Future Proof Brings An Authentic Rap Concert And Deep Industry Insights

Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

Method Man And Redman’s Killer Show, Joe Duran’s RIA Minority Investments Venture, Q Wealth Partners’ Lounge For Canadian Financial Professionals, And My Practice Management Panel With Vanguard And State Street

The Future Proof Festival held from Sept. 10 to Sept. 13 in Huntington Beach, California, was a truly different type of wealth management conference.

The second annual gathering is the only such industry event I’ve attended that featured Method Man, Redman, Bill Gross and Jeffrey Gundlach. And, by my count, the rappers brought in a bigger crowd than the financial giants.

It also kept a half dozen food trucks serving a variety of quality eats for free nearly nonstop every day, for the thousands of financial advisors and firm CEOs walking around in colorful vacation attire outside alongside the beach under the blazing sun.

Of course, Future Proof also featured a considerable amount of industry specific insights and news reveals. For WSR’s coverage of the first few days, click here and here.

Practice Management Panel

Fran Kinniry, Head of the Vanguard Investment Advisory Research Center

On Tuesday, I personally moderated a panel session with Fran Kinniry, Head of the Vanguard Investment Advisory Research Center, and Brie Williams, Head of Practice Management for SPDR Exchange Traded Funds. We covered “5 Practice Management Moves to Future Proof Your Firm” – the client, financial planning, portfolio management, talent development and technology.

Brie Williams, Head of Practice Management, SPDR Exchange Traded Funds

Kinniry explained that advisors can become more efficient at financial planning while still making financial planning as personal as possible for each client. This involves focusing on relationship management by streamlining some tasks, understanding what Vanguard calls the efficient frontier for advice services, spending the most time on advanced skills that cannot be automated and recognizing factors clients prioritize when evaluating advisor performance.

Williams explored how the client demographics of the average wealth management firm have shifted over time – with the rise of Gen Xers and millennials as well as increasing recognition that advisors need to focus more on women clients – and what that means for how advisors should address client segmentation and behavioral patterns. She also addressed the impact of mobile devices and social media on how clients respond to information.

Joe Duran’s Return

Joe Duran, Rise Growth Partners

In addition, Joe Duran appeared at Future Proof and announced his return to the wealth management industry. The founder and former CEO of United Capital Financial Advisers, which he eventually sold to Goldman Sachs and which Goldman recently sold to Creative Planning, is launching a new venture.  

Rise Growth Partners is scheduled to launch in early 2024 with the aim of providing minority capital of approximately 30% to RIAs with assets under management (AUM) in the $750 million to $5 billion range. Duran is seeking to raise $200 million from a sponsor firm for the new venture. The Rise Growth Partners website describes itself as a “synergistic financial partner – a partner with genuine experience and knowledge building national enterprise RIAs.”

Canadian Lounge

Stephen Gasparek, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Partner, Q Wealth Partners

Each night of the conference, Q Wealth Partners, a curated partnership of Canadian wealth managers, hosted a Canadian Lounge event in the Huntington Beach Hyatt hotel. With beachside vibes and an open bar, it welcomed more than 100 Canada-based financial professionals who attended the conference.

According to several of those attendees, the U.S. independent wealth management space is widely regarded as several years ahead of Canada, which made Future Proof a worthwhile event for fact finding purposes.

“Future Proof is the festival of the most progressive advisors in the world, and Q Wealth wants to associate itself with the most forward looking advisors who realize the human element comes first,” Stephen Gasparek, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Partner at Q Wealth Partners, told WSR.

Breakthru Meetings

Matt Middleton, CEO and Co-Founder, Advisor Circle

Perhaps the most relevant differentiator for Future Proof was the enormous Breakthru Meetings Zone, where hundreds of tightly scheduled 15-minute conversations occurred simultaneously multiple times a day. Advisors, wealth management and wealthtech executives, investment management strategists, industry consultants and journalists all made many new connections on the spot under tents that, due to the chatter, often were louder than the rap concert.

It will be interesting to see how Matt Middleton, CEO and Co-Founder of Advisor Circle, strives to build on and refine this Breakthru Meetings concept at the third annual Future Proof Festival. I’m also curious who he will get next year to headline the music concert … Ludacris?

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

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