Financial Planning Conference 2017: Focus on the future – day one

Leaders from the financial planning community made their way to the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales for the CISI’s second Financial Planning Conference on 25–27 September 2017. Here we outline some highlights from the first day 
by Jake Matthews

Networking in the exhibition stand area

Read about day two of the Financial Planning Conference 2017 Over 400 delegates attended the three-day conference, which was themed ‘Focus on the future’, to enjoy exclusive networking, informative and inspirational entertainment, and professionally fulfilling debate – all in the setting of a five-star hotel. The future, and what it holds, is at the centre of financial advisers and planners’ roles for their clients, and the conference looked to the future with optimism.
Day oneCampbell Edgar CFPTM Chartered FCSI, CISI’s outgoing head of financial planning (a position now filled by Jacqueline Lockie CFPTM Chartered FCSI), and Ian Howe CFPTM Chartered MCSI, chairman of the CISI Financial Planning Professional Forum and regional managing director at 1825, kicked off proceedings with a welcome message. 

Following the pair was ‘achievement thinking’ speaker John Hotowka. Having had experience of the highs and lows associated with running a solo business for 28 years, John provided delegates with an insight into his ‘achievement thinking’ methodology.

John said: “I was keen to get the audience into the mindset of sharing insight and knowledge, and the huge benefits that can be achieved by being open to new ideas, sharing their own and collaborating.” 

There were four streams running simultaneously on day one: Practice management; Legal advice; Investments and advance planning; Real financial planning case studies.

Practice management
Simonne Gnessen, founder of Wise Monkey Financial Coaching, provided tips and tricks on how to make clients calmer, help them stay in control and be more confident about their finances. 

Conference delegate Duncan Hannay Robertson CFPTM Chartered MCSI, a private client adviser at Cambridge-based Hannay Robertson Financial Planning, said Simonne’s stream was “brilliant … all about asking questions. Our job is about asking non-judgemental questions [and] really understanding what motivates our clients. I took a lot from it.”

The second practice management topic for the day was ‘Utilising technology to enhance the client experience’, delivered by Ian McKenna, director at the Finance & Technology Research Centre.

Legal advice
Anna Sofat CFPTM Chartered MCSI, founder of boutique family- and women-only financial planning firm Addidi Wealth, discussed ‘The complexities of the ‘silver splitter’ [someone who divorces or separates from their partner in their middle age] generation’. 

She said that, while the UK’s divorce rate for 2016 was at its lowest for four decades, older people are bucking the trend. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of men aged 65 and over divorcing went up by 23%; for women this figure was 38%. Divorces and separations call for financial advisers and planners, and to be well placed for this, Anna said, they must provide a holistic service, be about more than investment and, potentially, provide a service from cradle to grave.   

The second legal advice topic for the day dealt with ‘Financial planning across the generations’, by Marlene Outrim CFPTM Chartered FCSI, founder and managing director at UNIQ Family Wealth.

Investments and advanced planning
Bob Gordon, Standard Life’s pensions consultancy manager (Standard Life's exhibition stand pictured below), addressed a topic that has been making headlines recently, in his explanation of why demand for defined benefit (DB) pensions transfer advice is growing. 

He said that enquiries by existing clients, according to a 2016 FCA survey, for DB transfer advice was up by 123%; for new clients this was 246%, according to a 2017 freedom of information release. The changing DB landscape, the appeal of defined contribution flexibility and high transfer values (plus awareness of them) are all driving factors behind this. 

The other topic discussed under the ‘Investments and advanced planning’ category was ‘The long game: the case for listed private equity in client portfolios’, by Nick Britton, head of training at the Association of Investment Companies.

Real financial planning case studies
The first two steps of the financial planning process were covered by two different speakers: Ian Painter CFPTM Chartered MCSI, managing director at Affinity Integrated Wealth Management, outlined best practice for ‘Step 1 – Establishing and defining the client planner relationship’; and Chris Budd ACSI, managing director at Ovation Financial Planning, covered ‘Step 2 – Gathering client data including goals’.

With the streams for the day over, Jacqueline Lockie CFPTM  Chartered FCSI, the CISI’s then deputy head of financial planning, took to the stage with ‘Financial planning at the CISI – Let’s focus on the future!’

She said that financial planning forum membership is up. She then focused on what members may have missed, which featured an advert in The Telegraph and an advertising campaign on LinkedIn and Google. The CFP certification toolkit is also being developed. 

Closing her talk, she left the audience to mull over the following quote from American radio speaker and author Earl Nightingale: “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

Closing the day was Sophia Bera CFP® (pictured below by the CISI stand at the conference), founder of Gen Y Planning, with her talk titled ‘Bringing financial planning to millenials: Lessons from the US’. Using just her laptop, she has built a six-figure online business in four years. 

She cited a TIAA-CREF study that says 42% of next-generation investors prefer to work with someone within ten years of their own age. However, the average age of a financial adviser is 56. Generation Y, the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s, are the financial clients of the future. To attract them, Sophia advised: “Hire Gen Y planners, mentor them and trust them to serve their demographic in your best interests; streamline your processes and leverage technology; and create content – be it an educational article or a fun blog post – that you can have fun with.” 

Rebecca Aldridge CFPTM MCSI, managing director at Balance: Wealth Planning, who listened to Sophia’s presentation, said: “[She was] without a doubt my highlight. Fresh and innovative, I wrote down the most from any session by far. It really got me thinking. The idea of creating a proposition for younger or less wealthy clients has been on the shelf as something we need to attend to for the past couple of years. To see someone who’s doing it and doing it with passion is really inspiring.”   

Sophia said: “I would love to attend the CISI’s conference again and highly recommend it. The theme of ‘focus on the future’ was very refreshing to see at a financial planning conference.” 

Seen a blog, news story or discussion online that you think might interest CISI members? Email


Published: 11 Oct 2017
  • People
  • News
  • Financial Planning
  • The Review
  • Features
  • Financial Planning Annual Conference 2017

No Comments

Sign in to leave a comment

Leave a comment