As financial services conferences have returned to in-person, the critical role they play has become more apparent. What we have missed over the past couple of years is how pivotal they have been in facilitating discussions in real-time while helping industry professionals keep a pulse on the first-hand challenges both financial companies and their advisors face.
During the first half of 2022, myself and several of my colleagues had the opportunity to attend or speak at several events, including FINRA’s annual conference, SIFMA Private Client, SIFMA Compliance & Legal (C&L), and the Association for Life Insurance Council (ALIC).
While compliance and regulatory themes dominated many of the live discussions, there were several important takeaways that stood out.
1. Trust has fundamentally changed; earning it is more important than ever.
The pandemic shifted the way many financial services firms traditionally conducted business, as it dampened their ability to build and nurture their client base in person. They were further challenged when a tremendous number of new market entrants came to life, enabling investors to make risky and complex investments without much knowledge of what they were investing in.
This paradigm shift has challenged a trust-based industry, which must now grapple with ways to cultivate new — and advance existing — relationships, placing trust back at the center.
2. Having an online presence is now table stakes for finserv professionals.
Increasingly, the industry is turning towards electronic channels to build these critical relationships.
Social media is a big one, but text messaging, and next-gen websites are important as well. An online presence is vital for reaching new audiences and establishing trust with them. In fact, 87% of investors will visit the social media page of a financial professional prior to deciding whether to work with them.
Personally, I did this after first visiting BrokerCheck. It is clear that having an on-brand and authentic online and social media presence is a prerequisite for our post-pandemic world.
3. More than ever, regulators are on high alert.