With the speakers we have lined up, and what they tell me they're going to present, I think we have a pretty good shot at achieving our goal. (See the agenda here: http://www.signupforconference.com).
Right before the meeting, I'll participate in a Leadership Forum meeting, an invitation-only event which will bring together people who have served the advisory profession as board members of the various associations. Our goal is to identify some of the key challenges for the profession going forward, and to figure out ways that we can organize the collective credibility of the participants to meet those challenges.
I expect that whatever we figure out in that pre-conference, all-day discussion will become the buzz of the BWMF meeting, especially since many of the participants have agreed to stay for the full conference experience.
We are still setting our agenda, which brings me to the point of this message.
The collective wisdom and experience of the people reading this message is significant, a resource that I hope I can tap into. What do you think are the most important things that we should be talking about? What problems or challenges do you think should we be figuring out?
I've received a few suggestions from the participants already. One is: how do we help the public understand the difference between professionals and nonprofessional agents or representatives whose business model is not to put the client's interests first?
Another: should we undertake research that would look at the client accounts of advisors vs. the investment accounts of people who are not working with an advisor, looking for meaningful differences?
Also, if expected investment returns for traditional risk assets are lower than historical numbers, and clients have experienced less-than-historical returns for the past decade, what can the profession do to salvage their future plans? Alternatively: are there better ways to add value than simply tending client portfolios?
Should the profession lobby for the regulation of financial planning? Or not? Why or why not?
How can our shared profession have a bigger political impact than we have today? If we increase our impact, should we try to influence major policy decisions like federal monetary policy, debt and economic stimulus, or limit ourselves to issues that most directly affect the planning profession, like the fiduciary and regulatory discussions?
I'd like to get your feedback, and make the pre-conference discussion -- and the BWMF conference experience -- the most interesting and rewarding activity that the profession has experienced in a long, long time.
Please tell me what you think.