In the news: Virtual CISI Financial Planning Conference 2020

A glimpse into this year's conference, as reported by FT Adviser and IFA Magazine
by Bethan Rees

Virtual Financial Planning Awards 2020

This week (13–14 October) saw the CISI's first ever virtual Financial Planning Conference take place. In a session by the hosts of the Adviser gap podcast, James Mousley and Sean Banks, the financial advice profession was warned that it risks becoming an "army of technical experts", reports Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser.

Mortimer quotes Mousley, saying that adviser and planner qualifications focused only on the technical aspects of the profession, rather than the practical application, are "creating a gap in the financial planning world". He makes the point that a financial planner is “so much more than the technical knowledge they have".

He says that the art of communication – "the listening, questioning, relationship building and body language" – is being neglected. Having technical knowledge isn't helpful if a planner can't understand the wants and needs of a client, he adds.

FT Adviser article
A broad range of learnings

The IFA Magazine's editor Sue Whitbread attended the virtual conference and has reported the highlights of the day across two articles. In the first article, Whitbread reports on how 190 delegates from all over the world came together to enjoy a choice of sessions and break-out groups. "It was good to see that the break-out sessions helped to provide the valuable networking and sharing of ideas that financial planning conferences are so famous for generating," she writes.

On day one, a session run by US-based Kate Holmes, founder and CEO of Innovating Advice, on how financial planning can serve millennials, offered insight into why financial planning firms need to expand their thinking. Whitbread agrees with this perspective and believes it "makes sense for advisers to broaden their service proposition to extend to younger individuals", but accepts that it's not straightforward. "Therein lies the nub of the matter, that help is needed to be able to consider it as an effective part of your business planning strategy for the future,” she says.

Also on day one, in a presentation titled 'How to be a fully virtual financial planner', Josh Brown, CEO of US-based Ritholtz Wealth Management, gave practical guidance on running a virtual advice practice. He was doing this long before anyone had heard of Covid-19, Whitbread points out. She highlights a comment by Brown that blogging is key, and having a YouTube presence has reached "the so-called Henrys (high earners not rich yet)" demographic, who use digital channels.

How would financial planning have coped if the pandemic had hit a decade ago?Day two saw Martin Ruskin CFPTM Chartered FCSI, client director of Paradigm Norton Financial Planning and outgoing chair of the CISI Financial Planning Forum Committee, give a personal reflection on the profession and how financial planners are managing during Covid-19. He said that technology needs to be embraced and questioned how the profession would've coped had the pandemic hit a decade ago. Whitbread recounts an example of a financial planner who told her of his surprise at how easily his firm guided clients through the online onboarding process.

Also on day two, delegates learnt about the Australian financial planning profession. In a session led by Tegan Altshwager, senior research fellow at Melbourne Business School, viewers heard about understanding financial decision-making in retirement, and in another session, Peter Mancell, founder of Mancell Financial Group, spoke on developing good client service standards, reflecting on his experience. "Mancell delivered some useful reflections and learning from the Aussie model, which, he explained, has clearly changed so much in a few short years with sharp falls in the number of advisers and with the country’s four major banks having pulled out of the advice business," Whitbread reports.

IFA Magazine article, day one

IFA Magazine article, day two


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Published: 15 Oct 2020
  • Financial Planning
  • paraplanner
  • US
  • millennials
  • Financial Planning Conference
  • financial planning
  • Covid-19
  • Australia

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