MMInsight: November 7, 2019

In this edition of MMInsight ... Highlights from the 2019 Annual Conference, including the MMI/Barron's Industry Awards winners, Penny Pennington honored with MMI Leadership Award, new Leadership Pathway class announced, and much more.


A Message from Craig Pfeiffer 
It’s a wrap on the 2019 MMI Annual Conference! Records were set in Atlanta - from the largest number of attendees ever and the record number of speakers to the unprecedented fundraising for MMI’s Gateway to Leadership Foundation. The Annual Conference is truly a team event across the MMI community and larger investment advisory industry. From all of us, a huge thank you to Co-chairs Elise Duncan of BlackRock and Tony Rochte of Fidelity Institutional, their planning committee, and all our MMI Partners, Sponsors, and Exhibitors for making this event possible. And let’s not forget our outstanding lineup of speakers, moderators, and panelists whose knowledge and insights once again made the conference a can’t-miss event for advisory professionals. To each of our attendees, thank you for making time in your busy schedule to join us - your energy and special collegiality are what set MMI events apart. View a slideshow of photos from the event.

Please mark your calendar now for the 2020 MMI Annual Conference on October 13-15 in Charlotte, NC. With your support, we look forward to raising the bar again next year!

2019 Annual Conference by the Numbers
This year’s outstanding program and opportunities to network with advisory solutions thought leaders and senior executives attracted a record number of attendees – over 550 – to the 2019 MMI Annual Conference. The agenda was packed with timely topics, 84 engaging speakers, 30 different sessions, and five distinct subject matter tracks that allowed attendees to create a customized experience.

From the inspiring opening keynote presentation by Alison Levine, team captain of the first American Women's Everest Expedition, to the closing session with three industry-leading research firms offering distinct points of view on the future of asset and wealth management, the conference program revolved around the theme of “customer focus.” Along the way, a who’s-who of industry leaders – among them Judy Marlinski, President of Fidelity Institutional Asset Management, Bill Crager, Chief Executive of Envestnet Wealth Solutions, and Jon Stein, CEO & Founder of Betterment – covered topics ranging from enhancing the client experience and the importance of the human element to leveraging technology and the imperative of industry diversity and inclusion.

Two Special Evening Events
To cap off the first day of the conference, attendees enjoyed a unique reception at the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the western hemisphere. While relaxing and connecting with industry colleagues, the group had the chance to get up close and personal with the Aquarium’s massive 600+-pound whale sharks through stunning floor-to-ceiling viewing windows. Our thanks to ZS, Refinitiv, and Cerulli Associates for sponsoring this special experience for our attendees.

On night two, the focus shifted to the gala MMI/Barron’s Industry Awards Dinner, recognizing innovation and leadership in the investment advisory solutions industry. Now in their 11th year, Industry Award winners were announced in the following categories by Estee Faranda Jimerson of Envestnet and Pete Thatch of Capital Group | American Funds, Co-chairs of this year’s Industry Awards Steering Council, and Rebecca Miesch of The Wall Street Journal | Barron’s Group.

  • Digital Innovation: Morgan Stanley - Portfolio Risk Platforms 
  • “Doing Good”: American Century Investments - Prosper with a Purpose 
  • Inclusion: Edward Jones - Inclusion & Diversity Mentoring Program
  • Sustainable Investing: Morgan Stanley - Morgan Stanley Impact Quotient
  • Distribution Excellence: J.P. Morgan Asset Management - Data Driven Coverage & Advisor Resource Team
  • Thought Leadership/Education: Russell Investments - 2019 Value of an Advisor Survey
  • Disruption: Envestnet - Envestnet MoneyGuide’s MyBlocks and Just Invest LLC - Just Invest Direct Indexing
  • Sponsor Platform of the Year: Morgan Stanley - Modern Advice Platform
  • Asset Manager of the Year (AUM of $25 billion of less): Horizon Investments - Goals-Based Investment Management Solutions
  • Asset Manager of the Year (AUM of more than $25 billion): Eaton Vance - Investment and Wealth Management
  • Solutions Provider of the Year: LifeYield - LifeYield Income Advantage

Our congratulations to the winners, finalists, and nominees who represent all the great work being done in the investment advisory sector to deliver better outcomes for financial advisors and investors! And special thanks to the 2019 Steering Council and Membership Experience Committee for shepherding this year’s process.

Supporting Gateway to Leadership 
The Industry Awards Dinner also serves as a fundraiser for MMI’s Gateway to Leadership Foundation and showcases its efforts to foster career awareness and workforce readiness for students of color from communities historically underrepresented in the financial services industry. Following program updates from John Coyne, Chair of the Gateway Board of Trustees, and Shewanna Grasty, Gateway Program Manager, the audience heard a very personal account of how Gateway has influenced her career journey from Simone Vidale, a recent MBA grad from the Metropolitan College of New York.

Generosity and giving back were the themes of the night, with a record amount of funds being raised to support Gateway through donations and silent and live auction items. Special kudos to guest auctioneers Cheryl Nash of Fiserv and Robbie Cannon of Horizon Investments, whose energy and old-fashioned arm-twisting added to the fun and excitement as the audience bid on a collection of noteworthy items. And big thanks to all the attendees, donors, and bidders for making the fundraiser such a huge success!

Penny Pennington Receives MMI Leadership Award
During a special presentation on the second day of the conference, Penny Pennington, Managing Partner of Edward Jones, was honored with the MMI Leadership Award. Previously known as the MMI Pioneer Award, the MMI Leadership Award is given to an individual whose visionary leadership and accomplishments make a significant and lasting contribution to the asset and wealth management industry. In her virtual acceptance speech introduced by Eric Koestner, Ms. Pennington, the sixth Managing Partner in the firm’s 97-year history, urged the audience to “recognize what it is that clients value, evolve to meet their needs, and do it at a scale that makes a deep impact on society at large.”

Three Firms Recognized for Exemplary Member Engagement
Continuing a tradition started at the 2018 Annual Conference, Craig Pfeiffer and Chair Jennifer Abate of Lazard Asset Management recognized member firms for their active involvement at all levels of the firm across a broad range of MMI initiatives and activities. The Chairman’s Award, presented to a firm that has been a member of MMI for five years or more, went to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The President’s Award, given to a firm that has been a member for less than five years, was awarded to Brookfield Asset Management. A third category was added this year to specifically recognize a Solutions Provider firm, and the inaugural Governor’s Award went to Fiserv Investment Services.

Leadership Pathway Graduates 2017 Class and Welcomes 2019 Class
At a special luncheon ahead of the Annual Conference, members of the “graduating” Leadership Pathway class of 2017 were honored, and the 36 new members of the 2019 class were officially announced and embarked on their two-year career development program, which entails deep involvement with the MMI community across a range of activities. We congratulate and recognize these emerging advisory leaders. View the graduating 2017 class and incoming 2019 class.

Building Bridges to the Future
MMI was pleased to welcome some special guests to the Annual Conference – three students from Morehouse College, an all-male historically black college located in Atlanta, four students from the University of Rhode Island College of Business, and four students from the University of Georgia Terry School of Business representing the MMI Passport Program cohort sponsored by Voya Investment Management. These juniors and seniors were able to experience firsthand a financial services industry event and receive a crash course in some of the hottest topics impacting the advisory space.

Events Calendar 
Contact us at or (646) 868-8500 for details.

November 13, 2019

Distribution Leadership Forum

New York

November 14, 2019

MMI/Sorenson Impact Investing Financial
Advisor Forum

New York 

December 16, 2019

Wholesaler Workshop 

New York

January 9, 2020 

MMI/TIIP/Toniic ESG Forum - Successfully Working with Endowment and Foundation Clients


January 9, 2020

MMI/TIIP Advanced Seminar – The Impact of ESG & Data Issues on Due Diligence Efforts


March 26 - 27, 2020 

2020 Sales & Marketing Leadership Summit


April 7, 2020

Toronto Wealth Management Summit


May 12, 2020

Women in Distribution Symposium


October 13 - 15, 2020 

2020 Annual Conference


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MMI gratefully acknowledges our 2019 MMI Partners, Annual Conference Sponsors and Exhibitors for their generous support of the 2019 Annual Conference. Without their partnership, this event would not be possible!












Archer          CGI 





MSCI       REDI2



Edward Jones