It’s conference season for advisors and the journalists who have the privilege of covering the advisor universe. Advisors attend conferences for many reasons: to network with peers, to get CE, to hold meetings with partners or clients in the conference city. They also actually attend sessions to be informed and sometimes entertained. But the best sessions, the best speakers, challenge what we think we know and encourage us to shift the way we think about important topics.
IMCA, for example, rightly prides itself on the educational rigor of its conferences, featuring economists and statisticians and academics who take deep dives into sometimes arcane subjects.
So what to make of the fact that the highest rated speaker at IMCA’s 2013 annual conference was Amy Florian, the CEO of Chicago-based Corgenius? Rather than discussing asset allocation or inverted yield curves, Florian talks about death and dying, about dementia and Alzheimer’s. If you’ve heard Florian speak, you wouldn’t be surprised at her high ratings, even though she speaks directly, sometimes toughly but always with a leavening pinch of humor, about topics that too many of us would prefer to avoid.
Her words and suggestions are valuable to advisors in helping clients and their families deal with emotionally fraught, legally murky and potentially money-draining issues around aging clients. Beyond providing tips on the legal, emotional and intrafamily dynamics of death and dying and dementia—“You have to have a protocol” to follow when it comes to clients with diminishing faculties, she said at the 2014 IMCA national conference—she also lays out how advisors can use their knowledge and insights into those issues to help build their businesses.