Last week I took three days out of my schedule to attend TD Ameritrade’s National LINC Conference.This annual TD conference is where a couple of thousand advisors (mostly Registered Investment Advisors) gather near TD’s San Diego headquarters. I’ve attended several TD conferences over the last eight years and I’ve not yet been disappointed by TD’s big advisor event.
Let me share with you some benefits that I gain from attending this TDA conference:
- Hearing from TD Ameritrade’s decision makers – The annual conference often begins with a “state of TDA” talk given by TDA’s leaders. Tom Nally (President of TD Ameritrade Institutional) and Tim Cook (President and CEO of TD Ameritrade) shared updates about the success and stability of TDA, their commitment to advisors and advisor technology, and their company initiatives for the next couple of years. This year I came away feeling even more excited to be working with the TDA platform.
- Getting an outside perspective from thought leaders – The conference often has top-notch keynote speakers. This year, Martin Eberhard (founder of Tesla), Julie Rice (co-founder of SoulCycle) and Walter Robb (former CEO of Whole Foods) shared how they built companies with strong cultures and raving fans. In a separate presentation, Robert Herjavec talked about his experiences as an entrepreneur and shared several interesting stories about his time on the TV show Shark Tank.
- Motivation and encouragement – A former Navy Seal and endurance athlete, David Goggins, asked: “What’s holding you back?” David’s youth was filled with abuse and heartache, and then out of the blue, he decided to become a Navy Seal. In some ways, his life got even tougher at that point, but he succeeded despite his fears, learning disability and numerous physical injuries. I’ll definitely keep his motivational story in mind as my next challenge pops up in my life.
- Getting the latest updates on software offerings – TDA is the most technologically focused custodian. This focus is displayed in the conference’s “Tech Village” where several dozen technology vendors show off their stuff. I spent several hours talking to my current technology partners; this face time was invaluable as I received some tricks and tips and I provided some valuable feedback. I was also able to get live demos of some emerging and interesting technologies that I’ve been eyeing.
- Learning about TDA’s software for clients and advisors – TDA is constantly working to update their software to enhance the experience of their users (end-clients and advisors). It’s exciting to get a sneak peek into the improvements coming to their client dashboard, advisor dashboard, and rebalancing software.
- Discussing investments – Advisor conferences are usually packed with investment firms.I visited with key personnel from eight different investment firms, and we discussed investments I’m using (or reviewing) in client accounts. This turned out to be time well-spent.
- Networking with experienced advisors – Most of the value I receive from attending advisor conferences comes from the interactions with other attendees. I’m amazed at how open advisors are about discussing what’s working and not working in their firms. I chatted in depth with several firm principals, and I have pages of notes that should improve the quality of my work.
It’s easy to get buried in my daily tasks as I’m running a growing wealth management firm. My previous business mentors taught me about how important it is to work on your business, not just in your business. I’m confident that my time at the TD Ameritrade conference will result in a better experience for my clients.