I'm currently sitting in the Phoenix airport waiting for my flight (a redeye on a Friday night!) to depart. I've been here since Wednesday evening for the fi360 Conference. Overall I thought the conference was really well done in terms of the speakers and content. There were about 400 attendees which was only down about 10% from last year which is saying something considering the poor economy, threat of swine flu, etc. One of the things that I think made the conference valuable was the fact that fi360 did not accept any vendor sponsorships so there were no product related sessions, provider networking events, "commercials", etc. Instead, the conference was really done by and for the practitioner community. I think this was a great decision by fi360.
I had the privilege of speaking at this conference on the topic of fee disclosure. Despite doing the final session of the conference, I was definitely pleased with the turnout and with the feedback I received. It was very encouraging to spend time with a community of people who are committed to fiduciary principles and fiduciary practices. It gives me hope that real change is coming with regard to how retirement plans (and individual investors) are advised. The financial services industry will only begin to be viewed as a true profession (and not just a big sales machine) when its people start behaving like professionals. I believe a meaningful fiduciary standard is the cornerstone to such transformation and most of the people I met this week seemed to both agree and embody this approach.
I also had a chance to meet a number of advisors from around the country who have bought (and benefited) from my book. It's gratifying to know that the "Fixing the 401(k)" approach is being embraced by other advisors and their clients.