RIP financial conference – big picture

Traditional finance conferences have been murdered this week.

A stake was driven through his heart by inventors tired of the old ways.

It was, in fairness, a mercy killing.

Living in the past, running on inertia, no one bothered to tell the patient it was time to say goodbye before we pulled the plug. The industry had forgotten why it existed: to serve an audience that wanted to get out of the office, hang out with its peers, and learn how to get better at what it does.

It didn’t take long to pull it off almost dead: It was a bad thing to have the same people talking the same thing for decades in the same hotel ballrooms and conference centers.

Coming out of pandemic lockdown and looking to build on the “Wealth|Stack” concept they pioneered in 2019, the partnership between RWM and Advisory Circle has thrown down the gauntlet to anyone thinking of hosting a conference:

Stop bothering us. Stop throwing us into giant windowless spaces. Stop poring over tedious panels predicting our future. And no more Caesar salad with rubber chicken…

Instead, feed our brains. Please challenge us. Let’s play outside. Fill the space with youth, women, people of color, a mix of ideas and diversity of thought and approach. Keep us informed about the latest technologies and trends. Show us the next-generation tools that make our business better

And goddamit, it’s fun.

It happened on September 11 in Huntington Beach, Californiam – 14m.

I can’t remember ever being at an event where everyone – everyone – was so happy. It was much more than just a post-pandemic Yes! We’re out of town! The event was buzzing with joy, the vibe was fun. At the beach, it was gorgeous and sunny and hot at times but it was unlike any event they had attended. The sponsors — tucked into a windowless basement where people walked through if they needed a hat or a pen — were front and center, halfway between the main stage and the food trucks, running the interactive program.

There were some doubts beforehand. People doubted the idea – it was too unconventional, too new. “It is too risky for us to participate;” (Subtext: You can never turn it off). But if you ever want to do something worthwhile, different from the status quo, better, you have to take risks. On the second day of the event, the FOMO was palpable. Many who passed – speakers, sponsors, media – were already asking about next year’s event.

Yes, it’s locked: September 10-13, 2023, Huntington Beach.

Years from now, when people try to remember how the traditional conference industry died, you can point to this week. Remind them of the decades long decline, and failure to adapt and innovate. Ignoring what the audience wanted – a few days out of their busy schedule to attend an event that is no work and fun!

The financial conference is over. Long live the money festival!


Save the date: Future Proof 2023, September 10-13

see more:

Tesla, TikTok and taquitos: World’s first wealth festival on the beach (LA Times, September 14, 2022)

How financial advisors can create a more inclusive future for the industry (Financial Planning, September 13, 2022)

Between Heat and Motorcycles, Ritholtz and Robasciotti Launch New Future-Proof ‘Festival’ (Financial Planning, September 11, 2022)

Conversation with the cast of “This Is Not Financial Advice” (ETFdb, September 12, 2022)


Twitter: Future Proof Festival #FutureProofAc

Future Proof Recap: Days 1, 2 & 3 (TBP, September 12-14, 2022)

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