GAIA’s 2019 Conference was held in Sydney and Adelaide between 5-9 of April 2019, and touched on the themes of innovation, leadership, and cybersecurity. The first day was scheduled in Sydney to coincide with a global advice conference held on the previous two days. On the Sydney morning attendees were welcomed by new GAIA chair Jeff Buckner who then introduced Dimensional Fund Advisors Co-CEO, Dave Butler. Dave discussed his leadership journey and how to empower teams to support a lasting culture. Co-Head of Dimensional’s client group, Bryce Skaff followed with a presentation on the wealth management landscape.
Futurist Jamie Suskind followed with a session on innovation. As part of the session, each firm offered an assessment on where and how they expected to innovate in the year ahead with Jamie facilitating discussion. Jamie then took the afternoon’s keynote session on technology and innovation. The afternoon was rounded out by David Andrew and Charmaine Lamprecht from Capital Partners who presented a Cybersecurity case study.
Days 2 and 3 then shifted to Adelaide. First up on morning 2, GAIA chair Jeff Buckner facilitated a session of updates and changes from each firm over the past year. This was followed by a deeper dive into Magus Private Wealth taken by CEO Ian Hawkes. Ian explained where Magus have come from, building their business and culture, and how they are executing their current strategy.
A special session by Denis Keefe Co-Founder of Mainie rounded out the morning. Mainie are an indigenous owned company in Cairns and are committed to supporting Aboriginal artists in keeping their stories and traditions alive.
The case study of the conference was taken by JD Bruce of Abacus Wealth. JD highlighted the importance of implementing a team structure at the firm and how Abacus had evolved over the prior decade and improved their divisional structure, so roles and teams were more clearly defined. The day was rounded out by a best ideas session where each firm offered a good idea and opportunity being pursued in their business that may have been valuable to others in the group.
Day 3 began with a session on business development facilitated by Jeff Troutner. Here each firm outlined their processes, incentives, and expectations around business development. Carolyn Gowan of Bloomsbury Wealth followed by discussing her journey with social media, taking the group through what she has worked for her and what hasn’t.
The major theme of the day was client experience and David Swanwick took the group through an afternoon and morning session on creating and delivering a great client experience. With the afternoon session dedicated to the results seen from changing everything from the reception area to delivering a plan.