home office personnel. There has also been an increase in exhibitors, to 56. When asked if that increase reflects the health of the organization itself, Kelly said “if FSI is healthy, our members are healthy,” and that “we wouldn’t be seeing growth in advisors and firms (as FSI members) if they weren’t healthy.” The health of the independent BD movement, he argues, isn’t just in terms of revenues, but also “engagement, excitement and optimism” about this “noble profession” of the independent advisor. At OneVoice, attendees “put aside their competitive edge and come together for the benefit of the entire industry and the public.”

Kelly, himself a former BD president, declined to comment on what appears to be a new round of consolidation in the IBD space, such as Cetera’s recent acquisition of Genworth FIS, saying instead that “regardless of whether there’s consolidation at the firm level, this industry is important” to the end client, saying independent broker-dealers provide “the best, most objective advice to the general public when they need it most.”

As for the conference, FSI has added a technology track this year to go along with its traditional CEO, compliance, operations, investment advisory and marketing tracks. Technology has been covered in the operations track in prior conferences, but with input from members and under the leadership of this year’s conference chair, Jim Nagengast of Securities America, it was determined that under the old structure, “we weren’t serving the key technology leaders,” Kelly said. Among those participating in technology sessions are Spenser Segal of ActiFi and Dan Skiles of Shareholders Service Group (both executives are also regular contributors to AdvisorOne andInvestment Advisor magazine).

FSI has made a concerted push to get more representatives to become members of the advocacy group, and Kelly noted that Joe Russo of Advantage Financial Group, an OSJ affiliated with National Planning Corp. Russo (left) the first advisor to be chairman of the group, will play a prominent role at OneVoice, which Kelly said “tells you how important FAs are to us.”


Read more AdvisorOne articles on FSI OneVoice 2012 at our OneVoice home page.