Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services recently brought a group of top advisors together with leaders of fintech startup firms and venture capitalists to trade ideas on technology that could impact how financial advice is delivered.

The entrepreneurs met in San Francisco with 36 advisors affiliated with Ladenburg-owned independent broker-dealers Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, KMS and Securities Service Network, which include about 4,300 registered reps.

Hosting the inaugural Innovation Symposium, held May 22, is part of Ladenburg’s strategy to zoom in promising technology tools for advisors that are worth investing in and testing.

“My focus of the event was on enterprise innovation … with less emphasis put on existing technology and operations,” said Dan Sachar, head of enterprise innovation at Ladenburg and the Ladenburg Innovation Lab, in an interview.

The event, Sachar explains, also helps the firm and its advisors “set out the vision for the next five to 10 years” in the context of what the latest innovations are in Silicon Valley. “It’s about exploring, testing and reinvesting in new concepts and … opportunities.”

Ladenburg opened its Innovation Lab earlier this year to speed up the development and rollout of technology with the aim of giving more tools to its affiliated advisors for their growth plans.

With the first Innovation Summit wrapped up, the firm plans to let advisors test drive some new technology and ideas, while it will monitor the results.

The firm says that some highlights from the one-day event were:

  • Discussions about millennials and their preferences regarding financial advice, led by the research team of event host Runway
  • Insights from fintech investor Michael Sigal of 500 Startups about how venture capitalists view the fintech space
  • Presentations on topics like financial planning powered by artificial intelligence, retirement savings, automated tax solutions and new approaches to advisor-client communication

According to Sachar, the symposium “was phenomenal,” with Ladenburg planning to stage the event again in 2019. “As a kickoff event, it was awesome. We learned a lot and think we could [host] a larger, broader Innovation Symposium with additional content in the future.”

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