This year our annual conference in Hong Kong offered us the opportunity to hear what 257 delegates think about industry change and other questions. And certainly what I heard was consistent with the wider trends in the industry.
Every Synchron conference is a real eye opener.
I say this because although we have ongoing and regular communications with our network all year round, our biannual conference is the opportunity to get everyone together en masse and see where our advisers are at.
How are they feeling? Are they optimistic? What issues are dominating conversations? What are the threats/opportunities? How are some businesses tackling key issues? Who is screaming the loudest?
This year our annual conference in Hong Kong offered us the opportunity to hear what 257 delegates think about these and other questions. And certainly what I heard was consistent with the wider trends in the industry – an industry aware of the challenges it has before it and yet an enduring confidence that we can meet these challenges head on.
To focus the thinking of delegates, our conference program took a global perspective on day one, a national perspective on day two and a micro, practice perspective on day three.
At the global level, we wanted to encourage practitioners to step beyond their day-to-day, to challenge their view of the world and to understand what it means for them and their businesses to operate in a more interconnected world and global economy.
At a national level, the federal budget changes were what had everyone talking, about super in particular. Refreshingly, conversations were about how advisers could help their clients rather than being bogged down in 'more change'.
On the topic of change, one of our keynote speakers was Amanda Gore, an international communications and performance expert who encourages business people to step away from over-analysis and get in touch with their feelings. She says feelings are the real drivers in most of our decisions and choices – a fair statement – but one we can become detached from, particularly in an industry like ours where compliance and regulation is a day-to-day obligation.
Her address really resonated with our advisers. It gave them confidence in their ‘gut feel’, and the understanding that a client-focused industry must keep ‘feelings’ at its heart in the work that they do with clients in their practices.
At an industry level, I sometimes hear quite divisive conversations, which seem aimed at highlighting points of weakness in the financial advice service offering, rather than focusing on ways to improve it. I don’t see this in our network and I don’t think it’s a prevailing sentiment in our larger adviser communities. The advisers I see, hear and speak to are rising to meet the challenges of an ever-evolving profession on every front and their prevailing sentiment is one of optimism and enthusiasm.
At the conference, and I believe in the advice community at large, advisers are presenting just as the industry wants them to present – as impressive business people committed to providing a great service, who know their industry and service is ever-evolving and who are absolutely committed to dealing with it.
Don Trapnell is the director of Synchron.
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