Technology, Regulatory Affairs, and Investment Strategies Take Centerstage at IMPACT 2019

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Schwab IMPACT 2019 Conference


Technology, Regulatory Affairs, and Investment Strategies Take Centerstage at IMPACT 2019

Aaron Levitt Nov 07, 2019

For many financial advisors and attendees, day three of Schwab IMPACT is where it’s at. It’s the real meat and potatoes of the conference. We’re taking investment strategies, new technologies and tips for growing advisory practices. And once again, this year’s conference lived up to its previous hype.

The conference has begun to build on this theme with key planning sessions, including a look at China and its significance in portfolios from Matthews Asia. Here, the Asian-focused investment manager touched heavily on the trade war and gave plenty of optimism that the trade deal could happen before the end of the month. Also providing plenty of optimism was Invesco Chief Global Market Strategist Kristina Hooper through her session on the major macroeconomic themes of 2020, while FS Investments dove headfirst into using illiquid assets and alternatives for building portfolios. Megan Gorman, the managing partner at Chequers Financial Management, also provided an interesting insight into longevity planning and the continued lengthening of retirements.
Advisors also received a hefty dose of practice management and overall business issues relating to the planning world. This included a deep dive into the trends of family offices as well as a look at private equity and M&A trends in the RIA space by Hightower Advisors’ CEO Bob Oros. Given the growth potential of the industry, even smaller and niche RIAs and advisor practices could see rising interest from larger fish.
Yesterday’s topics covered a wide array of themes ranging from the political climate in Washington, D.C. and navigating the difficult fixed income space to the growing use of artificial intelligence and client transition management.
Once again, IMPACT’s third day proved to be a blockbuster one for attendees and provided plenty of insight.
Check out our Schwab IMPACT 2019 Channel to catch the latest updates from the event.

Do You Have Enough Exposure to China for Your Clients?

Thanks to the ongoing trade war, China has become a hot topic around IMPACT this year. But nowhere was the focus on China more so than from when representatives from fund manager Matthews Asia took the stage. Here, the group presented the case for the emerging market nation with Investment Strategist Andy Rothman noting that China accounts for about one-third of global economic growth. Rothman urged advisors to develop a framework for talking about the nation with clients. This was echoed by fellow strategist David Dali – who suggested that China accounts for at least one-third of a growth portfolio’s assets.

The duo also mentioned the continued consumer story and the successful shift of China from being a manufacturing-based economy to a consumption-based one. Savings rates in the nation are closer to 27%. This is the real story and not the continued tariffs. However, on that front, Rothman believes that a deal has a 90% chance of getting it done this month.
Be sure to check the highlights from day two of the event here.

Monetary Policy, Geopolitics and Innovation

One of the most attended events was Invesco’s Chief Global Market Strategist Kristina Hooper’s talk about the biggest themes of 2020. Hooper looked at a few areas including the disruption and uncertainty of the markets, geopolitical situation, and innovation. Here she recommended focusing on low-volatility and actively managed strategies to get through these hiccups.

Hopper also looked at how the world’s markets are growing at various rates and the differences continue to be striking. These differences would continue to be more pronounced moving into 2020. Investors should capitalize on them by focusing on the positive.
Finally, Hooper’s third theme was the likelihood that continued low rates set by the central banks globally would persist. The hunt for adequate income will continue to be a real challenge for many clients.

Washington & Your Money

A hefty dose of politics and how it relates to the current and future investing environment was on tap for IMPACT’s third day as well. This included a planning session by Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at Charles Schwab Michael Townsend, as well as a keynote session by Washington insider Greg Valliere. The policy expert at AGF Management mentioned several key predictions about the upcoming year in politics, including the possibility of President Trump getting impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, lower GDP growth and the possibility that Elizabeth Warren could become more moderate if she is actually elected. Valliere also did not predict a market drop if any of the real Democratic frontrunners are elected.

Other Key Planning Sessions

Aside from politics, day three of IMPACT provided plenty of practice management sessions. This included a look at the “ABQs of financial services,” which would be artificial intelligence, blockchain and quantum computing according to Future Today Institute founder, Amy Webb. Webb highlighted how many of the misconceptions of AI are shaping our perceptions of it, and that while tech will be a big part of planning going forward, we’ll still need an agile, human touch for quite a while. Moreover, advisors should embrace tech rather than run from it.

Also, on the planning front was a long-awaited tweak by Merrill Lynch to its Client Transition Program (CTP). While not officially launched at IMPACT, it became a hot topic among advisors including a taped discussion by Mindy Diamond, president and CEO of Diamond Consultants, with Vince Fertitta, president of Sanctuary Wealth. The overall worry about such programs at IMPACT was the continued set of “handcuffs” being placed on clients and advisors.
In case you are wondering which service provider is at the IMPACT 2019 conference, check out our list here.

Another Great Day at IMPACT

For attendees, IMPACT’s third day continued to be a smashing success and wealth of information. All in all, the day’s planning sessions continued to focus on building portfolios, investment strategies and using technology to your advantage.

With the fourth and final day ahead, the breadth of knowledge has already surpassed previous conferences.

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