Pershing’s annual Insite conference, now in its 14th year, is sui generis. By design it attracts both broker-dealer home office personnel along with BD reps who work through Pershing’s clearing business and use its technology, but there are always plenty of registered investment advisors in attendance as well who custody at Pershing Advisor Solutions. And Pershing does get big names to speak.
At the 2012 Insite, which formally began Wednesday midday at its traditional venue, the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Fla., all those attractions were in evidence.
The total number of attendees, according to Pershing personnel, is 2,088 this year, essentially flat compared with last year’s 2,073 attendees. There are 395 sponsors and exhibitors this year, up from 360 in 2011. Among those attending this year are 1,329 of what Pershing calls “customers” and customer prospects, with the breakdown being:
- 48% of broker-dealer home office associates
- 25% BD registered reps
- 22% RIAs
- 5% dually registered
Of the big names among the 67 speakers, three are headliners: Former President Bill Clinton is the opening keynote speaker on Wednesday; Deepak Chopra highlights Thursday’s sessions and Fareed Zakaria is the closing keynoter on Friday.
On Wednesday, Pershing, a unit of BNY Mellon, also announced that it was enhancing its clearing platform to enable representatives of its correspondent broker-dealers to open, fund and manage 529 college savings plans electronically. In a statement, Pershing said the new offering will allow reps to “operate more efficiently and manage these investments alongside the other assets and investments of their clients.” The platform has launched with one advisor-sold 529 plan—the CollegeAmerica plan administered by the Virginia College Savings Plan—but will eventually be adding a “large selection of the nation’s most prominent” 529 plans.