2015 Fall Solutions Conference

October 21-22, 2015 | New York, NY
Grand Hyatt

Roger Paradiso, MMI Governor and Treasurer
Robbie Cannon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Horizon Investments

Up Periscope:
Thriving in a Decade of Disruption

The next ten years promise to be anything but “business as usual” for the advisory solutions industry. Virtually every indicator points to the coming decade as one marked by disruption, transition, and consolidation. Many business models – despite their current success – will have to be restructured to meet the challenges of a profoundly altered landscape. The 2015 MMI Fall Solutions Conference examines the nature of the shifts we are likely to encounter en route to 2025, the drivers of those changes, and the factors that must be taken into account in determining if and how a firm’s business model needs to be reshaped.

Gold Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors


Additional Information

Conference Recap

The sold-out 2015 MMI Fall Solutions Conference – Up Periscope: Thriving in a Decade of Disruption – brought together nearly 400 industry executives for a hard look at the transformative changes expected to play out in the advisory solutions industry over the next decade. Sessions covered many of the industry’s hottest topics, and the speakers offered practical, forward-looking takeaways for finding opportunity in transition and optimizing business strategy. Attendees also enjoyed new “Ted Talk”-style presentations from conference sponsors, a bustling exhibit hall and MMI Marketplace, updates on MMI’s key strategic initiatives, and – the highlight of any MMI event – the opportunity to connect with industry colleagues and leaders.

Craig Pfeiffer and Lorna SabbiaCraig Pfeiffer and Lorna Sabbia

Lorna Sabbia, Chairperson of the MMI Board of Governors, and Craig Pfeiffer, MMI President and CEO, kicked off the conference on Wednesday afternoon. After Lorna’s welcome to attendees, Craig outlined his principles for MMI’s success and five key areas of focus: membership experience, education and training content, data, next generation initiatives, and industry advocacy.

Next, conference co-chairs Roger Paradiso and Robbie Cannon provided a preview of the timely topics to be explored over the next two days, all directly tied to the conference theme of preparing for a period marked by change and transition.

From there, the keynote speakers set the tone: Greg Fleming, President of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, and Greg Valliere, Chief Strategist at Horizon Investments, presented commanding overviews of the major trends impacting the financial services sector and the political/economic sphere.

Gregory Fleming: Forces Driving Change in an Apple/Google World

Gregory FlemingGregory Fleming

Mr. Fleming focused on three themes: the outlook for the wealth and asset management industries, the global economy, and the changes being driven by technology and shifting demographics. Wealth and asset management remain two of the most attractive businesses from a growth standpoint. They are highly valued because they are stable, increasingly fee-based, and require low capital investment. “More and more, we are advice givers, and the value of advice is undisputed. There is much less product push, and advisors and asset managers are much more focused on the needs of the client.” Looking ahead, while there are major challenges to the U.S. and global economies, there are also substantial “positives” – particularly in the U. S. economy – that don’t get sufficient recognition, causing Mr. Fleming to look at the world through “a very optimistic lens” for the next ten to 20 years. New technology introductions will be disruptive because the pace of change – the time required for the adoption of a new technology – is dramatically shrinking, a phenomenon that will cause many companies to struggle. As wealth management evolves, he sees technology in the form of a highly efficient interface on the front end of the advisory process and personal goals-based financial advice on the back end. Turning to demographics, Mr. Fleming sees women, who within ten years will be the decision makers for two-thirds of U.S. personal wealth, and the 77 million Millennials, who in ten years will represent half the U.S. workforce, as major drivers of change in what he termed “an Apple/Google world.”

Greg Valliere: Looking at a Year of Unprecedented Scenarios

Greg ValliereGreg Valliere

In a broad-ranging presentation, Mr. Valliere touched on “the clamor” for the Fed to raise interest rates, what he sees as a very dysfunctional Congress, the surprising influence of Nancy Pelosi, an election scenario with the leaders of both parties increasingly nervous about their front runners, and something he never thought would come to pass. “After the debacle in Afghanistan, to find the most powerful player in that whole region to be the Russians.” He sees the Fed’s reluctance to raise rates as becoming “…an annoyance to the markets….They should just go ahead and do it.” The three important upcoming Congressional issues are the Highway Trust Fund, raising the debt ceiling, and the expiration of the current spending bill. Three things that won’t get done: immigration, tax reform, and addressing the budget deficit. In an extensive presidential election discussion, he outlined why he sees Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio as the most likely nominees. In closing, he explored “the two big wild cards,” predicting that China will do “whatever is necessary” to stimulate its economy and warning that America’s very real desire to disengage from the Middle East sends an ominous signal to our friends and adversaries in that region.

The Advisor Perspective: Finding Opportunity in Transition
Panel moderator Sterling Shea of Barron’s set the stage by observing that the wealth management industry is at “a fascinating inflection point” as the Baby Boomer cohort shifts from accumulation strategies to managing their wealth and its drawdown in retirement. Never, he said, has wealth management advice been needed more, something happening at a point where advisors are under tremendous pressure to perform well, broaden their value propositions, and grow their practices. The ensuing discussion revolved around the time pressure involved in running a successful practice, the individual growth strategies of the three panelists – including when not growing is the right strategy – and the difficult search for good talent for their teams.

Three Cutting-Edge Breakout Sessions

DOL’s proposed fiduciary rule“standing room only” session explored the possible scenarios that the industry must prepare for as we await the final outcome of the DOL’s proposed fiduciary rule.

The three breakout sessions on Wednesday made for a difficult choice. The first “standing room only” session explored the possible scenarios that the industry must prepare for as we await the final outcome of the DOL’s proposed fiduciary rule. The second – Charting a New Path with Millennials: ESG, Impact Investing, and Frontier Markets – focused on the new types of thinking and innovation needed to successfully bridge the worlds of impact investing and wealth management and meet the emerging client demand. The last – Robo Advisors: Industry Changers or Also-Rans? – came down squarely on the side of robo advisors in some form becoming a permanent part of the advisory landscape. Client acquisition costs were cited as a major hurdle for robo firms, a situation that favors the market entrance of players with large captive client bases such as banks and insurance companies.

Day one of the conference closed with a reception in the exhibit hall where attendees got a chance to unwind, mingle with colleagues, and visit with our conference sponsors and exhibitors to learn more about their innovative products and services.

MMI Initiatives: A Look Ahead
Thursday morning opened with MMI’s senior management team – Arlen Oransky, Joan Lensing, and Hilary Fiorella – providing a more in-depth look at the various activities under way in the focus areas of membership and programs, education, and data and research.

The Performance Paradox: New Goals-Based Wealth Management Research      
Performance paradoxCalling it the “the next big thing,” Jack Sharry, chairman of MMI’s Goals-Based Wealth Management Committee, opened the day’s next session with an overview of goals-based wealth management and the industry’s progress toward its adoption. Next, Sean Fullerton, senior research analyst at State Street, discussed the findings of the new research report, The Performance Paradox,” by MMI and State Street’s Center for Applied Research, released during the conference. The extensive research found a pattern of “misalignments” among investors, advisors, and financial organizations that has led to a situation where investors are trapped in a cycle of short-term “returns-chasing” and persistent behavioral biases and risk failing to achieve their lifetime financial goals. The study argues that goals-based wealth management – an approach which is increasingly being embraced by leading financial organizations and advisors – is the key to overcoming “the performance paradox” and delivering better investor outcomes. Riley Etheridge, a managing director at Merrill Lynch, then rounded out the discussion by offering perspective on the progress his firm, which has made goals-based advice the centerpiece of its wealth management strategy, is making and what it is learning along the way.

Two sessions rounded out the program. The first – Through a Different Lens: What Financial Services Can Learn from Other Industries – was devoted to an examination of how business models in other industries are addressing the same types of structural, technology, and customer relationship challenges that confront the financial services industry.

Finally, to close the program on a high note, with the aid of his sketch pad, Carl Richards, the creator of the weekly “Sketch Guy” column in The New York Times, put a visual spin on ways to bridge the “behavior gap,” reduce investor/advisor angst, and shift the investor/advisor conversation away from market noise to a discussion of what really matters – an investor’s lifetime goals.

If you were able to join us, we hope you left the conference feeling energized and invigorated. If you weren’t able to attend, please contact us with questions on any of the topics or resources discussed.

In either case, mark your calendar now for the 2016 Annual Convention taking place April 20-21 in Washington, DC.


Download Agenda (PDF)

The focus of our expert speakers and this year’s sessions will be on providing takeaways with respect to strategies that will help you rethink your business model and position your firm for future success. Scheduled topics include: 

  • ways leading firms are evolving their brands, core strengths, and business models,
  • shifting demographics, changing client expectations, and the growing importance of behavioral finance,
  • the convergence of traditional investment advice and digital wealth management,
  • aligning interests around goals-based wealth management and impact investing,
  • the impact of the 2016 elections on the financial markets and business landscape, and
  • what the proposed DOL Fiduciary Rule would mean to sponsor firms and asset managers. 

Fall Solutions is evolving to keep up with the times. Mark your calendar to join us October 21-22 for two days that will encourage you to truly think ahead about the issues, challenges, and opportunities that will shape the future of advisory solutions and test the viability of your firm’s business model. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 

11:30AM – 12:45PM
Registration and Credentials Pickup

12:45PM – 1:15PM  
Welcome and Opening Remarks

Lorna Sabbia, Chairperson of the Board of Governors, Money Management Institute
Craig Pfeiffer, President & CEO, Money Management Institute

Fall Solutions Co-Chairs:
Roger Paradiso, MMI Governor and Treasurer
Robbie Cannon, President and CEO, Horizon Investments

1:15PM – 2:00PM                
Opening Keynote Presentation
From a vantage point of more than two decades as an executive and investment banker to leading financial services companies, Mr. Fleming will provide an overview of the wealth management and investment management industries as they exist today and discuss some of the key trends that are shaping the future.

Gregory J. Fleming, President, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

2:00PM – 3:00PM
The Advisor Perspective: Finding Opportunity in Transition
A panel of financial advisors surveys the changing advisory landscape from distinctly different generational perspectives. The first is a “next gen” advisor in the early stages of building an advisory business, the second is a seasoned advisor with more than a decade in the industry, and the third is beginning to explore succession planning options. The discussion will begin with lessons learned, including what has and hasn’t worked, particularly with respect to how advisors have begun to adapt their practices in the face of such major trends as the growing use of technology and the looming intergenerational wealth transfer. Looking ahead, the panelists will share how they see the advisory market evolving and how they are preparing for the transitions and disruption that are likely to ensue. They will also weigh in on such hot topics as impact investing, the breakaway migration, and robo-advisors, and offer their views on which business models, products, and platforms are best positioned to thrive over the next ten years.

Moderator: Sterling Shea, Associate Publisher, Barron's
Ted Cronin, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Manchester Capital Management 
Patrick Dwyer, Private Wealth Advisor, Managing Director-Wealth Management, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
Rachel E. Gottlieb, Senior Vice President, Wealth Management, UBS Financial Services 

3:00PM – 3:30PM                
Solutions Spotlight
In this fast-paced session, three of our Fall Solutions sponsors will offer quick-hitting, “TED Talk”-style presentations that focus on timely topics pertinent to our conference theme. Prepare to be engaged and entertained.

3:30PM – 4:00PM                
Refreshment and Networking Break with Exhibitors

4:00PM – 5:15PM    
Concurrent Break-Out Sessions (choose one of three)

Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule: The Far Reaching Business Implications
The DOL’s mid-April announcement of its proposed fiduciary rule touched off a firestorm of commentary and opposing views. By the end of the initial comment period on July 21st, the DOL had received a record number of letters – including one from MMI – raising concerns over various aspects of the rule and citing the potential for unintended consequences.

If adopted as proposed, the rule could have an immensely disruptive impact on the advisory solutions industry, changing the landscape of how firms provide services to plan sponsors and IRAs. Among the topics this panel will explore are:

    • If the changes stand, how is the industry – from the perspective of broker-dealers, RIAs and asset managers – likely to address the requirements?
    • How will traditional fee-based brokerage models change?
    • Will we see a migration to advisory models? 
    • What will be the impact on “robo advice” and the new digital wealth management models?
    • How might the fiduciary status of model providers working through intermediaries be affected? 
    • What should firms do now to adapt?
    • What other changes might be on the horizon?

Moderator: Lindsay Jackson, Associate, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
Tammy Bawnik, Deputy General Counsel, UBS Financial Services
Edward O’Connor, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
David White, Managing Director, Retail Distribution, John Hancock Financial Services

Robo Advisors: Industry Changers or Also-Rans? 
Technology is changing every aspect of modern life and driving wholesale changes in the service models underlying virtually every major industry, including ours. The overarching question is to what extent is the face of our industry likely to change? Over the past decade, we have seen the impact of such digitally-driven innovations as advanced trading technologies and open-architecture platforms, and now “robo advisors” top most hot-topic lists. While not brand new, robo advisors have gathered significant momentum in the past year through venture funding and media exposure, further fueling the debate about where we are headed. Among the questions that this panel will address are:

    • Do robos represent an all-out competitive threat or a complementary model from which traditional full-service advisors will borrow?
    • Which service gaps will digital investment platforms end up filling? Will their impact be felt more on existing financial planning or investment management models?
    • Despite the apparent appeal of robo platforms to Millennials and Gen Xers, how important will the human element prove to be in the long run?
    • What will be the impact of the robo platforms introduced in the past year by some of the industry’s largest players?
    • Finally, looking ahead to 2025, what will be the next new digital disruption? 

Moderator: Gauthier Vincent, Principal, Financial Services, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Tricia Rothschild, Head of Global Advisor Solutions, Morningstar, Inc.  
Adam Schneider, Principal, Deloitte Consulting

Charting a New Path with Millennials: ESG, Impact Investing, and Frontier Markets
Surveys consistently show that Gen Xers and Millennials rank what their investments will accomplish over how much they will earn. Put another way, they want their investments and philanthropy to be nearly indistinguishable. But platforms, products, and opportunities that integrate environmental, social, and governance factors with investing – reliably and in a scalable fashion – remain limited. New thinking is needed to better meet the emerging client demand, but the potential sources of growth and innovation are not evident. This is the dilemma our panel will tackle as it addresses a number of key questions:

    • Is the demand for impact investing from Millennials sustainable? What is motivating it, and what might derail it?
    • How are younger investors using ESG and impacting investing solutions? How are these solutions likely to change in the years ahead and why?
    • How do frontier markets play into the discussion? By virtue of location, do they offer an avenue for meeting client demand for viable investment returns with credible impact?
    • What are the implications for investors and advisors?

Moderator: Anna Snider, Managing Director, Head of Global Equity Due Diligence, Merrill Lynch
William Burckart, Founder and CEO, Burckart Consulting
Ron D. Cordes, Executive Co-Chairman, AssetMark
Chuck Knudsen, Vice President, T. Rowe Price
Jamie Rantanen, Director, Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management 

5:15PM – 6:30PM    
Reception and Networking with Exhibitors 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

7:00AM – 8:15AM               
Breakfast and Networking with Exhibitors

8:15AM – 8:45AM               
MMI Initiative Spotlight 
MMI is not standing still in this age of change and transition. You may think you are familiar with some of our key initiatives, but you might be surprised to hear just how much they are evolving. Start the day with timely updates on three important areas of focus – membership and programs, education, and data and research – and learn how your firm can take advantage of these offerings to Connect, Know and Grow.

Arlen Oransky, Senior Vice President, Chief Membership and Programs Officer, Money Management Institute
Joan Lensing, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Money Management Institute
Hilary Fiorella, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Money Management Institute

8:45AM – 9:30AM
The View from Washington: Possible Potholes on the Road to 2016
As the chief strategist for Horizon Investments, Greg Valliere, who has over 30 years of experience covering Washington for institutional investors, coordinates his firm’s political and economic research. Drawing on his experience monitoring Federal Reserve Board interest rate policies and how Congress and the White House shape fiscal policies, Mr. Valliere will examine the critical – and potentially disruptive – changes that he foresees in the coming election year. Among the topics he will discuss:

  • the Federal Reserve's timetable for "liftoff" on interest rates,
  • the legislative agenda – with international tax reform and repatriation of earnings on the table,
  • the implications of the plunging budget deficit,
  • a new focus on regulatory policy as the Obama Administration relies on executive orders,
  • global hot-spots – the Middle East, the European Union, Russia, and China, among others, and
  • the 2016 presidential race – will it really be Hillary versus Jeb?

Greg Valliere, Chief Strategist, Horizon Investments
Sponsored by:

9:30AM – 10:00AM             
Refreshment and Networking Break with Exhibitors 

10:00AM – 11:00AM           
Comprehensive Goals-Based Advice: A Path to Aligning Interests 
In an era of increasing complexity, individual investors are demanding highly personalized, ongoing financial guidance aimed at achieving their life goals – guidance that includes dealing with the intricacy of managing and drawing income from multiple accounts and product holdings. The industry is reacting by reengineering every facet of financial advice delivery and building out comprehensive goals-based wealth management platforms. Drawing on a new white paper published by MMI and the State Street Center for Applied Research, this session examines how these goals-based platforms are seeking to provide better outcomes for investors by effectively aligning the interests of all parties. Starting with an in-depth conversation about client needs, concerns and tendencies, the session will focus on strategies to eliminate disconnects between investors’ stated goals and their actual behavior by successfully linking planning, implementation, monitoring, rebalancing, and intelligent withdrawals. On the flip side, a representative from a leading sponsor platform will share the challenges his firm is encountering as it seeks to deliver goals-based advice and the day-to-day effort required to transform advisor behavior to match what clients are seeking.

Moderator: Jack Sharry, Executive Vice President, Strategic Development, LifeYield LLC
Riley Etheridge, Managing Director, Merrill Lynch
Sean Fullerton, Senior Research Analyst, State Street Center for Applied Research

11:00AM – 11:30AM
Solutions Spotlight
Round 2 of our “TED Talk”-style presentations with three more thought-provoking takes on topics that relate to our conference theme of “Up Periscope.”

11:30AM – 12:30PM
Through a Different Lens: What Financial Services Can Learn from Other Industries
Cross-industry learning – the transfer of business models, technologies, and strategies across industry boundaries – has been a powerful transformative force and source of innovation in industries as disparate as automotive, pharmaceutical, technology, and consumer retail. But to benefit from cross-industry innovation, firms must be open to external knowledge sources and create structures and a methodology for exploring, adapting, and exploiting lessons from non-related industries. This session will focus on proven business models from other industries in terms of how they address the same types of structural, technology, and customer relationship challenges facing the financial services industry today. Among the questions to be addressed:

  • Which industries are the ripest for imitation and why?
  • What are the common characteristics of successful, growing firms across industries?
  • How applicable and “transferrable” are processes, structures, and technologies developed in other sectors?
  • What kinds of difficulties might be expected in the transfer process? 
  • How can you break down internal resistance to things “not invented here?”

Moderator: David P. Mullen, Senior Business Manager, Fixed Income ETF Products & Trading Platform, Bloomberg LP

Alec M. Brecker, President & Chief Executive Officer, The Results Companies
George O. Elston, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Juniper Pharmaceuticals
Elle Shelley, Chief Marketing Officer, Local Motors

12:30PM – 1:30PM              
Executive Networking Luncheon with Guest Speaker
Bridging the Behavior Gap
Despite their best efforts to behave, people still make crazy decisions around money. As financial professionals, it can be particularly frustrating to watch clients do things we know aren't in their best interest. But it is one thing to be aware of a client’s illogical financial decision making and quite another to have those especially difficult conversations about it.

Carl Richards, the author of “The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money” and the creator of the weekly “Sketch Guy” column in The New York Times, believes there’s a better way to tackle these conversations. Through the use of simple sketches, for example, he has found that people can more easily grasp otherwise complex financial concepts and recognize bad investor behavior. He will discuss the usefulness of visuals in the finance industry and review other strategies to help advisors have more meaningful client conversations. As part of his presentation, Carl will provide an overview of the latest research about behavioral mistakes, ways to discuss these issues, and recommendations to help investors avoid them in the future. He will also discuss best practices for developing enduring client relationships, delivering superior service, and helping clients accomplish their financial goals – all in a changing environment

Carl Richards, Director of Investor Education, BAM ALLIANCE, CFP and Author/Columnist
Luncheon Sponsor Morningstar

MMI Looking Forward and Concluding Remarks

Craig Pfeiffer, President & CEO, Money Management Institute


Hotel Information

Grand Hyatt New York  
109 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 
The MMI group rate of $399 plus taxes/night is available on a first-come, first-served basis based on availability. 

For Reservations, call: (212) 883-1234 or 1-888-421-1442 and reference the 2015 MMI Fall Solutions Conference or reserve online at http://resweb.passkey.com/go/MMI2015

Registration Fees

The conference registration fees are as follows:

MMI Member Registration Fee:  $1,250

Non-Member Registration Fee:  $1,550

Cancellations: No refunds will be granted for cancellations after 5:00pm ET on Friday, October 9th. Substitutions are permitted. Please notify MMI at (202) 822-4949.

2015 Fall Solutions ​Planning Committee

Barrett Ayers, Adhesion Wealth

Phil Casparius, UBS Global Asset Management

Charlie Haims, MyVest

Vilas Mhatre, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Brian Moran, Neuberger Berman

Mike Murphy, T. Rowe Price

Dan Noonan, State Street Global Advisors

Glenn Regan, MMI Consultant

Pat Sanderson, Columbia Threadneedle

Matt Schleichkorn, Aristotle Capital

Joseph Vinci, Deutsche Bank

Chris Wilson, Principal Global Investors

Michael Winnick, Russell Investment Group

Roger Paradiso, MMI Governor & Treasurer

Robbie Cannon, Horizon Investments


Attendee Registration:
Nia Edwards - nedwards@mminst.org
(202) 822-4949

Speaker Registration:
Laura Payne - lpayne@mminst.org
(202) 822-4949

Fees & Billing:
Michelle Marsh - mmarsh@mminst.org
(202) 822-4949

Sponsorship Opportunities:
Linda Pierre - lpierre@mminst.org
(202) 236-0935

Exhibitor Opportunities:
Linda Pierre - lpierre@mminst.org
(202) 236-0935

Continuing Education Credits

IMCA has accepted the 2015 MMI Fall Solutions Conference for 5.5 hours of CE credit towards the CIMA®, CIMC® and CPWA® certifications. If you hold the CIMA®, CIMC® or CPWA® certification(s), you may report this CE program online by logging into your My IMCA account at www.imca.org/user. The Program ID number will be provided after you have completed the program.


Robo Advisors: Industry Changers or Also-Rans? 

Moderator: Gauthier Vincent, Principal, Financial Services, Deloitte Consulting LLP 
Tricia Rothschild, Head of Global Advisor Solutions, Morningstar, Inc.  
Adam Schneider, Principal, Deloitte Consulting

Charting a New Path with Millennials: ESG, Impact Investing, and Frontier Markets
Moderator: Anna Snider, Managing Director, Head of Global Equity Due Diligence, Merrill Lynch
William Burckart, Founder and CEO, Burckart Consulting
Ron D. Cordes, Executive Co-Chairman, AssetMark
Chuck Knudsen, Vice President, T. Rowe Price