Two-Minute Take: Orion Ascent

Sunny San Diego in the middle of March was the perfect destination for more than 1,500 advisors and wealth management leaders to share their perspectives on innovation and disruption in the industry. The group spent three days discussing key technology topics that the industry faces right now.

At F2 Strategy, we’re often asked for opinions of the events we’ve attended because we provide an honest assessment. Several things caught my attention are Orion Ascent that I think are worth considering as we move forward this year.

Advisors are in an Optimistic Mood

The optimism for 2024 to be a good year for the industry was palpable. In a survey of the conference attendees, 94% said they were optimistic about the market and their practice. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt a crowd quite so bullish on the market and it’s a good thing. Optimistic advisors correlate to better outcomes for their clients.

The Great Wealth Transfer is More than Money Movement

The wealth transfer event between baby boomers and the next generations has been discussed and written about to death. But what came to light more clearly during my panel presentation and others I attended was the element of advisor and key personnel retirements occurring simultaneously. This transfer does not just affect end clients. What happens when the COO or HR Director you’ve had for 20 years leaves with their institutional knowledge and industry experience? Succession planning has to be part of the strategic planning for firms. We encounter this regularly in our work with clients and believe outsourcing can be a powerful solution.

Firms Give Themselves Dismal Technology Ratings

Orion’s survey also revealed that only a mere 45% believe their technology is a value add. This was both surprising and alarming. What’s even worse, is this result is coming from a technology oriented crowd. I suspect the percentage would be even lower in the real world. The problem is we’re approaching a place where we have the “haves” and the “have nots” for technology. In our work, we’re seeing firms crack the code with technology to enable compelling advisor and client experiences that allow them to grow. Firms risking falling into the ‘have not’ category face substantial lost opportunities.

Two minutes wasn’t enough? Get in touch with Dan Johnson for more about this conference.

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