The calendar of advisor conferences has been full. BNY Mellon’s Pershing held its annual Insite event, for instance, in early June. Some of the highlights of that Orlando meeting can be found in this issue’s RIA Lessons & Leaders section.

Meanwhile, the American Institute of CPAs hosted a gathering recently in Las Vegas, which Nexus Strategy President and Industry Insights contributor Tim Welsh writes about this month. The “big” takeaways from this event include the growing competitive presence of Certified Public Accountants and the pros and cons of advisory businesses that are smaller in size and scale.

At the Securities and Exchange Commission’s mid-June town hall in Atlanta, Chairman Jay Clayton described what a new best-interest standard might look like and how it could affect brokers’ behavior. His comments on this development and those of other industry officials are analyzed by Melanie Waddell, our Washington bureau chief, in this month’s Playing Field column.

Retirement Planning columnist Scott Stolz breaks down the industry’s “mixed feelings” for immediate annuities. The Raymond James executive also explains the role these products can play in client’s future income streams.

In his Compliance Coach column, attorney Tom Giachetti of Stark & Stark digs into a Department of Labor bulletin concerning environmental, social and governance (or ESG) investments. The DOL’s stance comes as ESG investments represent more than a quarter of $88 trillion in assets under management worldwide, according to McKinsey & Co.

Turning to our cover story, our interviews with this year’s Asset Managers of the Year Awards and analysis from Envestnet | PMC are featured in “Poised for Performance.” Investment Advisor is pleased to have partnered with Envestnet in the selection of the winners and at the awards ceremony, which took place in New Orleans in May during Envestnet’s Advisor Summit.

We are grateful for all the time and insights that these investment professionals —and the four Essential Advisor winners — generously shared with us at the event. We hope you go to ThinkAdvisor.com to view videos of the full interviews with these talented individuals and related materials from our collaboration with Envestnet, which provides technology and services to over 87,000 advisors and 3,000 companies in financial-services and related fields.

Visiting New Orleans was a revelation for me. I last visited the Crescent City in 1988, when I was on my way to Washington, D.C., to visit graduate schools and consider my next steps in life after college.

Over the past 30 years, I’ve learned some French and acquired a Belgian last name that resembles that of Voodoo queen Marie Laveau of New Orleans. And though I couldn’t properly pronounce all the street names and menu items I encountered during my stay there, I did better at this than I did three decades earlier.

Along with the beignets at Café Du Monde, the food, music in the streets, history, cultural diversity and spirit of the city are overwhelming — in a positive sense. And like my hometown of San Antonio, New Orleans is turning 300 this year.

Both communities boast a tremendous mix of languages and traditions, which I can say I am truly proud to be part of. At a time when divisions in our country are being sharpened by some politicians, I hope we can find ways to come together to appreciate the richness of who we are and to see how appreciating our differences while finding our commonalities can serve to benefit us in the future.