And that's what over 5,500 advisors, fundsters and other financial service professionals are doing at the LPL Focus 2014
conference held here at the San Diego Convention Center from August 10th through August 13th.
LPL doesn't mess around. Sunday evening, there was a reception of epic proportions, with performers on stilts, conga lines, and temporary tattoos, chalk drawings, paintings, photo opportunities with a VW bus, video games, and for attendees, a dangerous number of sombreros. Food of all kinds including tamales, tacos, little bisques, gazpacho, brownies, cannoli, and ice cream.
The event itself is organized as a miniature version of San Diego with six neighborhoods including: Balboa Park; Coronado; La Jolla; Little Italy; Ocean Beach, and Old Town. Instead of booths, exhibitors operated store fronts complete with little awnings and faux brick and mortar decor.
Throughout San Diego's Gas Lamp district, signs can be found everywhere for the event leading to all of the satellite hotels for attendees.
Monday started with a bang, with a three hour general session that began with a full U.S. military color guard and chats with veteran Calvin Elam, a retired Brigadier General with the Air National Guard and currently chief executive officer of Elam Financial Group.
A number of senior LPL leaders took the stage, including chief executive Mark Casady, who noted LPL's ongoing investments in technology, operations, hiring and compliance. LPL President Robert Moore announced that there would be no changes in pricing in 2015, except for the elimination of its few fees, such as the elimination of the prospectus delivery fee and annual maintenance fee for all alternative investment positions.
Chief investment officer Victor Fetter announced a slew of planned technology upgrades, including email infrastructure and enhancements, enhancements in OMP and trade blotters, systems for addressing FINRA Supervision Rules.
The crown jewel of these technological announcements, which Fetter made in front of a mock desk with the top technology of the early 1990s (i.e. paper, phone, rolodex and fax), was the ClientWorks
system, which integrate and expand all of LPL's tech offerings to advisors into one system that will allow advisors to access all data anytime and anywhere with the ability to develop customized analytics, among other things. The high-tech offering is slated for broad release in Spring 2015.
The early morning general session capped off with a keynote speech by academic Jim Collins
, titled Great By Choice
. The rousing presentation included his 12 Questions
all business leaders should ask if they want to achieve lasting greatness in their organizations.
The speech including detailed analyses from the Scott/Amundsen race to the South Pole at the turn of the 20th Century, and lessons on why one competitor won the race, and the other died. Other insights included lessons from Hanoi Hilton vice admiral James Stockdale, including the Stockdale paradox, and what Peter Drucker had to say on the importance of being useful.
Among the insights that Collins had to offer attendees: humility is key, as is fanatic discipline; empirical creativity and productive paranoia.
Also, Apple founder Steve Jobs had a number of useful things about the benefits of thinking like a hedge hog.
The LPL Focus 2014 Conference continues through Wednesday.
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