Member meeting in Napa, California, USA

GAIA’s 2017 Conference was held at Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa Valley California on May 14 & 15 and the conference focused on technology and leadership.

Attendees were welcomed by GAIA Chair Peter Mancell and the group included representatives from prospective member firms Bloomsbury Wealth, Capital Advisors, Equius Partners and Paradigm Norton.

In the first session of the conference each member firm provided an update on the changes and challenges at their business over the previous 12 months.

Then much of the remainder of day 1 was dedicated to firm reports from the prospective members. Here Bloomsbury’s Carolyn Gowen and Robert Lockie, Equius’ TJ Troutner and Paradigm Norton’s William Pratt took the group through a detailed overview of how their firms operate.

The day was rounded out by a best ideas session where each firm shared with all attendees their best idea and opportunity being pursued for the benefit of others in the group.

On Day 2 the focus turned to external content. Marthin De Beer and Larry Robinson from BrightPlan took the first morning session to demonstrate their wealth management platform, highlight their new partnership with GAIA member Plancorp and discus digital innovation and opportunity in the wealth management industry. The pair highlighted that most firms do not use technology well, so it’s important to be open, innovative and understand where the world is going.

One of the key messages was to invite and involve clients in technology to help make it better as often they will be the end users of products, particularly in the advice delivery space. Involving clients as products & services develop will give firms a better understanding of what offers the greatest value to their clients. Marthin and Larry challenged attendees regarding what each firm was doing to foster and encourage innovation.

The mid-morning session was delivered by Jerry Foster and Buck Olsen from Foster group. The pair discussed succession planning and developing new business leaders. This was an open and honest sharing of experiences by the pair, along with what has and hasn’t worked at Foster Group as they continue to grow by putting the right people into the right positions, so they can deliver the best experience for their clients.

In the afternoon, Doug Lennick of Think 2 Perform again dealt with the leadership theme with a presentation on finding and retaining the next generation of “business leaders”. Doug highlighted that foundation of growth is about the retention of clients and key employees and delved into the key character traits that rainmakers and effective leaders display. It was an important reminder that success will always be about leadership and the best will have a high level of self-awareness because irrational decision making will trump a high IQ every time.  

The conference ended with Bloomsbury Wealth, Capital Advisors, Equius Partners and Paradigm Norton all being voted into GAIA on a provisional basis.

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