Denver is an important city for professional associations in this industry, the sort of place where the Financial Planning Association and the Investment Management Consultants Association have developed close ties and worked jointly on important projects for their members.

So the FPA reacted with goodwill when IMCA announced last Wednesday it had hired Ian MacKenzie, its former chief marketing officer and managing director of business development, as its deputy executive director of operations. The hire means the FPA has two close friends holding the highest ranks at IMCA, providing more opportunities for future collaborations.

Sean Walters, IMCA’s executive director, who took the helm on March 1, was managing director of the FPA's knowledge and market development group before joining IMCA in June 2007.

“We have tremendous respect for the both of them, and we feel like the working relationship between our organizations will just get better,” said Lynn Brackpool, the FPA's director of communications.

That working relationship is already very close. IMCA routinely puts on events in the run up to the FPA national conferences, which are well attended, she said. The FPA has a similar relationship with the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, an organization that represents fee-only comprehensive financial planners.

IMCA, which has 7,700 members, provides education and ongoing training for investment consultants and wealth managers, awards the Certified Investment Management Analyst certification, and the Certified Private Wealth Advisor designation.

Walters downplayed speculation that McKenzie’s hire is part of an IMCA strategy to broaden its reach into the independent advisor channel and align its priorities with that of the 25,000-member FPA. IMCA’s main focus is to serve investment specialists and advisors in the wirehouse channel.

“The ultimate goal is to be the community for advanced wealth management and consulting professionals,” he said. “We have some work to do in educating independent advisors as to why IMCA is a good place.”

Also, Denver does not have a lot of industry associations for financial advisors, and because both the FPA and IMCA are located there, it follows that there are frequent moves between the organizations.

Former FPA colleagues, including Walters, say that MacKenzie raised the level of play for the organization’s marketing and business development offices.

“He hired the right people and put in place a sales system that worked very well for the FPA,” said Walter, who hired MacKenzie at the FPA. MacKenzie helped drive a post-recession business expansion in the organization’s operations.

Walters said MacKenzie was hired from among 20 to 30 candidates for the executive director position, and IMCA might add another professional to its certification department, to help manage the CIMA programs.