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Commonwealth Financial Hosts Yearly Event, Enhances Tech Tools

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Commonwealth Financial Network brought together more than 900 of its roughly 1,500 affiliated financial advisors at its annual national conference in Orlando, which took place Oct. 6-9. The four-day event included author Malcom Gladwell and Andrew McAfee of MIT as keynote speakers, who described the importance of taking strategic approaches to problem solving.

“Our National Conference continually proves to be an invaluable opportunity for all members of the Commonwealth community to connect both personally and professionally with our network of advisors from across the nation,” said CEO Wayne Bloom, in a press release.

“Advisors are able to immerse themselves in rich content and engage with industry experts and fellow members of the Commonwealth community, and we are pleased to deliver such a unique opportunity for continued growth and development,” Bloom said.

Other Commonwealth executives who addressed the group include Darren Tedesco, managing principal of innovation and strategy. Tedesco described how Commonwealth’s information technology will be enhanced in 2015. President and COO Rich Hunter focused on operational updates and goals, while Chief Investment Officer Brad McMillan gave his perspectives on the economy.

The event included access to a Continuity Planning booth, where members of Commonwealth’s Practice Management team worked with advisors on how to best safeguard their legacies and make contingency plans for their practices. Along with making visits to marketing and technology booths, advisors attended a mentor roundtable event, led by Joni Youngwirth, managing principal of practice management.

“Advisor participation is crucial to the success of our event, and I thank attendees for their continued engagement,” Bloom said. “As stressed before, advisor feedback is a critical component of our programs and operations. We learn from our advisors’ thoughts and ideas — it’s what helps us continually improve, offer what advisors want, and maintain our value proposition.”

For the second year, Bloomberg Radio broadcast “The Bloomberg Advantage” from at the event. Radio-show hosts Kathleen Hays and Vonnie Quinn spoke with Commonwealth executives and independent advisors live on-site for two days.

More than 100 volunteers representing the independent broker-dealer and RIA worked on improvements to a local shelter managed by the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida as well.

Tech Updates

The privately owned broker-dealer says it has updated its core operating systems, which are Client360º, Practice360º and Investor360º. Client360º now operates more efficiently in terms of the financial planning process, while other systems offer more streamlined reporting functions.

“By year end, Practice360º models will feature household modeling and rebalancing, allowing users to treat multiple accounts in a household as a single account assigned to one model,” explained Tedesco, in a statement. “This should increase clients’ net after-tax returns not only by optimizing in which registration types assets live, but also by reducing the number of trades and their corresponding ticket charges.”

“We released our third-generation mobile app, which now includes mobile check deposit and has an improved interface,” he said. “This continues our decade-long push of enabling our advisors to work where, when and how they want.”

In addition, Commonwealth says it discussed planned improvements to its client relationship management, or system at the conference.

“Upgrading our CRM system will result in increased integration and speed, improved synchronization, more robust tools for our offices, and a consistent user experience across all browsers and devices. We believe our fifth-generation CRM will be the best in the industry,” Tedesco said. “Approximately 75% of advisors currently use Commonwealth’s CRM, and we expect that adoption rate to approach 100%.”

Check out Commonwealth Financial’s McMillan Still Sees 4 Economic Green Lights on ThinkAdvisor.