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Executive Roundtable Journal

Fostering Thoughtful Debate and Dialogue

What is the Roundtable?

By David Armstrong

Each issue, we’ll be looking to provide strategic insights and thoughtful analysis of the current events and trends impacting the financial services industry.

What is the Roundtable? It’s a group of executive and board-level decision makers in the financial services industry that cater to financial advisors. Each grapples with consequential decisions around allocating resources and setting strategic direction for their firms.

The ambition here is to help those efforts, by disseminating exclusive analysis and intelligence about advisory firms to the group, along with real-time opportunities for members to engage in meaningful conversations during contained, structured, small-scale events. The transcripts of some of those conversations will be found in this quarterly journal, along with case studies of advisory firms, original research, insight and commentary.

The roundtable was launched officially at the 2018 Industry Awards, which recognizes corporate initiatives meant to help financial advisors better serve their clients.

A small group of participating executives spent the earlier part of that day in the boardroom of’s parent company, Informa. There was an off-the-record conversation about how they saw the challenges and opportunities faced by the industry, and afterwards on-the-record interviews were filmed that were distributed by

The idea for this group came from Matt Lynch, a judge for our awards and a longtime broker/dealer executive and consultant, with support from Marie Swift, a marketing consultant with Impact Communications. I’ve learned a lot talking to both of them, not the least of which is that the terms “broker/dealer” and “registered investment advisor” are more regulatory labels than business models, and don’t reflect what increasingly corporate financial advisory firms do.

Over the past several years, we’ve seen advisory firms rapidly morph from small practices dependent on their broker/dealers or custodians, into real businesses, with dedicated divisions of labor and professional management. With those changes come new priorities guiding which vendors these advisors choose to do business with.

Executives of those vendor firms — including broker/dealers, TAMPs and asset managers — that don’t know where the new gatekeepers to these advisory firms sit, or how to demonstrate their worth inside the value chain, will struggle to stay relevant. Those who do, such as the executives participating in this group and reading this journal, will thrive.

I’m grateful to Matt Lynch and Marie Swift for bringing the idea for the roundtable to us. I believe in the mission and I’m happy to give it a platform. I hope you’ll find your commitment to the Roundtable useful.

David Armstrong David Armstrong, Executive Director of Content,
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