NEW ORLEANS (March 21, 2012)—From all quarters of the country and Canada, retirement plan advisors, together with plan administrators, product and service providers, and senior managers convened at the 11th annual ASPPA 401(k) SUMMIT. Attracting nearly 1,300 attendees focused on the retirement plan marketplace, the 11th annual industry-leading conference was held in New Orleans, LA, as planned for several years to join in energizing NOLA’s renewal.
Uniquely, before the conference ever started, advisors joined together a day early to work with Rebuilding Together New Orleans, volunteering their sweat equity on three projects to make homes available to victims of Hurricane Katrina, who continue to struggle in re-establishing their lives.
Leading off the conference itself was the timely, trendy, challenging political pundit team of New Orleans natives, Mary Matalin and James Carville, offering their oft diametrically opposing, but always direct, views on a variety of current political situations. The commencement continued with an Industry Trends session presented by the finalists for the 2012 ASPPA Morningstar 401(k) Advisor Leadership Award. The team of Plan Sponsor Advisors, Chicago, IL, earned the Award for their leadership, innovation and focused work in betterment of the industry, plan sponsors and plan participants.
Brian Graff, ASPPA CEO, conducted a lively discussion with Department of Labor’s Michael Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). Hot regulatory topics included Fee Disclosure, Fiduciary Regulations, Education vs. Advice, and MEPs, multiple employer plans. Understanding the policy behind the regulations, existing and pending, together with the reality check from the field, will help to pose workable solutions. And, in evolving situations, regulations are necessary to avoid problems compounding.
National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA) President Marcy Supovitz announced that the new sister organization to ASPPA is the fastest growing group in the industry at about 3,000 members in its first six months, with 60 supporting industry organizations. NAPA Nuggets, presented by advisors throughout the conference, provided real-life tips for the trade; their NAPA NOW electronic newsletter and magazine raise the bar on peer-to-peer support and visionary challenges. However, the advocacy aspects of NAPA are the real strength needed in legislative conversations to direct critical outcomes, especially as tax reform looms large on the horizon.
Dr. Bob Froelich expounded on the outlook for financial markets, presenting a most positive, organized prognostication. His reality check was both reasoned and challenging, generating thoughtful advisor questions and commentary.
This marketing and sales conference enabled attendee networking galore from its opening moments to its close, from formally structured audience-specific networking sessions to casual social venues. A plethora of highlighted workshops from practice management to investment strategy enabled interaction with industry experts and focused peer conversations. Advisors continued to learn from the 120 industry supporters in their Exhibit Hall.
Results! Advisors excel by making the most of this conference experience, ultimately benefiting millions of plan participants and their families.
—Kristine J. Coffey, CPC
ASPPA Member since 1985
NAPA Member since 2011
11 Year SUMMIT Attendee
Category: Member Focus