GAIA’s 2018 Conference was held at Corpus Christi College in Oxford, UK on September 12 & 13 touching on the themes of financial industry security, family stewardship, cyber security and delivering a great client experience. Attendees were welcomed by GAIA outgoing chair Peter Mancell who then facilitated the now regular opening session of updates and development at each firm over the past year.
A conference case study was presented by William Pratt of Paradigm Norton who took the group through Paradigm’s acquisition of fellow wealth management business The Red House. William highlighted the potential pros and cons of the acquisition, then delved into the observations and learnings of the process. Paradigm found it was important to focus on culture and people ensuring that communication was honest and transparent while emphasising the practicalities of the process. Any advice firm acquiring a business needed to have their roles, boundaries and strengths established and understand it would take time and financial resources to implement properly.
The next major session of the day was taken by Carol Buttle from BBS IT Associates and she looked closely at cybersecurity in the financial services industry. Carol discussed several prominent issues financial services companies had to deal with such as breaches and attacks, potential consequences, risks and costs, what the future threats look like and the importance of maintaining security standards.
The final session of Day 1 was delivered by Mike Aitken of Magus Wealth looking closely at family stewardship amongst the very alffluent. Mike began with the history of wealth transfer through the ages and across various regions to show that wealth does not often survive three generations. Mike showed financial planning is for the here and now, estate planning is for the transfer of wealth, but stewardship planning prepares the family and children for the money. Mike highlighted the Magus stewardship framework that puts in place the processes to give the recipients of inherited wealth the best opportunity to ensure it can remain with the family across more than three generations.
On Day 2 David Swanwick from Dimensional UK facilitated a session on ensuring clients can enjoy a high class experience. This offered key insights into client interaction from the reception area to the follow up with clients. David told an amazing story of his parents amazing experience at the Fat Duck Restaurant.
In the afternoon, Stephen Klemich of Heartstyles showed attendees a different approach to HR and looking to develop all every person across an organisation beyond just the leaders. Stephen showed that growing an organisation could be done through the development of four areas: character, personal, culture and leadership.
14 September saw the GAIA firms from Australasia run a third conference day; here the focus was technology delivered by IRESS CEO Andrew Walsh, the future of professions delivered by world renowned futurist Jamie Susskind and the Psychology of Performance by Olympic coaching psychologist Laura Cosgrove.