Paris, Plans and Plenty of 401(k) Fun

Feeling left out at industry events? You’re not alone. Luckily, a major meeting specifically for 401(k) advisors by 401(k) advisors is rapidly approaching, complete with top industry experts and a magical sounding ‘Beer Park’

401k conference, retirement, Las VegasVegas, baby.

401k advisors need a conference to call their own.

Sure, there’s the NAPA 401k Summit, and we can throw Fi360 into the mix—sort of. But other than smaller regional conferences, that’s it.

401k-related topics that are geared specifically to 401k advisors are typically tacked on to major national conferences as an afterthought (think Schwab Impact and Morningstar Investment Conference). That’s right, a business with $5 trillion in assets, 55 million  active participants and millions of former employees and retirees is an afterthought.

Not anymore.

Ross Marino and his crew at Rekon Intelligence are busy with the final touches for Excel 401k: The Advisors’ Conference.

Hosted this year at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, October 22 – 24, 2017, Rekon organizers have done just what they say, organize a fun and extremely informative event geared to issues 401k advisors face daily, as well as those just over the horizon that will materially impact the advisor’s business.

401k Specialist has partnered with the Excel conference as the exclusive media sponsor to cover all that will happen (check that—not all, it’s Vegas) both in print and online.

We’ll have our cameras set for live interviews with attendees and experts, and more importantly, we’ll reveal the 2017 Top Advisor by Participant Outcomes (TAPO), the finalists of which are featured here, at the opening general session.

After a busy year of sifting through fantastic stories about the steps 401k advisors are taking to ensure successful participant outcomes, we’ve chosen the best of the best, and it’s time to highlight and celebrate their achievements. The finalists will be on hand (and participating in breakout sessions) to share their ideas and expertise for the benefit of attendees and their practices.

If you haven’t attended a Rekon event by now, you’ve probably at least heard of one. Since 2010, they’ve hosted more than 800 events for over 22,000 advisors. It’s given them unique insight into what advisors specifically want.

They realize there’s a whole lot of conference choice (though not for 401k), and resources are precious, so when an advisor takes time from their busy schedule to attend, they absolutely make sure they deliver.

It’s an eclectic agenda with something for everyone. Last year saw the aforementioned Fi360’s Blaine Aikin discussing the fiduciary rule with Wagner Law Group’s Tom Clark and Pentegra’s Pete Swisher at the opening session, while Plan Design Consultants’ bearded boss-man J.D. Carlson held court for a live taping of his riotous Retireholi(k)s  web cast on the exhibit hall floor, complete with trucker hats that read “Your TPA Sucks” across the front.

As we said—eclectic.

This year features the Top Advisor TED Talks and panels, Action Plan Workshops and Super Sessions for which the conference is known.

The speaker list is (of course) a who’s who of industry personalities, including Skip Schweiss, Chuck Hammond, Rebecca Hourihan, Jason Chepenik, Kristina Keck, Don Trone, Bill Chetney and many more. They’re all deeply dialed-in to the 401k-advisory industry and looking to engage with peers.

And Vegas being Vegas, there’s plenty of parties.

There’s the opening night kick-off at BeerPark (yes, such a magical place exists) with pub games, football, heavy hors d’oeuveres and an open top-shelf bar.

The Women in Pensions Network (WiPN) will host a women’s cocktail hour at The Eiffel Tower. Eat, drink, and be merry with some of the leading ladies in the 401k industry at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. Great views and great conversations await (as long as you’re a lady).

Jim O’Shaughnessy and Pete Swisher kick it all off on Monday Oct. 23 with “The Future of the 401k Marketplace,” where they’ll discuss the dizzying pace of change on all fronts—legislative, regulatory, technological, and competitive.

“This session begins with an up-to-the-minute review of the changing landscape and ends with predictions for the future of the retirement industry, and in particular the job of advising retirement plans,” according to organizers.

Mark Singer, founder of Financial Literacy Toolbox, will tackle financial wellness shortly thereafter.

Singer initiated a groundbreaking study to identify how advisors can better connect with plan participants, not only to help them reduce their stress, but to find opportunities to build the advisors’ business. He’ll share the results.

Gene Huxhold, senior managing director for Investment Only Retirement Plans at John Hancock Investments, will present the “The Impact of Professional Retirement Plan Advisors on the Costs of an Aging Workforce.”

Huxhold will run through a plan sponsor and CFO study recently completed by the Retirement Plan Advisor Council, of which John Hancock is a founding member. It focuses on the costs associated with an aging workforce and the positive impact that the retirement plan advisor has on those costs.

Jane Murphy with Acceleration Retirement will host “How To Manage Your Practice and Have Time To Grow Sales,” which might be kind of important for advisors in attendance.

Health Savings Accounts are of course a hot topic and will be covered on Monday.

Trust Builders president Ed Dressel clues attendees in on how to “Create More Income Through Better Outcomes – Increase AUM with Retirement Readiness Solutions.”

We could go on and on, but it’s just a sampling of the roughly 100 sessions available to attendees—all geared specifically to advisors in the 401k space.

We’ll see you there.

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