The start of a new year is always an appropriate time to reflect and thoughtfully look forward. 2015 was a year of change and evolution for our industry, for MMI as an organization, and for me personally. It has been a quick seven months since I was provided the opportunity to carry forward the traditions of MMI and expand its value to both member firms and the individual professionals associated with them. I have learned much during that time and want to express my sincere appreciation to Chris Davis, the Board of Governors, and the MMI staff for the warm welcome and transition assistance they have given me. I particularly thank the many members of the MMI community for the honest feedback and insights you have shared with me, and - most importantly - for your continued enthusiasm and support for the unique role that MMI plays in our industry.
As we head into 2016, the entire MMI team is focused on exploring new ways in which MMI can help our member firms to Connect, Know, and Grow, thereby furthering your success and that of the advisory solutions industry. We have outlined five key focus areas for 2016, and I thought it would be useful to provide quick highlights of a few initiatives under way in each.
- Conferences and Events - We are refreshing the format of our major conferences to make them more interactive, and we continue to add smaller, topic-focused forums that allow for more in-depth exploration of topics that are important to our members. Watch for the upcoming announcement of several exciting new events.
- Promoting Communities within MMI - We are reaching deeper within member firms to involve more associates and provide additional avenues for engagement.
- Revitalizing Member Committees - The committee line-up has been revamped and is being expanded to provide more opportunities for groups of members with similar interests to connect and share best practices.
- Broadening Membership - As the landscape of our industry continues to expand and diversify, we are actively seeking to engage new types of advisory solutions providers in MMI activities and grow their representation within our membership.
Education and Training
- Publications - Through our ongoing series of white papers, special reports, and other publications, we will continue to provide coverage of topics that are top of mind with MMI members and share insights from industry thought-leaders. Our 2015 releases on the Distribution of Alternative Investments Through Wirehouses, The Performance Paradox: Overcoming Clients' Present Day Misalignments and Delivering on Investors' Long-Term Goals, and Bringing Impact Investing Down to Earth continue to receive positive feedback and use.
- Entry-level Training - Our eLearning platform, developed in partnership with Wheelhouse Analytics, has brought scale and additional momentum to our efforts to help member firms deliver cost-effective training on the fundamentals of advisory solutions to their employees. Over 1,000 individuals have been trained on the evolution and basic elements of the investment advisory solutions industry via the eLearning program since its launch in late 2014, and our ongoing series of one-day classroom Workshops continues to sell out.
- More Educational Offerings - The curriculum for entry-level training will continue to be refreshed, and thematic and role-specific training offerings will be added in 2016, starting in Q1 2016 with the introduction of the MMI Wholesaler Training Center, developed in conjunction with Wilke and Associates.
Industry Analytics and Insights
- Accessibility - MMI OnDemand, our new online analytics tool developed in partnership with Dover Financial Research, puts MMI's proprietary database of investment advisory solutions statistics at your fingertips. The platform is in final beta test with approximately 20 member users and is slated for wider rollout in 2016.
- Comprehensive and Actionable "Data" - We are mindful that members are seeking additional types of industry data supplemented by meaningful analysis and insights, and we are evolving our data efforts in that direction.
- Expanded Partnerships - To expand the breadth and depth of our data coverage, we are in discussions with a number of well-known third-party providers whose work would complement and supplement the data MMI already provides to members.
Next Generation Initiatives
- Leadership Pathway - Our inaugural class of 25 "up-and-coming" leaders was introduced at the 2015 Fall Solutions Conference and has begun a structured two-year program designed to build leadership and collaboration skills.
- Leadership Advisory Council (LAC)- Recently reconstituted under the guidance of chairs Marie Dzanis of Northern Trust and Joe Vinci of Deutsche Bank, the LAC is helping to drive several key initiatives and serves as a sounding board for new MMI programs.
- Gateway to Leadership - Steered by a new Gateway Foundation Board of Trustees, the mandate of our long-running workplace diversity program is being expanded in 2016 beyond Historically Black Colleges and Universities to offer summer internships to other groups of students who might not otherwise have a natural path to a career in financial services.
- Workforce Readiness - Our core eLearning curriculum, developed with Wheelhouse Analytics, is now the basis of Envestnet Institute On Campus, an innovative program that is helping to attract and prepare university students for a career in wealth management.
- Thought Leadership - Our continued work around Goals-Based Wealth Management and Impact Investing are two examples of how we seek to provide information and advance discussions about important secular shifts within our industry.
- Regulatory Developments - In a period of heightened rulemaking and reform, MMI's Legal & Compliance Committee will continue to work diligently to stay on top of an ever-evolving landscape. This community is a vibrant example of members sharing ideas and having access to the collective best-thinking. The committee submitted five comprehensive comment letters in 2015 to industry regulators including the FSB, FSOC, DOL, SEC, and FinCEN, representing MMI's position on a wide range of regulatory proposals.
- Peer Associations - We are actively exploring opportunities to partner with other industry associations to collaborate on initiatives and leverage complementary resources.
These are just a representative selection of the many activities and efforts now in progress. It is an ambitious agenda, but very achievable with your continued engagement and participation.
If you missed our first MMI All-Member Town Hall Meeting of 2016, you can access the playback at your convenience. Listen in to get more detail on our major initiatives and learn about additional ways to get maximum value from your firm's membership.
From all of us at MMI, a sincere thank you for your ongoing partnership and support, and we wish you a great start in 2016.
Craig D. Pfeiffer
President & CEO