IMPACT 2019: Technology Wraps up Another Top-Notch Conference

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IMPACT 2019: Technology Wraps up Another Top-Notch Conference

Aaron Levitt Nov 08, 2019

With that, another Schwab IMPACT conference is over. While the final day is typically a short one – ending just after a luncheon event – there’s still plenty of information to be had for financial advisors and attendees. Often, especially in recent years, the final day focuses on technology and new products for the advising community. This year was no different with several major announcements, product launches and workshops catering to the fintech community.
And while there was a hefty focus on fintech and new products, there was still plenty of traditional financial planning topics to be had. This included some deep dives in the political world from Schwab’s Head of Legislative and Regulatory affairs Michael Townsend, as well as a discussion on the modern portfolio theory and its merits from Charles Schwab Investment Advisory’s Jim Peterson. We also heard once again from Schwab’s Bernie Clark on the potential for a recession and how advisors are anticipating the downturn in spite of record market highs.

Finally, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) received the spotlight on the final day of IMPACT with both State Street and American Century offering talks on the product type. This included dispelling various myths about ETFs and how zero-commissions can change the game for advisors using ETFs in their practice.
In the end, IMPACT proved to be another dynamite opportunity for the advising and planning community to get some valuable knowledge, hob-nob with other professionals, and learn about building a better practice.
Check out our Schwab IMPACT 2019 Channel to catch the highlights from the event.

Robo’s, Workflows and Fintech! Oh My!

One of the biggest themes in the financial planning industry, as a whole, has been the adoption and expansion of new technologies for the industry. This year, IMPACT featured plenty of those products firsthand and the final day of the conference was packed with them.

Up first was news and a showcase by Goldman Sachs. Goldman’s FinLife CX – its RIA platform – announced it was launching a new robo-advisor service targeted at the smaller investor market. It’s a huge departure from Goldman’s typical high-net-worth clients and shows that its focusing on the mass affluent. Rachel Schnoll, head of Goldman’s RIA platform, mentioned that “Advisors struggle with small clients and what to do with them.” But a digital service could bring plenty of new business into Goldman’s platform and make automating these smaller clients easy.
And speaking of those efficiencies, Envestnet showcased a variety of new products designed to automate various RIA workflows including account openings/management, total financial picture access and client communication portals.
However, Christopher Robbins of Glassman Wealth Services was quick to point out that while technology is producing all sorts of opportunities for advisors, it’s important to make sure to balance human involvement and technology. The ultimate idea for an advisor is to deliver real customer value and not make it a cold experience.
Be sure to check our Q&A with CAIS here.

Don’t Overreact to Politics

Finally, the last day of IMPACT’s planning sessions featured Washington, D.C. Schwab’s Michael Townsend, who gave his impressions on investing with the current political environment. His message was “Now we have the impeachment inquiry, and this is where I think investors, when they’re anxious, tend to overreact to the news.” Townsend also provided data that the markets tend not to overreact to most turbulent political and social environments.

Elsewhere, asset allocation was on the menu in talks – one by TrimTabs, the other by Schwab. With the markets clearly showing signs of slowing and investors getting uneasy, TrimTabs made the case for “value” overtaking “growth” as the upcoming theme. Meanwhile, Schwab suggested that despite recent missteps for international stocks, the modern portfolio theory and diversification still has plenty of merits.

“See Ya” From San Diego

With a boxed lunch and a few closing statements, Schwab IMPACT 2019 ended the week on a high note. All in all, the conference was a great experience and provided a wealth of knowledge. It’ll take some time to digest it all, but for advisors and attendees, it was agreed to have been well worth the trip.

Once again, IMPACT proved why it’s the Super Bowl of the RIA world.

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