FSI’s Dale Brown on Upcoming OneVoice Event

The Hybrid Virtual and In-Person Event Brings Together Industry Leaders to Address Top Opportunities and Challenges for Firms and Financial Advisors

James Miller, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst

The Financial Services Institute (FSI) has long been a fixture of the independent wealth management space, serving as the leading industry association and advocacy group for both firms and their affiliated financial advisors the better part of two decades now.

FSI OneVoice has taken place like clockwork each year at the end of January or early February, historically attracting a wide turnout of industry participants from wealth management firms and third-party solutions and services providers to the industry.

However, due to the pandemic, FSI moved the annual OneVoice event to July this year, providing its members with the opportunity to attend either in person or virtually. 

Approximately 300 attendees are planning to join the in-person event at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, FL, from July 26 through July 28, encompassing independent firm executives, product sponsors and other industry partners.

Wealth Solutions Report connected with Dale Brown, CEO of FSI, to get more information about this year’s OneVoice event – What to expect, how to best engage virtually and what FSI sees as the wealth management industry’s most pressing opportunities and challenges.

Join FSI OneVoice for a unique hybrid experience

WSR:  Hybrid events that combine virtual and in-person elements seem to be a sign of the times. For the upcoming FSI OneVoice event, what elements will be conducted in person, and what parts of the event will be virtual?

This is our first hybrid event, and we have focused on making OneVoice just as compelling and rewarding for virtual attendees as for those attending in person.

Virtual attendees will have access to live streams of all the sessions, including all the breakouts and general sessions. They will also be able to connect with other attendees through our virtual event platform, and they will have the ability to connect with exhibitors and “visit” virtual exhibit booths.

So, whether you’re at the event in person or virtually, you’ll have access to all of the engaging sessions and networking opportunities you expect from OneVoice. And all attendees will have access to session recordings for 30 days through the virtual platform.

WSR:  Are there ways for virtual attendees to interact with other virtual participants, or in-person attendees, or both?

We know attendees value the networking opportunities at OneVoice just as highly as the thought leadership and industry insight they gain from the various sessions. With that in mind, we’ve worked to ensure that the networking at this year’s OneVoice will be just as informative, robust and high-impact as past events.

Using our virtual event platform, each attendee will be able to set up their own profile and connect with both virtual and in-person attendees via a wide array of options on any device, including chat, messaging and video meetings.

WSR:  What are the three most important take-aways that you’d like OneVoice attendees to absorb with this year’s event?

OneVoice attendees will learn how to promote diversity within the industry

Our theme this year is ‘Forward Together,’ reflecting the fact that all of us are coming out of the monumental, shared challenge of the pandemic, and our industry is laser-focused on working together to explore new opportunities and bring them to fruition.

In practical terms, I think the key takeaways will revolve around three major trends.

The first one is the evolution of technology and the economy, and the opportunities for growth and innovation it presents. This covers areas like client collaboration, wealth management platforms and back-office operations – but it also extends to opportunities to re-examine our industry’s overall regulatory framework.

The second is diversity, equity & inclusion. I will be sitting down with Lazetta Rainey Braxton to discuss how we can continue to do the work to promote diversity within our industry and foster inclusive environments in our workplaces and communities.

The final big area we’ll be examining is the lessons learned from the pandemic and the rapid shift to remote work. What did our members learn about themselves, their businesses, their technology platforms and their client relationships that they can draw on to become even more effective in growing their businesses going forward?

WSR:  What are the top two opportunities and challenges facing the independent wealth management space in general – And how is FSI helping its members to address the challenges while capturing the opportunities ahead?

There’s no question that defending advisors’ independent contractor status is the most urgent challenge we’re facing across the regulatory and legislative landscape today.

The PRO Act, which would impose a stringent worker classification test that would almost certainly re-categorize many independent advisors as broker-dealer employees under the National Labor Relations Act, is still under consideration in the U.S. Senate.

At the same time, the Biden administration’s Department of Labor abruptly repealed a final rule that would have protected advisors’ independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

We’re fighting for a carve-out for advisors from the PRO Act, and we have joined in a legal challenge alongside a coalition of concerned industry groups arguing that the DOL violated the Administrative Procedure Act in repealing its own final rule.

We are working hard to turn back these threats to advisors’ businesses – but we want our members to be aware of these challenges and ready to stand with us as these battles continue.

In addition to the challenges of this past year, there have been many opportunities. Notably, it sped up the “digital shift” and modernization within our industry and the regulatory landscape.

And we continue to seize opportunities to reduce the unique burdens advisors face when choosing to go independent.  

For example, we are aware that many independent advisors struggle to find affordable health insurance for themselves, their families and staff.

Dale Brown, CEO, FSI

Our new CoveredAdvisor individual healthcare plan provide FSI members access to ACA-compliant health insurance plans at rates up to 50% less than what advisors would find on the open market or exchanges.

WSR:  Will you be taking any time off for yourself and your family while you’re in Orlando? If so, what are your plans

In August, my wife and I are doing something we’ve never done before! We’re heading out west with a camping trailer behind the truck to see some national parks and other places we’ve yet to visit.

James Miller, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst, can be reached via email at ContributingEd@wealthsolutionsreport.com