April showers will bring financial advisors to Seattle.
Beginning on Sunday, the Investment Management Consultant Association will play host to 1,600 attendees in the Emerald City for its IMCA Annual Conference 2013, featuring Meredith Whitney, Meir Statman, Phyllis Borzi and Dan Ariely, among others, as speakers.
“I’ve been working with conference programs for 15 years, and haven’t been a part of a program as strong as this,” says IMCA executive director and CEO Sean Walters. “The overall quality is phenomenal.”
Walters also notes the advanced investment strategist certificate in portfolio management that will be offered concurrently with the show. The organization has partnered with the University of California, Berkeley; Princeton; Wharton; and Yale in developing and presenting the program.
When asked about themes and trends to be tackled at the show, Walters points to a recent survey of members conducted by the organization.
“The survey was done in January, and at that time we asked two trend-related questions, ‘What do you expect from the economy?’ and ‘What do you expect from the stock market?’” he explains. “Fully 79% of members surveyed said they expect the economy to grow and 82% said the stock market will rise.
“And as usual our members were right,” he adds with a laugh.
Walters also points to the work of IMCA’s government relations committee, saying it had meetings with two SEC commissioners recently.
“They actually came out with the results of their cost-benefit study right at the time of our meetings, which we found interesting,” he says. “I’m really curious as to how the session with Phyllis Borzi will pan out in light of the DOL’s fiduciary rule. It will be a one-two punch; after she speaks, we throw over to Blaine Aiken of fi360 to talk about what it means for members. They already operate in a client-first environment; between 85% and 90% of our members fall under an RIA/advisor standard.”
Walters claims 1,600 attendees total this year, but more paid attendees.
“The number of attendees is essentially flat when compared to last year in National Harbor, but we have a higher percentage of advisors than in year’s past,” he concludes. “We have a smaller exhibit hall, but we have a lot of advisors that have joined in order to go to the conference to try us out. They see the quality of the education and want to come.”