Imagine hearing a keynote speech at an industry conference while simultaneously lounging poolside. Next year, that can be reality. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors is partnering with Forbes magazine to put on the industry’s first digital conference, NAPFA announced during its Practice Management & Investments conference in New York earlier this week.

The partners are still finalizing the details of the event, to be called the 2012 Forbes-NAPFA iConference: Core Elements of Financial Planning. The virtual conference is slated for a day and a half in August 2012, and — like any conference outside of cyberspace — will offer investment and financial planning session tracks, feature general sessions and keynote speakers, said Ben Lewis, NAPFA’s communications and marketing manager, in a separate interview.

“This is where things are moving, when you add up the costs to go to conferences—lodging, food—it is an investment,” Lewis said. “You can have your iPad out by the side of a pool and attend a virtual event.”

The iConference will cost $99 for members and $199 for everyone else, according to NAPFA. Attendees can earn up to 15 continuing education credit hours.

Sessions will last about 45 to 60 minutes, with question and answer segments at the end. The event will also feature a virtual exhibit hall. Plans are still in the works, but NAPFA hopes to allow participants to click on an icon for an exhibitor, watch product demonstrations, and pull up a chat window to talk with a representative.

The Core Elements conference will replace the Core Competency conferences NAPFA had staged in two previous years during the summer. Lewis said the content lends itself to a virtual environment.

The organization already has a long track record putting on virtual learning events, particularly its monthly Cutting Edge Webinars.

“This is all going off of feedback from the members,” Lewis said. “People are asking for more virtual learning. The writing is on the wall.”














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