FSI OneVoice Roundtable Preview With Commonwealth, Prospera And Atria

Chris Latham, Deputy Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

John Rooney Of Commonwealth Financial Network, Tarah Williams Of Prospera Financial And Bill Morrissey Of Atria Wealth Solutions Reveal Why They’re Attending FSI OneVoice And What Their Firms Aim To Get Out Of The Conference

The Financial Services Institute will host its annual OneVoice conference in Palm Desert, California, from Monday through Wednesday, and Wealth Solutions Report will be there!

Not only will this journalist cover the event live, WSR CEO Larry Roth will speak on a panel Tuesday morning about “The Golden Age of M&A and What It Mean for Boutique Firms.”  We look forward to seeing you at OneVoice, and I personally invite you to seek me out and tell me more about what’s new at your firms.

This week, just a few days before OneVoice, FSI announced the results of a study conducted with Oxford Economics on the Department of Labor’s proposal to reclassify independent contractors as employees. The study found that up to 20% of advisors would retire rather than be reclassified as employees, 77% of advisors expect commissions and management fees to increase, and 78% of advisors expect account minimums to increase and restrict their ability to serve smaller accounts as a result of a reclassification.


The advocacy group argues that reclassifying independent contractors as employees would force advisors to incur higher costs for legal expenses and recordkeeping as well as for starting and scaling up RIAs. It even could hinder advisors’ ability to do pro bono work in their communities, according to FSI.

In preparation for the conference, WSR conducted an FSI OneVoice Roundtable Preview with three industry leaders about why they are attending and what their firms aim to get out of it. Here are insights from John Rooney, Managing Principal at Commonwealth Financial Network; Tarah Williams, President and COO at Prospera Financial; and Bill Morrissey, Head of the Independent Channel at Atria Wealth Solutions.


John Rooney, Managing Principal, Commonwealth Financial Network

John Rooney, Managing Principal at Commonwealth Financial Network

WSR: How is your firm participating in FSI OneVoice this year, and how is participating in FSI OneVoice of benefit to your firm?Rooney: Speaking as someone who has served on the FSI Board of Directors for the past eight years, I’ve seen firsthand the critical role FSI plays in the independent broker-dealer industry, and how invaluable the interaction is between the FSI staff and OneVoice attendees in informing FSI’s agenda each year.

Commonwealth will have a significant presence at FSI OneVoice. Five of our ten attendees will be participating as panel members in breakout sessions, and all will be actively engaged in the focused discussion groups on Tuesday afternoon. With the marketplace and regulatory environments continuing to evolve quickly, OneVoice is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with industry peers, share best practices, and inspire creative thinking when confronting today’s challenges.

WSR: What are some of the major industry topics that you and your colleagues look forward to discussing or learning about during FSI OneVoice? Why are these topics of interest or impact to your firm?

Rooney: From a regulatory standpoint, Reg BI is top of mind as there is still a great deal of debate surrounding it. While the letter of the law may be known, it remains to be seen how it’s going to be enforced. My colleagues and I are looking forward to participating in discussions around the SEC’s new marketing rule and what is needed to ensure compliance for our advisors.  

From an industry standpoint, the trend towards fee-only holistic planning has significant implications for both advisors and firms, and the proliferation of “complex” products necessitates a reexamination of due diligence and client suitability supervision procedures. Finally, it will always be important to remain abreast of the latest technological innovations. 

WSR: Which financial services industry conferences did you attend in person over the past year? Besides FSI OneVoice, which industry conferences are you personally most interested in attending this year and why?

Rooney: This question highlights a more recent trend of individuals attending fewer industry conferences annually, but the attendance for OneVoice has remained consistently strong. This event is uniquely focused on a specific cross-section of the industry which appeals to the people who have few, if any, options to otherwise gain the insights gleaned at this event. 

Right now, OneVoice is the only non-Commonwealth conference on my calendar.

Tarah Williams, President and COO, Prospera Financial 

WSR: How is your firm participating in FSI OneVoice this year, and how is participating in FSI OneVoice of benefit to your firm?

Tarah Williams, President and COO at Prospera Financial

Williams: Attending FSI OneVoice provides our senior leaders with incredible opportunities to meet with other industry executives, share best practices, and put our finger on the pulse of our evolving industry. We are excited to support this critical industry event and organization.

While the OneVoice formal events represent the best workshops, presentations and keynotes in the industry, we find significant value in the informal meetings and hallway conversations. 

The relationships we build at senior leadership events, like FSI OneVoice, fit perfectly into our approach to wealth management. To best serve our advisors and enable them to deliver best-in-class service to their clients, we must continue to build meaningful relationships with our peers and solutions providers around the industry. 

WSR: What are some of the major industry topics that you and your colleagues look forward to discussing or learning about during FSI OneVoice? Why are these topics of interest or impact to your firm?

Williams: We face an incredibly dynamic industry environment and a regulatory landscape with the potential to reshape the way we all do business in the future. The changes to the DOL rules, significant shifts in SEC and FINRA regulations and the evolving client demands on advisors’ time, resources and solutions will likely dominate the conversation throughout the event. 

Additionally, the Great Wealth Transfer and the aging demographics of our industry, which I see as two sides of the same industry issue in need of a holistic solution, will be top of mind for me. 

WSR: Which financial services industry conferences did you attend in person over the past year? Besides FSI OneVoice, which industry conferences are you personally most interested in attending this year and why?

Williams: I attended the Principal’s Forum in May 2022 hosted by First Clearing, where we spent time with executives from other independent broker dealers. Many of Prospera’s senior leadership team are planning to attend various industry conferences this year as well.

Bill Morrissey, Head of the Independent Channel at Atria Wealth Solutions

WSR: How is your firm participating in FSI OneVoice this year, and how is participating in FSI OneVoice of benefit to your firm?

Morrissey:
I’m very excited to be attending the conference this year in my relatively new role as Head of the Independent Advisor Channel at Atria Wealth Solutions. Given our firm’s accelerated growth, there are a number of key industry opportunities and issues that we’re looking forward to engaging further on during OneVoice.

Bill Morrissey, Head of the Independent Channel at Atria Wealth Solutions

For example, Atria executives will speak on two panels at FSI OneVoice for the week of Jan 23. On Tuesday afternoon of that week, Doug Ketterer, our CEO and Founding Partner, will speak on a panel about how organizations can recharge the energy of their workforces and adapt to new relationships with employees, partners and clients. And on the morning of that same day, Sean Meighan, Managing Director, Head of Advisory Services, will speak on a panel about finding alternative revenue streams to diversify business amid fee compression.

I can say from firsthand experience that participating in FSI OneVoice is a very good way for organizations to learn about some of the most important issues in the independent wealth management industry. This is where firms can learn about the best ways to address regulatory requirements, how to get ahead of legislative developments, and how to more effectively support our financial advisors and their clients.

WSR: What are some of the major industry topics that you and your colleagues look forward to discussing or learning about during FSI OneVoice? Why are these topics of interest or impact to your firm?

Morrissey: In addition to the panels featuring Doug and Sean, I’m looking forward to sharing thoughts with industry peers about the M&A and financial advisor recruiting environment, consistent with our firm’s focus on continued robust growth, both organic and deal driven.

Successful acquirers must understand the top priorities of sellers in a market characterized by stock market volatility and rising interest rates. At the same time, recruiting successful and experienced financial advisors also calls for a thorough understanding of the key drivers of growth and success in our industry today.

Beyond immediate growth-focused functions, I’d also say this event presents a great opportunity for attendees to further their knowledge of the SEC Marketing Rule, which went into effect in November and covers everything from testimonials and endorsements to presenting performance in a digital world.

WSR: Which financial services industry conferences did you attend in person over the past year? Besides FSI OneVoice, which industry conferences are you personally most interested in attending this year and why?

Morrissey: We’re fortunate to operate in an industry where so many leaders of firms and third-party solutions providers are generally open to sharing best practices and strategies for success with one another. This broader industry culture underscores how, at the end of the day, we’re all united in the common cause of serving financial advisors so they can deliver much-needed guidance and expertise to individuals and families across the country.

FSI OneVoice should be at the top of the list in terms of industry events where there are top tier information gathering and networking opportunities. Other major events include, but aren’t by any means limited to, the Tiburon national conference, MarketCounsel, T3 for issues at the intersection of tech and wealth, and of course, our own firm’s events for our financial advisors across the country.

Chris Latham, Deputy Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at clatham@wealthsolutionsreport.com

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