Commonwealth Financial Network® Hosts Nearly 2,000 at 2019 National Conference
Commonwealth Financial Network®, the nation's largest privately held Registered Investment Adviser-independent broker/dealer, recently hosted nearly 2,000 affiliated financial advisors, staff, guests, and sponsors at its annual National Conference, held October 2-5, 2019, in Denver, Colorado.
Recognizing the firm's 40-year anniversary, the conference celebrated "where we've been, where we are, and where we're going." Special TED presenters, together with members of Commonwealth's leadership team, shared insights on themes most relevant to advisors, inspiring thinking and sparking creative ideas for the future.
Members of Commonwealth's leadership team addressed attendees. Joe Deitch, founder and chairman, reflected on Commonwealth's 40 years in business. He shared significant lessons learned, including investing in people ("find the fantastic and make them want to stay"), maintaining a client focus, and taking time to get it right ("listen, explore, arrive at clear consensus"). Deitch reflected, "It's not about the money; we trade the money for what's important." On what the future will bring, Deitch inspired attendees to extend Commonwealth's philosophies of quality and community, be leaders, and work toward making a profound difference. "Helping is at the essence of what we do," he noted.
Trap Kloman, president and chief operating officer, discussed how Commonwealth is addressing rapid change across the industry and how its model-built on indispensable service, quality, and community-is designed to elevate advisors' success in this environment. Commonwealth's differentiating purpose is built upon intuitive, integrated technology and personal engagement with knowledgeable employees who are 100 percent accountable to advisors' needs. "We continually invest in the advisor community to bring them closer together and to promote best practices and the sharing of new ideas," said Kloman. "In addition, technology is a key component of Commonwealth's efforts to manage complexity and improve communication." With Commonwealth's spinoff of Advisor360°, the firm is able to double its technology spend to strengthen the platform and accelerate new features, including broadening the digital experience for advisors and their clients.
Kloman added, "Commonwealth has a history of thoughtfully addressing change to ensure that our advisors are always the best option for their clients. Because our foundation is strong and our value proposition is clear, we minimize having to make dramatic, disruptive decisions. We continue to grow to enable innovation and investment to empower our advisors to be the best in their profession and to own the inside lane." Kloman closed, "I remain accountable to you, our advisors."
In a subsequent general session, Brad McMillan, managing principal, chief investment officer, provided perspective on the markets and economy.
Prominent TED presenters offered topical remarks tailored specifically to the advisor audience. Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, professor and coauthor of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending, addressed the sense of joy in giving to others; Juan Enriquez, life sciences entrepreneur and author, spoke on "The Future of Man" and the effect that bioscience is having on how we live, work, and do business; Beau Lotto, founder and CEO of Acoustigram, director of the Lab of Misfits, professor, and author, presented on the "Power of Awe," applying neuroscience research to an immersive presentation; and Baratunde Thurston, comedian, writer, and cultural critic, presented "Opening Your Eyes," challenging attendees to reimagie our world, create, and "change the story."
"Thank you to every member of the Commonwealth community who joined our National Conference, contributing to its great success," said CEO Wayne Bloom. "This event gives us all a chance to reconnect with long-term friends, meet new friends, and immerse ourselves in continued education and reflection that allow us to think deeply on our principles of quality and community. I am grateful for each attendee's active participation in this year's event, and I hope it inspires our advisors to reach their highest potential in the communities where they work, live, and give back."
Advisors took advantage of more than 100 educational sessions, panel discussions, and networking events on topics ranging from millennial clients and ESG investing, scaling portfolio management, and cybersecurity and privacy, to leadership and building an inclusive organization, going fee-only, and developing the next generation of advisors.
Throughout the conference, key members of the home office were available in the Commonwealth Hub to consult with advisors one on one and provide hands-on support. Critical business units including Advanced Planning, Compliance, Marketing, Practice Management, Retirement Consulting Services, RIA Services, and Technology Consulting were represented. The Cyber Lounge and Tech Desk offered additional resources and were staffed each day.
Joni Youngwirth, managing principal, practice management, spoke on "doing well by doing good" and honored Pioneer Valley Financial Group in Ludlow, Massachusetts, as the recipient of the 2019 Commonwealth Special Service Award, recognizing the entire team for their exemplary contributions to giving back.
Prior to the official start of the conference, Commonwealth once again hosted a reception tailored exclusively to women advisor-entrepreneurs and registered staff members titled, "A League of Our Own." The networking reception, led by Maria Considine King, senior vice president, practice management, was designed to help women advisors take positive steps toward enhancing their connection to the Commonwealth community and strengthening their position as leaders and role models for other women. On the first day of the conference, Kol Chu Birke, managing principal, technology and corporate strategy, alongside Kari Heistad, founder and CEO of Culture Coach International, held a diversity and inclusion gathering, sharing how diversity of experience, background, and thought can broaden a team's perspectives and improve its ability to serve a wide-ranging client base.
For the seventh consecutive year, Bloomberg (News - Alert) Radio broadcast Bloomberg Businessweek on-site from the National Conference. Hosts Carol Massar and Jason Kelly held candid, live interviews with several of Commonwealth's thought leaders and independent advisors over the course of two days-Thursday, October 3, and Friday, October 4.
Staying true to the firm's commitment to giving back to the community, Commonwealth organized a team of more than 200 advisors, guests, and home office staff who attended the conference to participate in a two-day give back initiative supporting Conscious Alliance. Together, the group exceeded its goal-assembling and packaging a remarkable 19,600 nutritious dried-soup meals that will be distributed to the organization's network of food pantries and schools serving low-income students-providing high-quality food that encourages families to eat healthy together.
About Commonwealth Financial Network
Commonwealth received the highest score in the independent advisor segment of the J.D. Power 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018, and 2019 Financial Advisor Satisfaction Studies of customers' satisfaction among financial advisors. Visit jdpower.com/awards.
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