Financial Planning Annual Conference 2018: Changing Lives

At #FPAC18, financial planners faced a rallying call to help the CISI build the profession
by Eila Madden

Jacqueline Lockie CFPTM Chartered FCSI, the CISI head of financial planning, announced a raft of measures to help build the financial planning profession at the recent Financial Planning Annual Conference at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. 

Jacqueline called for volunteers to take part in a new financial planning mentoring scheme, due to be launched in the New Year. She also asked members to put their names to a regular roster of media spokespeople and to volunteer to be speakers at branch meetings. And she called for help to develop new assessments for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, which will be in place by the end of 2019.

Jacqueline hopes the coming year’s activities will build on the momentum of the past year, when financial planners gave their time to become financial planning representatives on regional branch committees and played an active role in making Financial Planning Week a huge success.
Positive feedbackMany delegates have already responded to Jacqueline’s rallying call with huge support for the two-day conference. Post-event feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with a general feeling that it was an energetic and enriching conference for passionate and aspiring financial planners.

Conference speaker Julius Lipner MCSI, of Consilia Wealth Management, said it was fantastic. “It had a great energy and atmosphere from all the participants and it felt like one big family coming together to work for the greater good. All the financial planners showed a real desire to keep pushing the boundaries of the sector forward with clients front and centre as the focus of everything we do.”
Feeling inspiredMany of this year’s speakers highlighted the privileged position financial planners hold in their clients’ lives, leaving delegates feeling inspired about helping clients to plan for a brighter and more secure future. That sentiment was perfectly summed up by the conference theme: Changing Lives. 

In a session on ‘Understanding the growing search for purpose and meaning in the lives of baby boomers’, David Salloum CFP® (pictured below), vice president, director, portfolio manager and wealth adviser of Salloum Wealth Management Group, told delegates: “Retirement is not the same for everyone. You have to help your clients adjust. Look at what work gave them, what matters to them and how they build that into retirement. The happiest, most successful retirees go home at night and sleep very well because they have purpose and meaning. They are doing things they want to do.”

Supporting clientsSerenity Financial Planning’s Tina Weeks (pictured below), a financial life planner, highlighted the crucial role financial planners play in their clients’ lives in a session called ‘Clients from hell – lessons from financial planners’.

There is no such thing as a client from hell, Tina told delegates, adding that difficult clients are just people experiencing emotions such as fear, anger and shame, which she described as a “survival response”. “It’s up to each of us to manage the particular client relationship that we have in front of us,” she said. 

Financial planners should talk to clients about why they might be feeling fearful or angry, in the hope of understanding why they have reached this point, and help them to move towards feeling something more positive. 

In ‘Advice that sticks’, a session on why clients are sometimes reluctant to follow financial advice after seeking it out, Moira Somers, founder of Money, Mind and Meaning, said this may be to do with several factors, such as the client’s relationship with money, or the advice may be too complicated, or a result of assuming the client is ready to engage and overestimating the client, or a lack of intellectual, physical and emotional capacity to act on the advice.

Somers called on delegates to develop their skills as partners in adherence, accepting that helping their clients to follow advice was part of the job. “A financial planner’s role is to make people’s lives better by accompanying them on this journey,” she added.

Networking and funDelegates found as much inspiration off the stage as on the conference platform, enjoying networking opportunities in between sessions and during the Financial Planning Gala Awards to catch up with old friends and colleagues and make new connections. “If you’re passionate about financial planning continuing to grow as a profession, then be sure to be part of a community of likeminded people,” said Jonathan Gibson CFPTM Chartered MCSI, managing director of Wells Gibson. Keri Carter CFPTM Chartered MCSI, managing director of Broadway Financial Planning, said the event was “a fantastic opportunity to network and gain knowledge from peers as well as CPD”. Clare Walsh, personal finance director at Schroders, described the event as “good value, good content and good fun!”

Fun was definitely on the cards with several interactive sessions. Martin Ruskin CFPTM Chartered MCSI, head of business development at Paradigm Norton, hosted a version of comedy show Whose line is it anyway? A panel of leading financial planners (pictured below) stepped up to the microphone to answer a series of quickfire questions submitted by the audience. And Rebecca Aston, head of professional standards at the CISI, teamed up with Jim Baxter, professional ethics consultancy manager at the University of Leeds, to host an interactive discussion and vote on a real financial planner’s ethical dilemma. 

Food for thoughtThe conference culminated in a series of inspirational keynotes, including one from Mark Horstman (below), CEO of Manager Tools. In an engaging presentation on ‘The effective manager’ that didn’t pull any punches, Mark told delegates: “Everything you read about making employees happy is wrong. Your job is to make them productive, and then they will be happy.” Mark said effective managers focused on two objectives – results and staff retention – by doing four things: knowing their people; talking about performance; asking for more from their staff; and delegating.  

After listening to 45 speakers in 28 sessions over two days, and enjoying many networking opportunities, delegates left Birmingham with plenty of food for thought to take back to their businesses. Leanne Harvey, head of the client services team at Church House Investments, said the conference was “well worth the time away from the office”, adding that it was “a very good networking event with lots of learning opportunities from individual sessions as well as directly with other CISI members”. 

CISI CEO Simon Culhane, Chartered FCSI, said in the closing remarks: “Coming to a conference is all about participating and engaging and you did that in spades. I hope that you will leave invigorated and stimulated.”

Thanks to our gold sponsors: Aegon and Standard Life. If you are interested in future sponsorship opportunities, please contact
Published: 23 Oct 2018
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