National conference delivers powerful messages, from Condoleezza Rice to Captain Phillips
LA VISTA, Neb. - July 1, 2014 - More than 1,100 advisors, assistants and industry experts gathered in San Francisco June 20-23 for Securities America’s Connect! annual conference which provided over 80 educational sessions. Securities America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (NYSE MKT: LTS). From opening keynote Condoleezza Rice to closing speaker Captain Richard Phillips, Connect! delivered powerful content for independent financial advisors at all stages of their practice development.
Rice, who served as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, covered a broad range of topics in her 30-minute presentation, then took questions from the audience for another 30 minutes.
“I have a lot of confidence in us, because so many times, the United States has made the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect,” she said. “We are the most philanthropic people on the face of the earth. It is responsibility that undergirds this sense of obligation to do good things. And that private space is the great strength of our democracy.”
On Saturday, the conference took an innovative approach to communicating with Next Gen investors with a live interactive panel. Panelists gave their reactions to prerecorded financial advisor messages through instant response dial technology, which allowed the audience to see the panelists’ reactions. One theme in particular resonated with attendees: Gen X and Y investors want financial advice to help them enhance quality of life in the next five to 10 years, with retirement as a more distant and less urgent goal.
“Retirement is important, but there’s something to be said for enjoying the now,” one panelist said.
Securities America addressed the other side of the equation - the need for more Next Gen advisors in the industry to meet demand as Boomer advisors retire - with an afternoon workshop specifically for advisors under 40 years of age.
“I learned a lot about the opportunities other Next Gen advisors are capitalizing on and got some valuable practice management solutions to incorporate into my practice, whether helping us locate a potential seller, matching us up to a senior advisor through succession planning or teaching us tips to facilitate our own organic growth,” said advisor Nick Skrabo. “I think Securities America has a long-term focus and knows we are the future of the business.”
In addition to addressing the needs of Next Gen clients and advisors, Securities America brought to the conference a retirement concept different from the traditional brochure pictures of leisure. The 6th annual Super Women’s Summit Luncheon during Connect! featured former New York Times columnist Marci Alboher and Anne Greenwood, former managing director for Morgan Stanley. Now with Encore.org, the two discussed the trend of older Americans opting for a second career that combines personal meaning, continued income and social impact.
“Instead of seeing the aging population as a problem, what if we see them as a legion of problem solvers?” said Alboher, author of The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life. “People in their 50s and 60s are going back to school to prepare for jobs in what we call the encore economy. They don’t want to just use money to leave a legacy they will never see, but to live the legacy.”
Advisors can play a key role in helping Americans plan and fund their second chapters of life, Greenwood said.
“The concept of encore careers gives advisors the opportunity to do well with their business and do good with their clients,” she said. “Advisors can connect with clients in a deeper way, which results in more assets and more clients. Advisors may be the catalyst for clients to do the good they’ve always dreamed of.”
Advisors were also presented with technology updates. Topics included a review of the recently enhanced Vault solution and a preview of the New Business Solutions that are currently in pilot designed to replace existing New Account Setup and New Business Processing systems. The discussion provided advisors in attendance the opportunity to learn how these tools increase efficiency and make it easier than ever to conduct business.
On Sunday, Katherine Roy, chief retirement strategist and head of individual retirement for J.P. Morgan Funds, delivered insights about the retirement income-related landscape. Roy cited U.S. Census data showing more Americans working beyond the age of 65, and an Employee Benefit Research Institute study showing that 60 percent of Americans working in retirement do so because they want to stay active and involved.
On Monday, Captain Richard Phillips left attendees with a strong motivational message based on his experience leading the Maersk Alabama when it was captured by Somali pirates. The story of his harrowing and heroic efforts to survive the ordeal, save his crew and save his ship - told in the Oscar-nominated film Captain Phillips and in his book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS and Dangerous Days at Sea - captivated the audience. He left the audience with his lessons from the experience: you’re stronger than you know, never give up, be flexible, stay calm and focused, and see it through.
As the kick-off to its 30th Anniversary Charitable Campaign, Securities America hosted an Alex’s Lemonade Stand at Connect!, inviting attendees to join the battle against childhood cancer by drinking some lemonade and donating to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer. The firm’s $10,000 corporate donation, combined with donations from conference attendees, raised $51,216 for the foundation. Securities America plans to extend the campaign through July to advisors and employees who did not attend Connect!
The last night of the event culminated in a concert by legendary rock icons Three Dog Night, performing hits from the 1970s to celebrate Securities America’s 30th anniversary.
About Securities America
Securities America is one of the nation’s largest independent broker-dealers with more than 1,700 independent advisors responsible for $50 billion in client assets.