The 8 Best Conferences For Financial Advisors In 2014
Posted by Michael Kitces on Monday, September 16th, 7:08 am, 2013 in Practice Management
As someone who will speak at more than 60 conferences this year, I’ve participated in nearly every major conference available for financial planners. Given that there are so many conferences, though, it can be incredibly difficult for most advisors to select the right conference for themselves each year, and I am often asked for recommendations about what I think the “best conferences” are to attend.
Accordingly, I’ve started to craft my own annual list of what I would view as the best-in-class conferences for financial planners (in the US, at least!). Of course the reality is that what constitutes “the best” depends on the kind of content you’re looking for, so I break down this year’s list into several key categories: Best Technical Content, Best for Advisor Technology, Best Investment Management, Best for Advanced Practitioners, Best Overall Value, Best Virtual Conference, Best Practice Management, and Best Overall Financial Planning Conference.
Of course, the reality is that the conference season isn’t even over yet for 2013; nonetheless, as we head into the fall, it’s time to start planning for next year. So I hope you find this list (and some of the details it includes for getting discounts!) useful for you to use as your own guide in setting your conference budget and selecting events to attend for yourself and/or your staff for 2014!
(Events are listed in chronological order to facilitate planning and registration/early bird deadlines.)
Best Technical Content: AICPA Personal Financial Planning Conference
AICPA PFP LogoThe AICPA Personal Financial Planning (PFP) conference has solidly earned its place as the premiere advanced technical content event for financial planners.
While focused primarily for CPA financial planners – the “other world of financial planners” – the event is open to any financial planner who wants quality advanced content, and non-CPAs are welcome. Similarly, the content is not just CPA- and tax-centric; while there is a wealth management track that is very income and estate tax oriented, there are also tracks for investment management (developed in partnership with CFA Institute and IMCA), retirement planning, and for practice management & technology.
Because of the high level of schooling necessary to get a CPA license before becoming a financial planner, the audience at the AICPA PFP conference are people who are serious about their craft and education, and the speakers know, leading to a level of consistently advanced content across the tracks. In fact, the consistency of quality from the AICPA PFP conference has allowed it to be one of the few events that’s grown over the past 5 years since 2008, and the conference has nearly doubled its attendance in that time from just over 500 to more than 1,000 participants (bringing it to the #2 spot for the largest “pure” financial planning conference behind the FPA’s national event).
If you’re looking for continuing education that really teaches you something new in the technical realm, this is the conference to attend. For firms where the principals are focused more on business development than the latest in technical financial planning, they may wish to look elsewhere, but this is still a great educational conference for their financial planner staff members.