A new Informa Connect event coming next February will help C-suite executives at established RIAs chart the best path forward in accelerating the growth of their businesses, the company announced.
Informa Connect will host the new “RIA EDGE” event along with Inside ETFs and WealthStack, two of the industry’s premier events for investment management and advisor technology, collectively as “Wealth Management EDGE,” an in-person event in Hollywood, Fla., next February. (Informa Connect is also the corporate home of Wealthmanagement.com.)
While larger RIAs have benefited due to market appreciation, many are considering their next steps as professionally managed businesses, growing intentionally through organic strategies, network affiliations or M&A. Too often, RIAs lack a road map or network for guidance when undertaking an intentional path to growth, according to Mark Bruno, managing director for Informa Wealth Management.
While Informa Connect has previously engaged with wealth management professionals from the investment or tech standpoint via Inside ETFs and WealthStack, Bruno stressed that RIA EDGE enables the company to work with firms from a business and practice management standpoint. The RIA channel is the fastest growing in the industry, yet still highly fragmented. Even so, the blizzard of mergers, acquisitions and deals in recent years is giving rise to an increasing number of larger, growth-oriented firms and opportunities for professional management and new organizational structures.
“By adding the RIA EDGE track, we’re essentially adding an executive track, for people who want to build better businesses, for people who want to structure better companies, hire the right talent and put the right incentives in place. It really completes the conversation,” said Bruno, a former managing director at RIA consultancy and investment bank Echelon Partners, and a former associate publisher with InvestmentNews. “Hopefully, we end up speaking directly to firms, and not just individual advisors within those firms.”
The full EDGE program, which will be held at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Fla., on Feb. 13-16, 2022, will include the release of a new RIA Edge Study focusing on how the most successful and established growth-oriented RIAs operate.
The three-event program will also include the EDGE Consulting Lab, for advisor-focused conversations around topics like firm operations, human resource management and marketing, as well as an Innovation Station where advisors will demo, review and compare wealth technology for their firms and clients.
The new EDGE event will include invite-only workshops and think tanks focusing on M&A best practices, as well as partnerships with established consultants and event hosts around topics like firm valuations, advisor compensation and organizational design.
The three events will be also be integrated with the EDGE Peer & Partner Exchange, a one-to-one meeting app that will help advisors connect with each other and executives at other firms, as well as helping investment managers, wealthtech providers, custodians, broker/dealers and consultants effectively network. Bruno said that in a post-COVID-19 world and with a return to in-person events, attendees would expect more efficiency from organizers.
“You can’t just have an agenda and an exhibit hall and expect it to be effective and worth the investment of time and money any advisor or sponsor would make,” he said. “We’re looking at this as the next generation of events for advisors by putting these together the way we are."
To Bruno, the RIA EDGE event should also speak directly to the executives of mid- to large-size firms who are assessing the complexity of speedy M&A growth in the RIA space.
“What no one is talking about is after the deal; what do you do to bring two firms together successfully?” he asked. “How do you bring together not just the teams, but their technology, and how do you create a culture successfully?”
“An event and experience like Wealth Management EDGE is an absolute necessity right now,” said Greg Friedman, founder and CEO of Private Ocean, one of the industry’s top RIA firms, in a statement. “Leaders of advisory firms need a network and community that can allow us to learn from—and with—one another as we grow through M&A, strategic marketing and the advancements we are seeing in wealthtech.”
“Adding RIA EDGE alongside the Inside ETFs and WealthStack events and gathering the most influential members of the RIA ecosystem under one roof will be a game-changer for the industry in terms of influence, connections, and actionable intelligence,” said William O’Conor, managing director of WealthManagement.com, in a statement. “If you are an advisor or a leader within an advisory firm and you want to grow by design—and not by default—the EDGE community is your new home.”
EDGE is intended to more closely integrate Informa’s Wealth Management Event and Media teams, providing opportunities to distribute content from EDGE to the broader community of financial advisors.
“Our ability to leverage WealthManagement.com’s expertise and universe of over 400,000 financial advice professionals, influencers and decision-makers positions us to create an experience unlike any other in this space,” said Lindsay Tis, brand strategy director at Informa, in a statement. “As we return to face-to-face events, EDGE represents the most efficient and effective way for advisors to maximize their time and guarantee a real return on their investment.”