The fifth annual Envestnet Advisor Summit that begins Wednesday in Chicago, is expected to attract more than 1,500 advisors from over 525 firms, setting a new record.  This year’s theme: The Essential Advisor.

“Good advice is as essential as ever,” says Jay Hummel, Envestnet managing director for strategic initiatives and thought leadership, noting that the rise of robo-advisors and new regulation, including the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule, are changing the landscape for financial advice. “The way advisors deliver advice and think about consumer needs may look different in future.”

The summit will focus on what advisors need to do to remain essential for current clients and to attract new ones in a dynamic industry where consumer demand is also changing, said Hummel. He is the co-author, with Envestnet President Bill Crager, of the upcoming book “The Essential Advisor: Building Value in the Investor-Advisor Relationship.” 

The summit will follow three basic tracks for breakout sessions intended to help advisors build their business: technology, practice management and investment. Advisors can learn about how to leverage technology more effectively and refine their value proposition for the future as the industry continues to change, Hummel said.

The firm is well aware of those changes given the more than 49,000 advisors using its platform, which supports more than $880 billion of assets.

There will also be breakout sessions on investment outlooks for U.S. and international equities, including emerging market stocks, and investment-grade and high-yield bonds and bank loans, a panel on the new DOL fiduciary rule and numerous sessions on various Envestnet technology and practice management applications and platforms.

Speakers include Jean Chatzy, financial editor of the Today show, in a fireside chat with Hummel that will focus on the changing needs of investors and how financial institutions should respond, and Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of “Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different” and “ The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution,” who will focus on the work of innovators. 

Other speakers are Urban Meyer, head football coach of Ohio State University, one of just three coaches to win a college football national championship at two different universities (the other college was University of Florida) talking about how to stay focused and sustain success over time in a conversation with Crager, and Greg Valliere, chief global strategist at Horizon Investments, who will discuss the upcoming presidential election and its potential impact on investments, taxes, spending and regulation.

Another  highlight of the conference will be a live event on Thursday afternoon, when the winners of the 12th annual SMA Managers of the Year awards will be announced, including the SMA Manager of the Year, who will be picked from among several category winners (Investment Advisor magazine partners with Envestnet | PMC to name these winners).

The 2016 Envestnet summit will be the last one the firm holds at the landmarked Chicago Hilton because the summit is growing too large for that hotel. Next year’s summit will be held at the Gaylord Resort outside of Dallas.

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