Monday, October 3, 2016

Technology, Business Growth and DOL: New Insights from Industry Insightfuls

These three subject matter experts spent some time conversing with me about the challenges and opportunities they see in the financial services profession. It is a real honor to speak with tenured professionals such as Brian Stimpfl, Mark Klein and financial advisor Tony D’Amico, who impressed me with his passion, perspective and purpose. Please take the time to listen to these three audio interviews – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

In this trilogy:
Industry veteran Brian Stimpfl ( talks about the digitalization of financial services and what advisors should be thinking about now.

Recovering ERISA attorney Mark Klein ( tells us how to use the new DOL fiduciary rule to win new business.
Download link | Stream online

Independent financial advisor Tony D’Amico ( shares how he built his “elite advisory firm” from scratch and what’s next on his roadmap.

Take a few minutes and listen now!

As seen in NAPFA Advisor magazine
September 2016 print edition

Friday, June 3, 2016

Three great new audio interviews you won’t want to miss on the Best Practices blog

If you are serious about building a great financial services firm in today’s fast-paced digital environment, listening to these informative conversations can help. I am always looking for the best and brightest people in the profession to share their insights and advice. These three conversations are sure to spark an idea or two.

In this trilogy:

Fintech veteran Rich Cancro ( talks about the digital advice revolution and how financial firms can stay relevant, attract new business and become more profitable. Download link | Stream online

Marketing and branding expert Sean Farrow ( tells us how to think about branding and why it is more important than ever for financial advisors to have a good marketing / brand strategy. Download link | Stream online

Software innovator William Meyer ( shares how advisors can help their clients get and keep more retirement income through an optimized claiming and withdrawal strategy. Download link | Stream online

Take a few minutes and listen now!

As seen in NAPFA Advisor magazine
June 2016 print edition

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Here’s Why Fiduciary Advisors Should be Cheering the Robbins / Mallouk Announcement

Brooke Southall at asked me to send him some comments on the “Mallouk mega deal” a couple weeks ago. Brooke’s article published the next day – you can read it here: Tiger By the Tail: What to Make of Peter Mallouk's Deal with Tony Robbins and Where the Unlikely Pairing Might Go from Here.

Here are my comments in their entirety:

I have to admit that at first I scratched my head when I read that Tony Robbins had joined Creative Planning's board of directors and assumed the role of Chief of Investor Psychology at the firm. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense that of course Robbins could leverage his Six Human Needs principles to help advisors do a better job working with their clients.

One of the biggest complaints clients have is they do not feel their financial advisors really listen to or care about them. So any advisor who is fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of Robbin’s training and advice will surely be in a better position to not only attract new clients but to retain the ones they have and, more importantly, move clients from being simply content to being totally enthralled by their client experience.

It was also great to see Peter Mallouk’s post on LinkedIn about the firm’s decision to as of April 1st 2016 start giving 100% of the profits derived from its private client insurance practice, which includes all term and permanent life insurance, disability insurance and long term care insurance, to charity. He acknowledged “the perception and reality of conflict” that has until now existed and said that the firm felt so strongly about removing it that 100% of the profits going will now be going to charities. 

While some in the financial advisory world will throw darts at this partnership (after all, haters will always hate), it is hard to argue with the star power in this constellation.
A quick look at the Creative Planning Facebook page ( reveals a stunning array of recent media attention – Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Street, Bloomberg, and more. Robbins and Mallouk must have had a blast on their New York Media Tour in early April. And you can’t put a price tag on the 13-minute video in which Robbins and Mallouk talk about the Four Deadly Horsemen ( that investors must avoid – that video clip alone is priceless.
The icing on the cake is that Robbin’s new edition of his New York Times best selling book, Money: Master the Game, which was just released in paperback form, features fresh insights from Mallouk. I doubt that it’s a coincidence that the paperback was timed to come out in tandem with the Creative Planning announcement – and it was total synchronicity that the DOL finally signed into law the new fiduciary rule at approximately the same time as the Robbins / Mallouk fiduciary PR blitz.
But here’s the bottom line: The Robbins / Mallouk announcement and public awareness campaign provides benefits for the entire fiduciary advisor community.
While the business benefits for Robbins, Mallouk and Gupta are clearly evident, they appear to be doing it for the right reasons – and all true fiduciaries should be cheering from the sidelines. Better yet, fiduciary advisors everywhere should see this as a great wave to ride.

My advice: Put some extra energy in now to ramp up your consumer education efforts. Amplify your own voice and applaud your fiduciary peers while working to enhance your own unique value proposition.

April is Financial Literacy month and with all the DOL news coverage it’s the perfect time to join the fiduciary chorus.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Insights from Financial Services Consultants You Won't Want to Miss

These three subject matter experts shared some pretty awesome insights and observations with me last month. They all talk about where they see challenges and opportunities within the financial services profession.

Stop what you're doing now and listen to one or more of these audio clips. You'll be glad you did.

Khalid Usmani on marketing your financial advisory services in a noisy digital world Download link | Stream online

Vikas Oswal on managing client emotions and expectations in turbulent investment times Download link | Stream online

Neal Quon
on selecting the right technology and creating a solid spending plan for your financial services firm
Download link | Stream online

As seen in NAPFA Advisor magazine
April 2016 print edition

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Digitization of Financial Planning - March 1 Webinar with Neal Quon and Abby Schneiderman

Join Everplans co-founder Abby Schneiderman on March 1, 2016 at 4PM EDT as she explores the "digitalization" of financial planning with Neal Quon co-Founder of QuonWarrene. 

This brief and informative discussion will focus on the digitalization of planning and how Everplans can position you to take full advantage of the new paradigm. Abby will demonstrate the ins and outs of Everplans Professional and provide creative ways financial professionals can incorporate the Everplans platform into client relationships.

This live webinar is a perfect opportunity to ask questions and get answers from fintech expert Neal Quon. You'll also get to see a demo of the Everplans Professional platform and get a sneak preview of upcoming features and benefits.

Date:  March 1, 2016 
Time: 4:00 PM EDT 
  • Learn how to bridge the generational gap in planning using technology
  • Learn how to expand your role as a financial pro through comprehensive planning
  • Learn how to manage your clients' planning from a new collaborative perspective
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how Everplans can help you enhance your practiceRegister today! 

Can't attend the live webinar on March 1? 

  • Watch for a link to the recording. Review the other ideas and blog posts while there -- and request a demo if this digital end-of-life planning tool and secure cloud-based platform looks good to you.
  • Watch this Bloomberg News video in which Abby shares insights with the general public about the need to plan now for the digital afterlife.  
Click to watch video now

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Three Awesome Audio Interviews with Industry Innovators

These three subject matter experts were kind enough to spend some time educating me on where they see challenges and opportunities within the financial services profession. You'll see a common thread running through each of these ten-minute audios: New and innovative technology is playing a major role in helping advisors (a) solve problems for their clients and (b) thrive as business professionals.

Stop what you're doing now and listen to one or more of these audio clips. You'll be glad you did.

Dan Santner on creating a collaborative retirement planning process to win client hearts and minds
Download link  |  Stream online

Daniel Satchkov on using the right technology to compete and win in the robo-age    Download link  |  Stream online

Abby Schneiderman on building better relationships with current and prospective clients   
Download link 
Stream online

As seen in Financial Planning magazine
December 2015 print edition

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

FPA / UMKC "Career Day" in Kansas City November 6, 2015

I was pleased to hear from my local FPA chapter and the instructors at UMKC who are partnering with the KC chapter to put on Career Day 2015. If you are in the area, please join us for the afternoon, November 6, 2015, on the UMKC campus.

This is an important conversation and I hope to learn as much from those attending as they will learn from me. If attending is out of the question for you, please post your questions on this blog and I will respond here. Details about my presentations and how to RSVP are shown below.

The Evolution of the Financial Planning Industry: 3rd Wave Trends, Threats and Realities

A presentation focused on the past, present and future of the financial planning profession followed by conversation on the topic or secrets of branding in the robo age presentation

WHO:             Marie Swift presenting at FPA Career Day

                       Sponsored by FPA Kansas City Chapter
                       In Partnership with University of Missouri, Kansas City

WHEN:           Friday, November 6, 2015

11:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.
Swift Presentation on Evolution of the Profession

12:10 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Group Dialog or Swift Breakout Session on Branding

1:00 -->
Other speakers and activities

WHERE:       University of Missouri - Kansas City
                     Henry W. Bloch School of Management
                     5110 Cherry St.
                     Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

HOW:           To RSVP contact Brandy Johnson at


The overlapping influences of social media, robo advisors, Skype, changing attitudes of baby boomers, expectations of new generations, and a raft of other social and technological upheavals have brought the financial services industry to an inflection point. Change has been a constant in the financial advice business but a fundamental shift has occurred due to factors such as the following:

·      Clients have better access to information and think they are better informed

·      It is as easy to find an advisor across the country as it is to find one down the street

·      Advisors service clients hundreds of miles away

·      Practitioners have direct access to potential clients through the web Investors can make their praise and criticism known to everyone online and via apps of their mobile devices

·      Clients can get up-to-the-minute portfolio information on their phones

·      Independent advisors can run a successful practice in the cloud with virtual staff

·      Investment management firms can hire a robo and fire their research and trading staff

We are witnessing the beginning of a third wave in financial services. The first wave was about product. The second wave was about advice. What will define the third wave? Changes taking place today will act synergistically to affect the very nature of the relationship between advisor and client -- and we are starting to see how all of that will play out.

At this FPA sponsored event, 3rd Wave Collaborative co-founder Marie Swift will talk about service models over the years and how today’s best technology-enabled advisors, supported by allied institutions, are building out their firms with an eye to the future.

After Swift's main presentation, attendees may chose to dialog over lunch with FPA members and UMKC faculty and students about Swift's session or join Swift in a breakout room to talk branding in the robo age.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Save the date! T3 Technology Conference for Financial Advisors - Feb 10-12, 2016 - Florida

See You at FPA B.E. in Boston? Here's How to Find Marie Swift.

I'll be at the FPA B.E. Conference in Boston. Find me and say hello!

I'll be hanging around these booths -- all of which are Impact friends and clients, all of which offer some pretty fantastic solutions for independent advisors and allied institutions:

  • Vanare | NestEgg - Table #17
  • Client Driven Practice - Table #15
  • Scottrade Advisor Services - Booth 308
  • Strategy and Resources - Booth 302
  • Entreda - Table # TBD
  • - Table #TBD
  • Everplans Pro - Table #TBD

See the interactive map of the exhibit hall for visual of the booths and tables.

I will also be live tweeting some of the sessions including:

Retirement Roundtable - Sept 26 at 2:20 pm ET
Robert Powell, respected journalist

Cutting College Costs - Sept 26 at 4:30 pm ET
Lynn O'Shaughnessy, respected columnist

New Rules of Marketing and PR - Sept 26 at 8:00 am ET
Jill Schlesinger, respect journalist

Robo-Advisors Point / Counter Point - Sept 27 at 2:20 pm ET
Michael Kitces (Nerds Eye View), Rich Ellinger (Wealthminder), and Lex Sokolin (Vanare | NestEgg)

Investing Roundtable - Sept 27 at 3:55 pm ET
Advisor Partners CEO - Dan Kern

M&A and Succession Planning / Financing - Sept 27 at 5:00 pm ET
Marion Asnes (Idea Refinery) + Folks from Live Oak Bank and FP Transitions

Unfortunately, I have a flight on Monday September 28 -- I am heading right to Phoenix so I don't miss too much of the Bob Veres' Insider's Forum (and I am also speaking there alongside with my strategic partner Marion Asnes) -- or I would have loved to attend the Women and Investing session sponsored by Money Magazine and staffed by a host of awesome women I know (sorry ladies, alas a different duty calls). 

If you haven't signed up yet for the Insider's Forum, you can save $75 off your first registration with this code:


If you want to find me at FPA B.E. and prefer not to look for a "chance encounter" please stop by the Strategy and Resources booth #320 and leave a message with whoever is there. If you leave your cell phone number or mobile email, I will be in touch and we can meet up!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Trends That Matter: Top Issues for Major Firms Today

Matt Lynch, Managing Partner at Strategy and Resources, LLC will discuss trends that affect major firms, from the “vendor identity crisis” to “regulatory pressure,” to “trends in advice” as well as “succession issues” and “micro-marketing.”

Matt's presentation will be followed by table discussions centered around the key trends, facilitated by Strategy and Resources' resource partners (industry thought leaders Marie Swift, Julie Littlechild, Marty Miller, Joni Dunn, Scott Taylor, Mitch Vigeveno, Bob Cogan and Marion Asnes), after which the group will share its conclusions.

WHEN:      Friday, September 25, 2015 from 3:00 - 4:00 pm ET

WHERE:    FPA Major Firms Symposium in Boston, MA

WHAT:      Trends That Matter: Top Issues for Major Firms Today
                 ~ Featured presentation by Matt Lynch and strategic partners ~

WHO:        Executives from Major Firms in the Financial Services Industry

WHY:        Enjoy a full day of interesting dialog and presentations thanks to 
                  FPA and supporting sponsors shown below 

Email your RSVP request to Lucy Solomon at FPA

Monday, September 7, 2015

See you at Bob Veres' Insider's Forum - Sept 28-30 in Phoenix?

So this is cool ...

Marion Asnes and I will be tag teaming at Bob Veres' Insider's Forum this fall. We'll be delivering a CEO TED Talk called "Secrets of Branding in the Robo Age."

Hope to see you there!

If you'd like to save $75 off the first registration for your firm, use this code: 2015IMPACTCOMM

If you'd like to save $75 off the first registration for your firm, use this code: 2015IMPACTCOMM

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Finding Your Voice and Building Your Brand as a Financial Advisor Today

Based on a conversation I had a few months ago with Bob Veres and Marion Asnes, I have been thinking about and reading up on "voice" and "branding" with an eye toward bringing something fresh and helpful to the CEO TED Talk that Marion and I will be co-delivering at the Bob Veres Insider's Forum in September.

Subsequently, Bob wrote a nice piece on branding essentials for his Inside Information subscribers. Marion and I were quoted, as were some of my other favorite industry insightfuls (Steve Wershing: here's looking at you, kid). If you missed that issue, head right on over to and sign up for Inside Information -- it is one of the best publications in the financial advisory space, chock full of insights and good food for thought, written especially for financial advisors and others who are a part of that service ecosystem.

I then wrote a piece which I called "Being a Social Leader Online" -- which is all about building trust through authentic voice and transparent communications -- for They renamed the piece "Why Financial Advisors Can't Ignore Social Media" -- which is true, but was not really, to my thinking anyway, the focus of the piece. Never-the-less, I know a bunch of financial advisors and allied others read it because I saw a ton of conversation and energy happen on Twitter. So that's good. But the whole point of that piece is that high-trust leaders are those who are willing to show their personality -- and even their vulnerability.

I subsequently had a conversation with some business colleagues who left the corporate tech and ad agency worlds and now basically ghostwrite blog posts and long-form LinkedIn Pulse posts (along with corresponding social media posts for Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter) for financial advisors. They have developed this thing they call "Voice Science" so that when they write the pieces for their clients, they actually CAPTURE that person's authentic voice. 

I'm excited about the free webinar they are doing for Friends of Impact this Tuesday, August 11, at noon CT. 

The big idea here is not to sanitize things so much. Yes, be professional. Yes, do a spell check. Yes, think before you post. But be your true and authentic self. To do that, though, you should really think about who that true and authentic self IS ... and if you are a part of a team (or a team of one) working as a business then there needs to be some dialog and consensus on what your "brand" is before you can synch up your "voice." 

One more helpful tidbit: Bob and his team at Insider's Forum asked me to come up with a guest post for their blog. Since the whole topic of "brand" and "voice" have been on my mind more than ever recently, I wrote a piece called "Finding Your Voice Online." I hope you will read it and do some of the exercises I suggest. 

I hope to see all of you at the 2015 Insider's Forum where we can continue this "brand" and "voice" conversation. 

To save $75 off your first registration, enter 2015IMPACTCOMM

Final thought for today: As I was following some links on Twitter, I stumbled upon this article by a content marketing guy named Marcus Sheridan. He says that we can never REALLY find our true and authentic voice ... because it is changing all the time

His call to action is good:

From this day forward, stop worrying about “finding your voice.” And if you do find it, throw it back in the river so you can find it again later. Finding is not the goal here. This is about GROWTH, pure and simple. And trust me when I tell you that if you’re growing, happiness will follow.

My take: We must all constantly reinvent ourselves. If we do that, I submit that in addition to personal growth and happiness, our business growth and happiness will also multiply.

So, ask yourself regularly: 
"Who am I? And why should others care?" 

Challenging questions, to be sure, but well worth the contemplation. Time for me to go on a long walk and think about those questions myself.