This year’s Symposium will be our 16th annual. In those 16 years, we have had some really positive feedback from participating financial planners. We have been told that it is “very intense and satisfying”, it’s “very worthwhile”, that it is filled with “excellent speakers” who provide “very educational and useful content.” It is because of this overwhelming positivity that we keep bringing you this intensive educational event year after year. If there is one piece of feedback that really sums up the Symposium, we think it is this: “I can’t understand why everyone doesn’t sign up.” We couldn’t agree more!
Now, WE could tell you about all the benefits of attending, but, this year, we wanted to hand the megaphone to some of our speakers – letting them tell you what you can expect from the Symposium, the location, and give you a sneak peek into what they will be talking about. Before they tell you why to register, let’s meet some of them…
Meet Four of Our Speakers
Paul Brent: If the name or face seem familiar, chances are you’ve seen Paul on CTV. As a 43 year veteran of broadcast news journalism, Paul became an expert in reporting on the latest in the tech world. He’s reported from aboard a space shuttle, from inside a Japanese car plant, deep in a Canadian salt mine, and, from his latest exotic locale, on the Symposium stage moderating our panel on cryptocurrencies and their accompanying technology blockchain.
Fraser Lang: If you’re looking to offer alternatives to conventional planning strategies by incorporating Individual Pension Plans (IPPs) and Retirement Compensation Arrangements (RCAs) – Fraser is the person to talk to. He is the Senior Vice President of Sales & Business Development at GBL and is bringing his expertise to our Symposium to educate you on how to properly employ IPPs or RCAs in your planning toolbox.
John Hollander: If you are a financial advisor, life insurance company, investment or mutual fund dealer, this man makes sure that your work is on the up and up. John’s advocacy for victims of poor financial advice has helped move our industry away from the “sales at all costs” model that prevailed in the 1990’s. With his years of experience with some high profile cases, we know John will inform and entertain with his symposium speech: Murphy’s Law For Financial Planners: What Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong!
Crys Wiltshire: Crys is the Digital Account Manager at Collaborative Haus Marketing. She has extensive experience in marketing for the financial industry. Most significantly, she created and implemented a comprehensive content and social strategy for a national brand within the finance sector. Her insights in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), analytics, content writing, influencer marketing and social strategies, will help you market your practice more effectively.
5 Essential Reasons To Attend The Symposium
Crash Course In Crypto And Blockchain
So how much do you know about cryptocurrencies and the accompanying technology blockchain? If a client came in and asked about it today, what would you tell them? Paul Brent is leading our cryptocurrency panel and says he will definitely ask if cryptocurrency is “now a valid investment vehicle or is it still a product subject to schemes like pump-and-dump?” One thing that is certain, is that you can’t ignore it. “A growing number of Fortune 500 firms are looking at how to use blockchain,” says Paul. “Our panel of experts will give you a crash course in what you need to know, when to exercise caution, or when to jump in.” In preparing for the panel, one fact that has surprised Paul is how wide open the industry is. “With just under 3% of Canadians surveyed by the Bank of Canada stating that they have actually invested in a cryptocurrency, clearly there is room for growth and perhaps room for scams.”
Step Up Your Marketing
The first step in creating comprehensive financial plans for clients is to have clients. Enter marketing expert Crys Wiltshire. With 13 years of marketing experience, she is passionate about working with small business and consultants who are looking to embrace digital marketing. “Do not be afraid to embrace something new, especially in the digital world,” says Crys. “Get online, put yourself out there and connect with your customers where they are already having conversations online.” She is going to teach you how to use marketing initiatives to help position and establish your practice within your local market.
Doing What’s Right For The Rights Of The Investor
A key aspect of planning is that it helps to avoid things going wrong, but as John Hollander has seen time and time again, “what can go wrong often does.” He says that mishaps usually stem from “poor (or no) planning, [leading] to problems.” In his session, he will lead you through “the usual planning exercise, but seen from the point of view of where things can go off the rails.” One surprising fact from his speech that will excite IAFP members is that “the Trustee Act mandates proper financial planning for estates, trusts, powers of attorney and guardianships. It sets out what the planner should do and offers a strategic advantage to planners who already comply with the IAFP Code of Ethics.” John will educate us on planning; he will show us what could go wrong, and teach us how to avoid the pitfalls.
Some Good Advice
One key benefit of the Symposium is the networking opportunities it presents. For four days, you are surrounded by professionals that have been working to bring our industry to a higher level of excellence. By spending so much time engaged in advanced learning with them, you will gain a new level of expertise and leave feeling energized. What kind of insights will you gain, well, here’s little preview based on some advice for financial planners from our speakers.
- Fraser: “Try to be aware of all of the options available to you and not get stuck on one facet of planning. I find there sometimes is too much of a focus on current tax ramifications and not enough of a long view. Tax policy in Canada is fluid and reactionary so it is important to diversify clients to cover off different changes to the tax code.”
- Paul: “Stay on top of what is new in investing options. You may find that your clients are aware of more options than ever before, maybe not in depth, and so they look to you for guidance and assurance that you know your business and can advise them on what could work for them. After all, it is their money you are responsible for and that is a pretty important subject for people.”
- John: “Keep improving your professional skills. Focus on relationships and sales will follow. It is the opposite of sales. Clients want a plan, not a product.”
- Crys: “All planners should make sure that they have, at least, secured their name/practice name as a Facebook page, Twitter handle, and Instagram handle. Even if they are not using them. This makes sure they have the options.”
Location Location Location
This year’s Symposium is very close to the banks of the Ottawa River in Gatineau. Our speakers share some of their must-sees in Ottawa-Gatineau:
- Fraser: “The National War Museum. It is important for us to learn about the great sacrifices those who came before us made to secure the peace and freedom Canadians are blessed to have.”
- Paul: “You are staying at one of the two casinos in the region and millions of people make their way to that location each year. That is a fun option (as long as you can afford to lose ) and on a more serious side, Parliament Hill is what most people know about Ottawa and it too draws millions of visitors to the very impressive structures”.
- John: “Visit Jacques Cartier Parc in Gatineau.”
- Crys: “I have a nerdy spot for politics and always love seeing the parliament buildings, no matter how many times I have been there before.”
If you enjoyed this sneak peek into our Symposium, make sure you register. Even if you are not a member of the IAFP, you are welcome to attend. It is the highlight of our year, every year. We hope to see you there!