Attending the Un-Conference Conference with Eric Woo

Attending the Un-Conference Conference with Eric Woo

The Future Proof Festival is establishing a unique, holistic perspective of financial services by welcoming all to participate. Answering the call is Eric Woo, co-founder and CEO of Revere VC, a startup founded in 2020 to provide wealth managers with a comprehensive, objective ratings framework for venture capital funds. Prior to launching his own company, Eric was Head of Institutional Capital at AngelList, an online venture capital investment platform that participated in the financing of over 190 “unicorn” companies.


Today, Eric leads product development, investment analysis and due diligence for Revere VC, as well as mentoring and coaching the next generation of emerging fund managers. Although he’s a native of northern California, this will be his first trip to Huntington Beach.


In our conversation, Eric explained why the Future Proof Festival is set to be the ultimate un-conference conference, why solid communication is foundational for his business and how our cultural backgrounds influence the ways we invest.


Future Proof: We’re just days away from the Future Proof Festival now. What are you looking forward to about your trip to Huntington Beach? 


Eric Woo: I’ve never been to Huntington Beach, so everything’s going to be new, fresh and amazing. I’m also looking forward to the open air concept, with different nooks and places for you to participate. I think that’s going to be a very new conference concept. 

I’ve done so many conferences. I’ve spoken at conferences and they’re all ushering you in and directing you where to go. Sometimes I just want to hang out a little bit. 

This is like the un-conference, right? It doesn’t feel like you’re at a conference. You’re hanging out; you’re meeting people. You’re going to have a lot more opportunities to find random interactions, compared to the typical conference.


FP: The un-conference conference—I like the ring of that. While you, personally, have been working in the financial services industry for years, Revere VC is still a very new company. Why is now the ideal time to open a business like yours? 


Eric: It comes down to demand. There is a thirst for access to innovative companies. But innovation is very, very hard to buy today. Companies in the public markets are just too mature. 

Today, there’s also better access to the right deals at the right scale. Somebody like AngelList, where I used to work, can provide a curated access fund that’s packaged in a fund vehicle. You can write a $10,000 check and participate in the asset class. That didn’t exist before.


FP: It’s what you call the “productization of venture capital,” right?


Eric: Exactly. We want investing in venture capital funds to be easy to understand. Obviously transparency is really important, but it’s also about the ease of access and smoothing out capital flow. 


FP: What other dynamics go into starting a business like yours?


Eric: I use this word loosely, but culture is really important. It’s a part of the investment mandate. Fifty percent of the funds on our platform have at least one female partner; 50% of the funds on the platform have at least one manager that comes from a minority or underrepresented background.


If you want to appeal to Gen Z, for example, culture has to be a part of the investment decision-making process. A generation of clients is going to invest in something new. There has to be a diversity or an impact component. There has to be a cultural awareness.


FP: You provide your own impact in the industry, by mentoring and coaching emerging fund managers. What do you look for in that cohort?


Eric: If you think about fund managers as the supply, they’re providing great access to innovative companies. I provide coaching in how to express those opportunities in a way that could pass the institutional due diligence process. 


They’re not familiar with that and it’s something they have to develop. That’s where we see ourselves as a critical interface, because we know the language of the demand side.


Then, by sitting in that middle, Revere can introduce the supply side to the demand side—across the spectrum of investors—from individuals to large allocators. We produce a very approachable report that’s got all the benefits of institutional due diligence, but is expressed in a way that’s readable. No one’s going to get lost in the weeds. The output right now is something that looks kind of like a Morningstar rating report.


FP: As a financial services veteran, what message would you like to share with investment advisors who are newer to the business?


Eric: You always have to ask yourself, “Why am I seeing this deal? Why is someone coming to me and asking me for money?” It’s having a sense of caution. This is why specialist firms, like Revere, are having their moment and helping the private wealth industry. We’re leveraging our networks and track record in venture capital. 


FP: You’re co-located in San Francisco and Hong Kong. What cross-cultural benefits does that provide?


Eric: A wealthy individual in Asia thinks very differently than a wealthy individual here in the U.S. At their core they’re both looking for great returns (and they see venture capital as a means to get great returns), but the way they participate culturally is very different.


As an example, in Asia when wealthy individuals think about venture capital they hear about a particular company and get really excited about the company. They want to put $50 million in that one company. It’s a very binary approach.


Here in the U.S. there’s a difference of approach. I’ll get questions like, “How do I build in diversification? Do I have too much exposure to one company? I want something a little bit more risk averse.”


We like the concept of capital coming into the fund manager versus going into a single company. The concept of funding the funder—versus funding the founder—is where we think this industry can start to have some measurable impact.


A million dollars going to a female GP, and that female GP being able to invest in 30 different companies, has a much wider impact than the capital going directly into a company that might have a female founder. 


FP: It’s been a pleasure talking with you and we can’t wait to have you join us at Future Proof this September! What are you most looking forward to about the event? 


Eric: When you think about Future Proof, there’s this triangle of music, technology and the advisor community. It’s bringing the best of these different cultural elements and defining them in a way that’s action-oriented. 

I think we’re going to be surprised by all that we learn from these other components. We’ll be incorporating those learnings into our investment decisions and client portfolios and moving the needle in a way that’s actionable.

John Swolfs Advisor Circle

JOHN SWOLFS

John Swolfs is the Chief Content Officer at Advisor Circle, a product studio for growth-oriented financial professionals. John is responsible for creating dynamic programs for Advisor Circle’s world-class events which include Future Proof festival and Exchange, the world’s leading ETF event.

Register

01.

Future Proof is set to bring together the world’s most prominent figures and emerging minds to explore the intersection of money, tech, culture and impact.

BECOME FUTURE PROOF

Future Proof brings together an entirely new community of financial advisors, institutional investors, asset managers, fintech startups, investors, financial creators, activists, artists, musicians and other key stakeholders around an unprecedented experience and agenda.

The Pro Bono Future of Financial Services with Jon Dauphiné

The Pro Bono Future of Financial Services with Jon Dauphiné

Here at the Future Proof Festival, we’re all about celebrating the potential that the future brings. That’s why it was so affirming to have a conversation with Jon Dauphiné, the CEO of the Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP). The FFP is a charity launched in 1995 with the goal of expanding access to pro bono financial planning for people in crisis or need. 

 

Since Jon began leading the organization, which has now helped more than half a million people, it has developed its own platform for matching advisors to volunteer opportunities, as well as serving vulnerable people, like at-risk seniors, veterans and those fighting health problems, like cancer. 

 

We sat down with Jon to discuss what the future of philanthropy looks like, how the idea of giving back was able to bring fierce competitors together and why pro bono work needs to be embraced by the financial services industry. Here’s what he had to say.

 

Future Proof: We’re going to be hearing from a lot of voices and witnessing a range of talents at the Future Proof Festival. What aspect of the financial services industry are you going to be representing at the event?

 

Jon Dauphiné: The Foundation for Financial Planning—and my own personal stance—is all about giving back. We’re a bridge between the financial services industry and an entire ecosystem of nonprofit organizations that help lower income people improve their lives and attain better financial security. 

 

We like to see ourselves as fostering a movement to bring service to those who’ve traditionally not been able to access it, but who can benefit enormously. I’m hoping to be a catalyst while I’m at Future Proof to get more and more people involved in the movement. 

 

FP: What’s this movement look like? 

 

Jon: We have partnerships with the CFP Board, the Financial Planning Association and with NAPFA, and then we have leaders within the advisory industry that have joined with us. They compete robustly in the marketplace, but when it comes to our mission, they join hands in common purpose.

 

We have competitors representing custodians, asset managers, technology vendors, RIAs, planning firms and more. When we all get together, rather than focusing on the marketplace competition—competition that’s obviously very important and robust—we talk about how we can figure out ways to bring more and more service to lower income households. 

 

FP: What’s an example of competitors joining forces around an objective like philanthropy? 

 

Jon: During the pandemic we realized that most pro bono service was provided with a bricks-and-mortar, face-to-face approach. A lot of the programs that we funded were not super tech-forward. 

 

But we wanted to bring more tech solutions to these engagements, so that they could be done virtually and achieve more scale and impact.

 

We created a tech committee with folks from fintech firms like Orion, eMoney and Envestnet, with leaders from nonprofit partners like CFP Board, FPA, and NAPFA. 

 

CFP professionals involved with pro bono work also joined in the effort, as well as representatives from our grantees who lead the programs we fund. Their advice was invaluable as we conducted research and developed a platform. 

 

Now we’re piloting a tech solution with one of our grantees, a nonprofit out of San Diego. It should conclude in about six weeks and we’ll be offering it to more partners later in the year.

 

That’s just one example of competitors in the industry coming together and giving us their best thinking on how to solve a problem. They don’t wear their corporate badge or hold back on sharing their thinking; they collaborate with each other and with us. 

 

FP: Many pro bono clients talk about the apprehension they have to overcome when first meeting with an advisor. What can the industry do to alleviate that feeling, not just for pro bono clients, but for all potential clients? Why is wealth management so scary to first timers? 

 

Jon: Money is a sensitive topic. For so many people, especially those struggling with money, there’s stigma and shame. There’s a fear that they’ll be judged. 

 

Money’s scary. Not just for pro bono clients, but just for many people, generally. They may feel like they have too much debt or that they’ve made a lot of mistakes. They don’t want to showcase that to a stranger. Even husbands and wives can keep secrets from each other when it comes to finance. 

 

The key here is empathy. People don’t want sympathy; they want empathy. Professionals need to have a non-judgmental and open approach. They need to foster rapport with their prospective client, whether paid or pro bono. 

 

Empathy is especially salient in a pro bono context because a lot of times folks needing financial planning have no personal financial education. They’ve made mistakes. Many are drowning in debt. They have a lot of pressures that perhaps more affluent clients don’t. 

 

It’s very, very important that they don’t feel judged and that they feel they have a trusted partner in their advisor. 

 

FP: We’ve designed the Future Proof Festival to be interdisciplinary. What lessons can the financial services industry borrow from other professions?

 

Jon: One of the true marks of a real profession is when its services become so valuable that it needs to be available across our society, not just to the fortunate few who can afford it. If you look at the legal profession, the medical profession, the dental profession, they have robust pro bono traditions. Because we all know that those are essential skills to help all people at different times of their lives—whether they have money or not.

 

I believe financial advice and planning is like that. It’s reached that level of importance. People need to be able to access it at different times in their lives. 

 

We are honoring the financial planning profession and the skills that come with it when we foster and nourish a pro bono tradition. To me, that’s very inspiring. 

 

FP: It’s very inspiring to all of us. In addition to bringing your mission to the Future Proof Festival, what are you looking forward to about being in Huntington Beach, California, in less than a month? 

 

Jon: On a personal level, I love the beach as much as anybody. I love live music. I love the format of Future Proof. It’s so cool how this is being structured. It feels really fresh. 

 

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to surf, but I’m looking forward to being with the financial services community. I love the forward-looking nature of the conference.

 

You know, I also like the fact that it’s encouraging people to bring their whole self, their musical skills, their own life stories. That’s great. 

 

We’re all really starved for community and being together, in-person. Not just for the sake of learning, but having fun together. That’s what this is going to be about, and I’m really excited for it.

 

The Foundation for Financial Planning leads several national pro bono programs with its nonprofit partners; provides grants to support pro bono programs nationwide; connects financial advisors to pro bono opportunities; makes free training and resources available to volunteers and clients; and raises awareness about pro bono throughout the profession.

 

For more information on pro bono financial planning, or to support the mission of the Foundation for Financial Planning, please visit: FFPprobono.org/donate.

John Swolfs Advisor Circle

JOHN SWOLFS

John Swolfs is the Chief Content Officer at Advisor Circle, a product studio for growth-oriented financial professionals. John is responsible for creating dynamic programs for Advisor Circle’s world-class events which include Future Proof festival and Exchange, the world’s leading ETF event.

Register

01.

Future Proof is set to bring together the world’s most prominent figures and emerging minds to explore the intersection of money, tech, culture and impact.

BECOME FUTURE PROOF

Future Proof brings together an entirely new community of financial advisors, institutional investors, asset managers, fintech startups, investors, financial creators, activists, artists, musicians and other key stakeholders around an unprecedented experience and agenda.

Maximize the Value of Technology Investments by Creating Smart Blockchain Strategies

Maximize the Value of Technology Investments by Creating Smart Blockchain Strategies

Technology lets us monetize almost anything — and blockchain is creating plenty of opportunities. But how do we sort fact from fiction? 

 

Hamiz Awan, Partner & Founder of Plutus21 Capital, a quantitative and fundamental investment firm, was skeptical at first. So instead of focusing on blockchain itself, he’s finding opportunities in the next generation of the internet.

 

“Our entire firm is dedicated to understanding whether there’s actual substance,” he said. “We have no love for blockchain. We just have a love for the users that are coming here and finding real solutions.” 

 

Through proprietary technology and rigorous research, Awan is creating unique technology investment strategies for his clients. The future, he says, holds more disruption that will come not just from software companies, but software itself. 

 

“You’re going to see the first examples of self-driving software, built on neutral platforms, that are going to compete with both traditional businesses and software businesses,” he said. “So we think that this transition to software eating the world is inevitable. And we think that blockchain plays a very important part of that transition. … we’re pretty excited about the potential of the technology beyond just the speculation in prices.”



Adoption is Everything 

 

According to Awan: Technology adoption is not driven by the performance of technology investments, but the performance of technology investments is driven by technology adoption. 

 

“We’ve seen the adoption of the technology go from about 0.1% to today, the estimates are between 5% to 10% of the world population has some interaction with this technology — whether it be on the currency side or pure blockchain technology,” he said. “To us, there’s only one thing that matters, which is adoption. We’re adoption maximalists. We think that the value of any technology is only driven by the number of users that it helps, in the lives that we can improve.”

 

Awan and his team believe in this maximalist approach to technology investing. He’s looking forward to sharing these views during Future Proof, the next generation wealth management festival being held September 11-14. 

 

“[We’re] just trying our best to understand what the world of opportunity is, actually being useful to people, and … trying to build a very thoughtful and long-term portfolio for that,” said Awan. 

 

Future Proof distinguishes itself from traditional wealth management conferences by connecting the worlds of money, technology, culture, and impact. Register to hear more about blockchain, crypto assets, and more. 

John Swolfs Advisor Circle

JOHN SWOLFS

John Swolfs is the Chief Content Officer at Advisor Circle, a product studio for growth-oriented financial professionals. John is responsible for creating dynamic programs for Advisor Circle’s world-class events which include Future Proof festival and Exchange, the world’s leading ETF event.

Register

01.

Future Proof is set to bring together the world’s most prominent figures and emerging minds to explore the intersection of money, tech, culture and impact.

BECOME FUTURE PROOF

Future Proof brings together an entirely new community of financial advisors, institutional investors, asset managers, fintech startups, investors, financial creators, activists, artists, musicians and other key stakeholders around an unprecedented experience and agenda.

Doug Fritz: The Surfing CTO

Doug Fritz: The Surfing CTO

If you’re on the boardwalk at the Future Proof Festival this September and can’t find Doug Fritz, founder of technology consulting firm F2 Strategy and a former wealth management chief technology officer, look out in the water. He’s probably surfing. 

 

Doug operates out of Santa Cruz, California, the other “Surf City USA,” so it’s only natural that the longboarder would draw from surfing terminology, like swell, tides, waves, wind and the impromptu “board meeting,” at various points in our conversation. He’s not the only surfer in wealth technology, but he may be one of the most eloquent when it comes to explaining the parallels between surfing and advisor technology.

 

In both worlds, it turns out, there’s a lot more than meets the eye.

 

Future Proof: For people who aren’t familiar with surfing, they might look at the ocean and think, “Well, there’s a wave that hits the shore every so often, so that means that there’s surf. And it can’t be that hard to stand on a massive 9-foot platform, so I’m going to paddle out.” But there’s a lot more going on in surfing, just like there’s a lot more going on with advisor technology. How would you describe the similarities between advisor technology and surfing?

 

Doug Fritz: Let’s start with what surfing looks like from the land. You walk down to the beach and everyone’s standing around, looking at the surfers in the water. There are waves and the surfers catch one every so often. You feel like you could just jump in the water and join them. 

 

Surfing looks like this blissful thing. Surfers don’t appear to be doing a lot of thinking. They don’t appear to be doing a lot of calculation and preparation and activity. But it’s an all-encompassing activity, even if it looks like you’re just out there, stoned with your feet in the water.

 

There’s so much that actually goes on, in terms of preparation, activity, discipline and an awareness of surroundings. The best surfers have knowledge about the ocean and winds and tides and currents, the ocean floor, who’s around you and the other surfers’ abilities and what you should expect them to do versus what you are going to do.

 

FP: How does that relate to advisor technology?

 

Doug: It’s similar to the experiences that advisors have with technology. They experience technology as a consumer or a professional, which builds expectations around technology. It’s like standing on the beach. 

 

There’s a vast difference between seeing something that looks easy versus being good at it and doing it. There’s so much more depth than most people appreciate. 

 

It’s not uncommon to hear advisors or presidents of wealth management firms get really frustrated with their technology. They’ll point out that they can pick up their phone and book a reservation to Paris in 15 minutes. Meanwhile, it’ll take an hour to answer a client’s question about their money. 

 

But advisor technology is like surfing. You have to practice it, to get good at it. A lot of people just sit there, waiting for the perfect solution to drop into their lap. To make life easy. There are a lot of vendors out there convincing you digital’s easy—and they kind of all suck by the way. 

 

Digital isn’t easy. It takes discipline. You have to get your data right. You have to think about experience. About workflow. When will your client be online? What will that experience look like? What if something goes wrong?

 

It takes way longer, and way more money, to make great technology. You have to pick the things that you’re great at and make sure they’re aligned with your mission and what people expect from you. 

 

FP: The surfing analogy isn’t over yet, is it?

 

Doug: It’s not. You need to focus on what matters. It’s like the tides and swell direction. I’m a longboarder. What do I care about? I care about the tides, because the great longboard waves are going to break on reefs at low tide. They’re going to break for a longer period of time than a beach break. 

 

The beach break’s going to break no matter what. But a great longboard wave is only going to break during a certain part of the day, when the tides and swell direction are right. 

 

It’s intentionality and focus.

 

It’s a good correlation to surfing. Technology and surfing are both harder than they look. And if you focus on a couple of things, you’re really going to make your experience better.

 

FP: There could be another comparison. You describe the role of Chief Technology Officer as a lonely position. When you’re out there surfing, it’s just you, alone. Is that a fair parallel?

 

Doug: A wealth management CTO has to be really good at two things: gaining the confidence of the executive team on the business side and getting the most out of the technology. You’re trying to serve two different worlds. 

 

The best CTOs have to have a business mind, understand the wealth management industry, and also how to push vendors and negotiate contracts. 

 

You end up sitting between two worlds, which is what makes it really lonely. You’re the only one in the organization that has all that information—and all the accountability that comes with information security and making sure vendors deliver on their promises. And you’re left to translate it yourself and get that information to other people. 

 

You’re not necessarily competing against other CTOs. In fact, the CTOs that we work with are phenomenally collaborative. It’s a support group. It feels more like group therapy than anything.

 

To correlate it to surfing, when you’re out there, you’re by yourself. What happens on your watch is going to be on your shoulders. And there’s a ton of people watching. But there’s camaraderie between CTOs. It’s like a line up of CTOs. 

 

FP: I really hope you’ll find some time to catch a few waves at Future Proof.

 

Doug: We talked about that. We talked about doing a “board meeting” in the morning, where we rent some surfboards and paddle out in the morning. I’d love to do a fintech “board session.” 

 

FP: In addition to surfing, what are you looking forward to at the Future Proof Festival? 

 

Doug: It’s going to be different—not one giant commercial for a few firms. I’m excited to hear about innovation that’s actually happening. Three or four years ago, conference attendees talked about innovation as if it was this undeniable, easy-to-achieve thing that anybody can do. That got disproven quickly.

 

There are firms out there doing some really cool shit. Finally, there’s evidence that firms are growing through their use of technology. They’re making good technology decisions. I want to meet the people working in those firms. 

John Swolfs Advisor Circle

JOHN SWOLFS

John Swolfs is the Chief Content Officer at Advisor Circle, a product studio for growth-oriented financial professionals. John is responsible for creating dynamic programs for Advisor Circle’s world-class events which include Future Proof festival and Exchange, the world’s leading ETF event.

Register

01.

Future Proof is set to bring together the world’s most prominent figures and emerging minds to explore the intersection of money, tech, culture and impact.

BECOME FUTURE PROOF

Future Proof brings together an entirely new community of financial advisors, institutional investors, asset managers, fintech startups, investors, financial creators, activists, artists, musicians and other key stakeholders around an unprecedented experience and agenda.

Financial Planning in the Key of Life: Honoring the Human Element

Financial Planning in the Key of Life: Honoring the Human Element

Just as Stevie Wonder recorded Songs in the Key of Life to harness his power and potential, Preston Cherry, PhD, CFP, takes a similar approach with his clients.

 

Dr. Cherry is a certified financial planner and a certified financial therapist — and his favorite album is the Grammy Award-winning Songs in the Key of Life.  Cherry specializes in empowering households and business owners with a trusted place where they can be candid and comfortable sharing their stories and aspirations. 

 

The goal, said Cherry, is to utilize the clients’ unique stories to cultivate financial independence that optimizes their financial resources. This process encourages financial wellness, creating a life wholeness experience.

 

“It’s having that curiosity about who’s in front of us … having that true authenticity,” he said. Truly listening is the key: “It opens up the vault of information that the person wants to share, because they’ve been wanting to share that for a while. And that is the glue in the foundation of the relationship between the client and the planner.”

 

Managing the Human Side

 

There can often be anxiety around money — a topic that tends to be labeled as difficult. But Cherry feels this is a necessary conversation, one that’s a critical part of the financial wellness journey. It’s what Cherry calls an “AAA (Aha) Moment,” which is to Admit, Acknowledge, and Act in a personal financial audit:

 

  1. Admit: Breaking the disconnect between perception and reality to admit where we are in our financial lives.
  2. Acknowledge: After we admit our current financial truth, we can acknowledge how we feel about our reality. 
  3. Action: One primary goal in the journey to financial freedom is to mitigate worry and uncertainty within our personal finances. Acting feels better.

 

Advisors, said Cherry, will not survive without a focus on this human element. “For those that say the human, the human element, or the personal element of personal financial planning has not been there — it’s always been there,” he said. “We are now just realizing the depth.” And now it’s important to respond.

 

Build Financial Compassion 

 

Cherry has over 15 years of professional financial services and academic experience, including comprehensive financial planning, investment management, and evidence-based research. He couples these aspects with his passion for coaching and counseling in behavioral finance and financial therapy

 

“So now we’re starting to see why this is important — the human side of money,” said Cherry. “We have financial psychology as a domain inside the principle knowledge topics of the CFP. Part of the knowledge topics is the CFP curriculum. As an advisor, it’s important to immerse yourself in these resources.”

 

Financial wellness is a public good, he added. “And we need to be focused on the wellness of others, and to be concentrating on uplifting the financial livelihoods of others. If this is our focus, then our practices and advisors will take care of themselves. This is the key.”

 

If you would like to hear more about building financial compassion, be sure to save your spot at the Future Proof Festival in Huntington Beach this September, where Cherry will share his transformational financial planning advice.

John Swolfs Advisor Circle

JOHN SWOLFS

John Swolfs is the Chief Content Officer at Advisor Circle, a product studio for growth-oriented financial professionals. John is responsible for creating dynamic programs for Advisor Circle’s world-class events which include Future Proof festival and Exchange, the world’s leading ETF event.

Register

01.

Future Proof is set to bring together the world’s most prominent figures and emerging minds to explore the intersection of money, tech, culture and impact.

BECOME FUTURE PROOF

Future Proof brings together an entirely new community of financial advisors, institutional investors, asset managers, fintech startups, investors, financial creators, activists, artists, musicians and other key stakeholders around an unprecedented experience and agenda.

Guiding Breakaways and Cooking For The Coast Guard: Brian Hamburger

Guiding Breakaways and Cooking For The Coast Guard: Brian Hamburger

The inaugural Future Proof Festival is just weeks away and Brian Hamburger, chief counsel at Hamburger Law Firm and president and CEO of the law firm’s affiliated consultancy business, called MarketCounsel Consulting, is eager to join attendees on the boardwalk at Huntington Beach, California. He’s been checking the latest additions to the agenda, not just out of curiosity, but to see which of his favorite debate counterparts will also be in attendance.

 

Even a brief conversation with Brian yields stories and insights. His years of experience guiding breakaway financial advisors, merging businesses and assisting in high-stakes acquisitions give him an enviable perspective within the wealth management industry. Yet for all his knowledge, Brian’s welcoming demeanor has a gravity all its own. 

 

Here’s what Brian had to say about the upcoming Future Proof Festival, why “virtual” is a word he’s banishing from his vocabulary (even as he transitioned his firm to being 100% remote) and how the purchase of a boat led to weekends cooking for hungry U.S. Coast Guard crews. 

 

Future Proof: What should we expect to see and hear from you at the inaugural Future Proof Festival? 

 

Brian Hamburger: Is there a karaoke machine?

 

FP: If that’s what you need, I’m sure we can arrange something for you. 

 

Brian: [laughs] Fair enough. If not, expect me to debate David DeVoe on the topic of mergers and acquisitions—but more pertinent than that will be what happens off the stage.

 

The stage is the sideshow at a conference like this. You can expect to see me attending sessions and learning from what’s said onstage. But I’m really looking forward to interacting with attendees at the breaks and spending time with friends in the evening. 

 

With the pandemic and the disruptions that we’ve all had to our normal lives, this is the best opportunity to spend meaningful time with people we care about.

 

I love nothing more than going to a conference where I can be present. It may not be as exciting as David Canter’s guitar or Doug Fritz on his surfboard, but it’s exciting for me. 

 

FP: Let’s talk about connecting with friends. You’ve worked in this industry for a long time and have made a lot of friendships. What is it about a live, in-person event like Future Proof that allows you to connect with others, in a way that doesn’t exist in the virtual world? 

 

Brian: I’ve made a point of getting away from the term “virtual,” because “virtual” sounds fake. Virtual interactions are not fake at all. They can be extraordinarily genuine. 

 

But to me, a well-run, in-person conference is a sacred place. You’ve got this physical forum that provides a place for meaningful interaction—and dare I say—debate and dialogue.

 

When you’re in a physical forum, it’s so much more comfortable to disagree with another person because you can read body language. Debate comes from a place of respect. People you’re debating can see that you’re not being threatening or trying to insult someone.

 

Plus, an in-person conference is still the best way for advisors to test their theories. They can float their trial balloons and see if people think they have crazy ideas or interesting ones. That’s a dynamic that only thrives when we’re physically proximate to one another.

 

FP: On the topic of new ideas, you’ve actually closed your physical office and reallocated those funds to technology and more regular meetings. What calculations went into that decision?

 

Brian: My initial reaction to the success we had with remote working was just to downsize our physical office space. I thought we would create this small workspace, of sorts, where our operations team could work full-time and other employees could just rotate in and out. 

 

The media was talking about how commercial real estate continued to be viable and that people couldn’t wait to get back to the office. 

 

Then I started listening to my team. 

 

This whole metamorphosis caused by the pandemic not only changed our physical space, but who I am as a business leader. When I talked with actual employees, instead of reading the newspaper, I started really harnessing the learnings of my team. 

 

My role is to determine our destination and the standards we keep in order to get there. But I need to recognize that others may have a better sense of which road is best to take. I need to relinquish some control in order to achieve the best result.

 

We had better organizational rhythm when employees were working remotely and distributed. Our absenteeism at meetings actually dropped when we were working remotely. 

 

I have the data to prove it. I can see minutes in meetings and on phones. I can see response times for tickets. The data is there. It tells a story about how productive someone is. 

 

FP: You and your team have been to a lot of conferences. Back when you had an office, you started hanging name badges from conference attendees in your cafe. What was that all about?

 

Brian: Oh man, I loved that tradition. It started by happenstance: we would have people come back from the road and just hang up their name badge in the cafe. We started to display them on wires hanging across the ceiling. There were just hundreds and hundreds of them. 

 

One day I was walking around the cafe with one of our industry partners who was visiting. They looked at the badges and said, “Wow, this looks a little like a college frat house kind of thing.” I responded that we try to keep it casual. 

 

But each of those name badges represents something. Each badge represents one or more nights that people have been away from their family, in the name of representing our brand, growing our firm and contributing to its success. Some of these names aren’t here anymore, but they were still meaningful contributors. 

 

It’s a great reminder. Whenever we go to a meeting or are asked to participate in an event, we’re standing on the shoulders of those who came before us.

 

FP: Now that you’ve moved to being 100% remote, are you recreating that tradition?

 

Brian: On our firm’s intranet we have the equivalent of a trophy case. It includes the awards and recognition that we’ve received. It also includes all of the conferences that we’ve presented at. Not as cool as the badges in the cafe, but it’s still a way to recognize the contributions made by our employees. 

 

FP: I understand you make your own contributions as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. What is that organization and what’s your role there? 

 

Brian: The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is a uniformed, civilian arm of the U.S. Coast Guard and we help augment its capabilities. We also promote things like boating safety.

 

My involvement came from a simple place. I bought a boat and put it in a marina in Jersey City, New Jersey, right across from lower Manhattan. It’s a very busy area, with vessels crossing the river nonstop. 

 

I went out in my boat for the first time and I said, “Holy shit, I don’t know the first thing that I need to know.” 

 

You need to know navigation and protocols. I had young kids at the time and I knew I would be doing us all a disservice by being on the water without knowing more.

 

With the Auxiliary you get ongoing boating classes and education from veterans. I learned quite a bit.

 

Over time, I also found a real collegial group of people and a path to happiness and giving back. 

 

One of my specialties is that I’m an Auxiliary chef. It taught me how to cook for crowds. I love it. 

 

Let’s say a station chef wants to take the weekend off. The crew’s still got to eat. So my colleagues and I go over there and cook for the weekend. Or we’ll head out on a ship and help augment the crew if there’s any kind of illness or if they’re short-staffed. 

 

FP: Do you get to make any of your own recipes?

 

Brian: They have their recipes, but the crew likes it a whole lot more when I come up with my own.

 

I like to be the one who comes in and spoils them a bit. These guys are out on the water working hard. They’re literally saving lives. 

 

If they get to duck in for a half hour and grab a bite to eat, and I can make it a really enjoyable experience for them, that’s time well spent.

 

FP: The Future Proof Festival is all about celebrating differences, a cause you’ve also championed. What problems could be solved by the financial services industry, if it did a better job of embracing people’s differences?

 

Brian: I wish I could give you a quick answer. We’ve been seeking a solution for decades and you can see it everywhere: we’ve got a way of seeing things within the industry that’s way too similar—and not very healthy. 

 

If we could infuse this space with a diversity of backgrounds, of different races, religions, gender. I mean, gender may actually be the easiest one to tackle. I know the statistics on that. 

 

I want to see a real diversity of backgrounds, not just someone being a little bit different. 

 

It’s like boating around New York City. What makes boating so crazy around lower Manhattan is that you’ve got everyone going every which way. It’s not a two lane highway. It makes it interesting. It keeps you on your toes. It’s what allows your mind to get away from static ways of thinking. 

 

We need greater diversity in all respects so that the fabric of what we’re building within this profession is more eclectic and much more interesting. We’ve made some progress. But, man, we have a long way to go.

John Swolfs Advisor Circle

JOHN SWOLFS

John Swolfs is the Chief Content Officer at Advisor Circle, a product studio for growth-oriented financial professionals. John is responsible for creating dynamic programs for Advisor Circle’s world-class events which include Future Proof festival and Exchange, the world’s leading ETF event.

Register

01.

Future Proof is set to bring together the world’s most prominent figures and emerging minds to explore the intersection of money, tech, culture and impact.

BECOME FUTURE PROOF

Future Proof brings together an entirely new community of financial advisors, institutional investors, asset managers, fintech startups, investors, financial creators, activists, artists, musicians and other key stakeholders around an unprecedented experience and agenda.

Amplifying the RIA Value Prop

Amplifying the RIA Value Prop

The true value of fiduciaries is their ability to be a full-service advisor. It’s not just investment management anymore, said Penny Phillips, Co-founder & President of Journey Strategic Wealth, it’s someone who guides and interprets the financial landscape for the client.  

 

“The consumer doesn’t recognize the difference,” she said. “And what I say to advisors is: It’s our responsibility as professionals in this business to educate the consumer. Not only does it help us garner new business, the minute we talk to a client about all the ways we help — cash flow planning and budgeting, philanthropic desires, health insurance, understanding their employee benefits. When they hear all this,  they recognize, they’re not getting that experience at XYZ wirehouse.” 

 

This differentiation should be spelled out to the consumer and embraced by the RIA. A simple way to think of it is: 

 

Be Adaptable: The financial services industry hasn’t trained advisors well on how to adapt to the changing consumer model. As a result, there’s a disconnect that needs to be resolved. Invest time in understanding the changing consumer model and adapt to their new needs. 

 

Be an Interpreter: Consumers have access to an abundance of financial information, now more than ever before. Respond by being a financial “interpreter” — someone who sorts through what will work and won’t work for them. Translate this information to show greater value. 

 

Bring the Value:  Remind the client of the value you bring. Engage with them, develop robust financial plans, and cultivate relationships. Phillips also recommends documenting the outcomes so the client recognizes the value — tangible or not. 

 

Unite Together to Share Advice 

 

Phillips — who has spent most of her career coaching and consulting financial advisors, business owners, and wealth management institutions — is excited to share this type of advice during the Future Proof Festival in September. 

 

“I’m super excited for Future Proof because I think the organizers and folks involved really get something that I have been talking about for a long time, which is this idea of community and creating an experience,” she said. “It’s more than just delivering a specific data point or facts that we want the advisors to know.”

 

It’s about forming a collaborative culture, said Phillips. An experience that allows the attendees to “have control over their own destiny, where they’re able to create their own learning pathways because there are a ton of different resources available to them.” 


Don’t miss Phillips as she shares this message during an interactive panel at Future Proof September 11-14 in Huntington Beach, CA.

John Swolfs Advisor Circle

JOHN SWOLFS

John Swolfs is the Chief Content Officer at Advisor Circle, a product studio for growth-oriented financial professionals. John is responsible for creating dynamic programs for Advisor Circle’s world-class events which include Future Proof festival and Exchange, the world’s leading ETF event.

Register

01.

Future Proof is set to bring together the world’s most prominent figures and emerging minds to explore the intersection of money, tech, culture and impact.

BECOME FUTURE PROOF

Future Proof brings together an entirely new community of financial advisors, institutional investors, asset managers, fintech startups, investors, financial creators, activists, artists, musicians and other key stakeholders around an unprecedented experience and agenda.

Decoding a Zoom Background with Katherine Jollon Colsher

Decoding a Zoom Background with Katherine Jollon Colsher

Katherine Jollon Colsher has an insider’s perspective on what it means to enter the financial services industry today. Katherine is CEO of Girls Who Invest, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing gender diversity—and inclusion—in investment management. Since 2015, the organization has trained and placed more than 1,400 scholars across its summer and online intensive programs in the U.S., the UK and Canada.

In her role, Katherine has seen and heard how the next generation of professionals wants to be viewed in the workplace, even as firms try to address homogeneity within their ranks. She shared why big, difficult goals are needed for an industry that isn’t moving fast enough, how Gen Z is keeping it real with their Zoom backgrounds and how to teach business etiquette to students who spent half their college years studying remotely.

Future Proof: What is the future you envision at Girls Who Invest? 

Katherine Jollon Colsher: Our vision is for 30% of the world’s investable capital to be managed by women by 2030. We’re trying to change the face of investing. We do that through offering education and paid internships to our scholars and long-term career development for our alumni. 

We’re essentially trying to change the talent pipeline that investment management firms recruit from, so that they bring in more diverse candidates. Not exclusively with respect to gender, but with respect to perspective, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, educational background and geographic background. We’re really promoting an individual as an individual.

FP: How close to that goal of 30% is the industry?

Katherine: The industry is at less than 10%. It’s sobering. That’s why we talk about our vision being ambitious. We really need a sense of urgency. We literally can’t move fast enough. 

FP: You work with partners to place your scholars at investment management firms. How aware is the industry that they have a problem that needs a solution? 

Katherine: The conversation around diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging has shifted over the last few years, which has been very positive. 

There has been a tremendous willingness within the industry to be honest and recognize the need to do more. Firms want to bring in more diverse talent and the intention behind that is real. There’s no perfect organization, but it’s clear people want to work at a place that’s committed to evolving. 

Some firms are great at recruiting diverse talent in the beginning, but struggle from a retention standpoint. Some firms struggle more in the beginning, but find success further out. Every company is different. We want to help each firm move from where they are to where they want to be.

Firms will say, “I don’t really know how to have this conversation.” Or, “I know that there’s plenty of people out there to hire, we’re just not as good at it.” The fact that these discussions are taking place is progress, and it’s pretty cool that they come to us. 

That’s why I believe so much in the future, because people are showing that they need help and they’re looking to make a difference, and that’s what Girls Who Invest is all about.

Collectively, we want to be moving past moments of hardship and moving towards moments of inclusion and belonging. Change can’t happen fast enough.

FP: You have the enviable position of working directly with future leaders, before the rest of the world recognizes them as such. What have you learned about the next generation that’s entering the workforce?

Katherine: It’s unbelievably inspiring to work with our scholars and alumni. The world we’re living in is a big responsibility for this generation to bear. 

This generation is more comfortable having difficult conversations than potentially previous generations, whether that’s around compensation or workplace culture. That will position them, and all of us, for success. Because there’ll be more transparent conversations in the workplace.

They also see an important intersection between personal life and work life, even more so than prior generations. There’s no longer a split between what you do at work to make money versus living your best life at home. People are looking to find value at work—and to be inspired. 

FP: How has the pandemic and the acceptability of remote learning and working changed the workplace?

Katherine: Work-life balance is already being reconfigured. There’s no expectation that one has to hide their at-home persona from the workplace. There’s an element of people being comfortable talking about what they do off-hours, which is promising to see. We want our scholars to feel comfortable and safe.

This is a generation that has gone through their collegiate experience or their early career on Zoom. They’re much more comfortable with not having blurred backgrounds, for example, and they don’t see a need to hide their personality as much as earlier generations may have.

The demographic we’re working with has had to adjust so quickly to a blended learning environment and a blended work environment, so they’re ahead of the game when it comes to the future of the workplace. 

They realize that life happens. Some days they might have to attend one of our evening sessions from a coffee shop. They’re not going to blur the background and have the coffee shop hidden, because that’s just the reality of their lives. They recognize that other times they want to blur their backdrop because they don’t want people to see their home environment, because it might be too personal and they feel exposed in doing that.

FP: How do you approach business etiquette for a cohort that has attended classes online for the past two years? 

Katherine: When we talk about “business etiquette,” what we’re really talking about is “readiness.” 

When you’re a rising junior, the business world is new. We try to increase awareness about what to wear to the workplace. How to observe how people interact. If you go out to lunch, for example, how do you handle that lunch? What do you order? What do you not order? Whose lead do you follow? Those are all things that you learn over time, but if no one’s ever taken a moment to talk you through that, it’s a really intimidating environment.

Our women are very prepared for those moments, but they’re also comfortable asking questions and learning more.

FP: The Future Proof Festival is an event that celebrates tough questions. What aspect of the event are you most excited about?

Katherine: We’re huge champions of community and the power of community. The Girls Who Invest alumni population is already approaching 2,000 individuals. I’m very excited about the community that’s being built. 

The ethos of disruption is really powerful. It’s exciting to think about how to do that, because that’s ultimately what we’re trying to do for the investment management industry at Girls Who Invest.

We believe in the strength of bringing people together from all different interests and all different backgrounds. Future Proof is like that by design. It’s intended to be part of the secret sauce and I’m energized by that. 

John Swolfs Advisor Circle

JOHN SWOLFS

John Swolfs is the Chief Content Officer at Advisor Circle, a product studio for growth-oriented financial professionals. John is responsible for creating dynamic programs for Advisor Circle’s world-class events which include Future Proof festival and Exchange, the world’s leading ETF event.

Register

01.

Future Proof is set to bring together the world’s most prominent figures and emerging minds to explore the intersection of money, tech, culture and impact.

BECOME FUTURE PROOF

Future Proof brings together an entirely new community of financial advisors, institutional investors, asset managers, fintech startups, investors, financial creators, activists, artists, musicians and other key stakeholders around an unprecedented experience and agenda.

A Modern Framework to Building Trust in Financial Services

A Modern Framework to Building Trust in Financial Services

Is the industry due for a reckoning after years of eroding trust with the public? Megan Gorman thinks so. The founding partner of Chequers Financial Management, a female-owned high-net worth tax and financial planning firm in San Francisco, says it’s up to firms and advisors to band together and become more transparent.

 

“I would love to see the industry have a point of reflection,” she said. “One of the biggest struggles I’ve always had is we are not a transparent industry. We need to give clients — our consumers — a better way to come into the industry and have transparency. Because, what’s happened over the years is we have eroded trust with the public.” 

 

Trust, says The Current State of Consumer Trust In Financial Services, plays a major role in consumers’ use of different financial services providers. It’s definitely not an attribute the public readily gives away — it needs to be earned. 

 

How? A recent E&Y study reveals consumers want personalized experiences. More than 86% rank their primary financial relationship’s ability to provide seamless cross-channel experiences as important.

 

Gorman’s approach with her clients is similar; she sees herself as a consultant or counselor: “I think we need transparency to make it easier for individuals and families to work with the advising community …  the industry would be best served if we could figure out a way to provide potential and existing clients a way to transparently look in, almost as a report card … [that] we actually execute and here’s proof in the pudding.” 

 

New Viewpoints That Matter

 

Gorman, who spent the first part of her career as a vice president at Ayco, a Goldman Sachs Company and BNY Mellon Wealth Management, will take the stage this September at Future Proof Festival to start this conversion and share her experiences as the industry has evolved.  

 

“We’ve done a really good job as a community in creating conferences, creating groups, and creating networks,” she said. “But what we really need to do to take it to the next level.” The path, said Gorman, gives clients the transparency they need. “Because that will allow people to trust us more, and find that the work that we do really matters.” 

 

This customer-centric approach to advising is a concept near and dear to the attendees of Future Proof, who are registering for the event to be exposed to a broader perspective. Breakthrough, said conference organizers, requires commitment to new frontiers and questioning traditional ways of thinking.

 

Gorman agrees: “You can’t be afraid to learn — and continue learning. The advisor I was 15 years ago … is very different from the advisor I am today. Because the longer you’re in the industry and the more open you are to different planning ideas, the more value you can provide to a client.”

John Swolfs Advisor Circle

JOHN SWOLFS

John Swolfs is the Chief Content Officer at Advisor Circle, a product studio for growth-oriented financial professionals. John is responsible for creating dynamic programs for Advisor Circle’s world-class events which include Future Proof festival and Exchange, the world’s leading ETF event.

Register

01.

Future Proof is set to bring together the world’s most prominent figures and emerging minds to explore the intersection of money, tech, culture and impact.

BECOME FUTURE PROOF

Future Proof brings together an entirely new community of financial advisors, institutional investors, asset managers, fintech startups, investors, financial creators, activists, artists, musicians and other key stakeholders around an unprecedented experience and agenda.

Humanizing Advice Using ‘Time on Earth’ Allocations

Humanizing Advice Using ‘Time on Earth’ Allocations

Christine Benz is bringing her unique approach to personal finance to Huntington Beach, California. Christine is the director of personal finance and retirement planning at Morningstar. She also co-hosts The Long View podcast, where she serves up a mix of practical financial advice and portfolio reviews, while interviewing notable figures like best-selling author Ramit Sethi, columnist Jason Zweig and FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) blogger JL Collins.  

 

Christine took a circuitous path to podcasting and writing about personal finance. Raised in a family of political junkies, she studied political science and the Russian language. After a stint in publishing, she started working at Morningstar in the early 1990s, where she continues to work today.

 

I sat down with Christine to talk about the state of financial literacy in the U.S. (spoiler: “not great”), the recent human-centric transformations of the wealth management industry and how a broken foot led to a new approach to taking time off of work. 

 

Future Proof: The career path you took is going to surprise some of the attendees at the Future Proof Festival. How did you arrive at the intersection of personal finance and investment analysis? 

 

Christine Benz: I can’t even make it seem intentional in hindsight; it was very circuitous. 

 

I grew up in a family of political junkies and was always interested in politics, current events and international relations, so I studied political science. I also majored in Russian, because I had been studying the language for quite a bit of time. When I emerged from college I was not super marketable.

 

My dad had always been an avid investor and knew of Morningstar. It was a rapidly growing company, so he suggested I apply there. 

 

From the beginning I loved that it was an intellectual place. It was an intellectually curious, vibrant place—which I’m happy to say it remains so. 

 

I eventually led our U.S. fund analysis team, but I realized we weren’t talking about broader issues of asset allocation and some of the other things that we know make or break someone’s financial success. 

 

So I went through the certified financial planner program and began to research and work on some of the broader topics of personal finance and financial planning that I focus on today.

 

FP: Speaking of allocation, you remind advisors to pay attention to clients’ “time on earth” allocations. What do you mean by that? 

 

Christine: I like it when advisors think about the resources that their clients have, broadly speaking. A “time on earth allocation” is one’s allocation of personal time and energy.

 

Historically, advisors spent the bulk of their time on allocating household cash flows, allocating savings and apportioning their clients’ investment mix.

 

Time on earth is different. A client might have a job that’s super remunerative, but it’s detracting from their quality of life. Maybe it’s detracting from the time that they can spend with their family. 

 

Advisors can add value in situations like that. They can help their client take a step back and say, “You seem to be on this hellish treadmill where you are at peak earnings, but if this isn’t delivering you satisfaction, can we figure out a way to get you to a place where you’re happier with your balance.” 

 

FP: You’re also an advocate of improving financial literacy. How would you assess the general levels of financial literacy in America? 

 

Christine: Not great. Studies have shown that the general population only gets about half of very basic financial literacy questions right. This cuts across populations; it cuts across the globe. 

 

One thing I worry about is the lower levels of financial literacy among lower income segments of our population. It’s troubling. The less money you have, the fewer opportunities you have to learn and to improve your financial decision making.

 

FP: What can the wealth management industry do to improve that discourse? 

 

Christine: Counseling consumers definitely helps. We need to teach people the importance of being skeptical and bringing skepticism to financial relationships and financial arrangements.

 

FP: You work with survivors of domestic abuse to provide them with financial education. What lessons do you focus on in that setting? 

 

Christine: It’s a broad ranging personal finance curriculum, supplied by an organization called W!SE, which stands for Working In Support of Education. 

 

It starts with very basic budgeting, but gets into investing and saving for college. One thing I’ve found working with these groups is even though most of their questions are about the here and now—like getting out of debt or getting into a home of one’s own—people still aspire to save money for their kids or to have a better life or buy a home at some point down the line.

 

In my time volunteering, I’ve gotten better at familiarizing myself with very basic financial information, like how to deal with credit card debt and how to budget. Those are areas that I probably had an average knowledge about, but volunteering helped me hone my skills. 

 

FP: In your articles and podcasts, you strive to balance the theoretical elements of finance with the human factors of money; money is a tool to achieve something. What are your observations of the financial service industry’s ability to address the human factor? 

 

Christine: Over the past decade or two I’ve noticed a change. We have all become more attuned to the importance of behavioral finance and psychology, in terms of helping people reach their goals. 

 

The wealth management industry, as a professional class, has become much more receptive to human-centered advice. It’s really encouraging. 

 

Concepts like mental accounting and bucket investing for retirement seem to be more accepted by professionals. What matters isn’t necessarily the efficient frontier. What matters is whether someone can achieve their goals and find peace of mind with their plan. 

 

There’s more alignment with individuals and the professional community, which I think is for the better. 

 

FP: Travel is really important for you, whether that’s a trip to Huntington Beach or elsewhere. What is your most memorable travel experience?

 

Christine: I have so many. One trip that really stands out was a trip that my husband and I took to Barcelona. We were renovating our old house and I had broken my foot that summer. I was also working on a book at the time. It was just kind of a hellish summer. 

 

So we went to Barcelona, and just went to that one place for a whole week. 

 

It taught us the importance of going deep on a place and not moving around too much. You don’t have to go everywhere on a particular trip. We know that if we like a place, we’ll come back.

 

I’m also a foodie. Whenever I decide I’m going somewhere, I almost always book my restaurant reservations first. That’s the first thing I look at. 

 

Sometimes I even overdo it. I’ll plan days in advance, look at the menus, sort of hint what I think my husband should have. I make a point of trying to make reservations, because I am not a happy camper if I’m figuring something out on the fly. So I can go overboard, but it’s a fun part of travel for me. 

 

FP: You’re a big music fan, too?

 

Christine: I’m a huge music fan, so I’m excited about the opportunity to hear live music at Future Proof. 

 

I like to stay current on my music and one person who I’m really loving right now is Steve Lacy. He’s just come out with a new record. I really love everything I’ve heard from him.

 

My musical tastes are really broad ranging. I love jazz. I love blues. But mainly I love contemporary music. 

 

FP: We’re excited about the music that will be at Future Proof! At the beginning of our conversation you described your love of intellectual curiosity. What opportunities for intellectual curiosity are you looking forward to at the Future Proof Festival?

 

Christine: I love how interdisciplinary the agenda is. I’m excited to hear from speakers who I might not run into at typical financial planning conventions, and with so many different people I’m hoping I’ll come away with some new guest ideas for our podcast. 

 

Future Proof gets beyond the typical conference that we all go to. It’s bringing in people from different areas—beyond our financial services sector. 

John Swolfs Advisor Circle

JOHN SWOLFS

John Swolfs is the Chief Content Officer at Advisor Circle, a product studio for growth-oriented financial professionals. John is responsible for creating dynamic programs for Advisor Circle’s world-class events which include Future Proof festival and Exchange, the world’s leading ETF event.

Register

01.

Future Proof is set to bring together the world’s most prominent figures and emerging minds to explore the intersection of money, tech, culture and impact.

BECOME FUTURE PROOF

Future Proof brings together an entirely new community of financial advisors, institutional investors, asset managers, fintech startups, investors, financial creators, activists, artists, musicians and other key stakeholders around an unprecedented experience and agenda.

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Content

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Community

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Attendee Experience

Wheel of Impact

Event attendee enjoying the prize wheel

Future Proof’s Wheel of Impact promotes the power of giving in a fun, dynamic and social way. With a donation of any size, attendees can have the ability to spin the wheel, determining where the donation will go and how it will be used. Land on the “mystery” selection and have a chance to win items, trips and other experiences.

Advisor Accelerator Lounge:
Sponsored by FP Transitions

We love some fun at Future Proof, but we know not everything can be fun and games. Stop by booth 405 for a one-on-one consultation with the FP transitions team on all things advisor related. Don’t be shy if you have questions or want to know more about any aspect of running your practice; the Advisor Accelerator has you covered.

All Access: Fitz & The Tantrums

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Join your fellow peers for an all access experience with indie pop sentation Fitz and the Tantrums. This excluisve event is a can’t miss experience for any music fan.

The Grand Unveil

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Future Proof does nothing small. Join us on Monday morning for the grand unveiling of our half-mile beachfront boardwalk complete with activations, meeting areas, multiple stages, and everything else you need to make your Future Proof experience truly one of a kind.

Investable Food Investable World:
Sponsored By Morningstar

The popularity of fine dining has exploded with the rise of celebrity chefs, Instagram, and popular TV shows. But there is more to food than pretty Instagram posts and fancy brunches. Join Morningstar and celebrity chef Charlotte Langley as she explores and educates us on the value of sustainable food. Located on the Surf City Stage, pre-registration is required.

 

https://go.morningstar.com/InvestableWorldChefsforImpact

The Observation Deck At Future Proof: Sponsored by Vanguard

Climb up to the top of Vanguard’s observation deck and take in the aerial view of the Future Proof Boardwalk. The observation deck is not the only thing you will find at booth 1108, stop by the lounge to take a meeting or spend some time with Vanguard’s team and learn more about the value of ownership.

The Hydration Station: Sponsored By
State Street Global Advisors

We have all been to countless industry events and seen hundreds of half-drank water bottles left just about everywhere people sit down to connect. Future Proof is doing away with the plastic bottle altogether. In partnership with SSGA, we are giving every attendee an insulated reusable water bottle that can be refilled at our hydration station. Visit the Hydration Station next to the Hyatt footbridge to refill and reuse.

Looking Good with LinkedIn:
In Partnership with LinkedIn

Are you like the rest of us and cringe at your headshot? Cringe no more. We have partnered with LinkedIn to create a professional headshot studio. Stop by booth 302 to get your next favorite profile photo and don’t forget to enter into the free premium membership draw.

The Tiki Hut at Future Proof:
Sponsored by Logicly

One of the best things about attending the Future Proof festival is all the different settings and venues to connect and network with peers and colleagues. Logicly’s Tiki Hut is a must-see, serving up vacation vibes and craft cocktails for you to sit back, soak up the scene as you relax, and take a moment to chat with your friends at booth 307

The Wall of Influence: Sponsored by Motley Fool Asset Management

If you don’t post to social media, did you really attend Future Proof? Bust out your phone and snap a selfie or group shot in front of the Motley Fool ETFs Wall of Influence and let the community know you the world’s first wealth festival #FutureProofAC

Morning Meditation with Mona:
Sponsored by VRGL

We could all use a little peace and quiet in our lives. Join renowned mediation expert Mona Sharma for a guided meditation and breathwork session to train the mind and body to optimize health and happiness. Join us on Tuesday morning at the Surf City Stage to start your day peacefully. *RSVP is not required; however, those that RSVP will be entered to win a giveaway.

 

Link to RSVP: www.vrglwealth.com/futureproof-2022

Social Audio Experiment: Bloomberg Sports Live

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

The world of sports is more than just the games. In this unique session, Bloomberg Chief Corresponded Jason Kelly hosts financial advisorJoe Mclean and his superstar sports clients for an in-depth look at the changing world of sports and why more athletes are embracing investing and building wealth beyond the court.

Silent Disco: Sponsored by USCF

What is the old saying, dance as if no one is watching? That could not be more true at Future Proof. Relax and lose yourself as you vibe out at the silent disco. Located at booth 402, USCF provides the tunes, and you provide the grooves.

The Future Proof Mural: Sponsored by GTS

No festival is complete without an art exhibit. Future Proof is no different. Watch as Future Proof artist Tony Concep’ genius brings the living mural to life over the 3-day festival. Be sure to stop by booth 400 and tell Tony and Reggie how much you appreciate the art.

RIA Executive Leaders Reception

Monday, September 12, 2022 6:00-8:00pm PT
Pasea Hotel & Spa

Join 30+ executives from the country’s top-ranked RIA firms for a VIP evening reception.


If you are an executive leader (or owner) of a fast-growing RIA firm and are interested in participating get in touch with us today. Space is extremely limited.

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"Future Proof Closing Night Concert" to become "Future Proof Music Festival"

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 4:30-10:00pm PT
The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

The Future Proof Festival experience roles on as we host our annual music festival. This year’s lineup features an array of artists and musicians covering everything from rock classics to hip hop. Come early and stay late sampling the numerous food trucks and bars. Don’t miss headliners rap legend Big Boi and indie pop sensation Fitz and the Tantrums showcase their talents.* * admission is included with your Future Proof Pass.

"Future Proof Beach Bash" to become "Future Proof Festival Kickoff Party"

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort

Relax and unwind as you connect with the Future Proof community, as you enjoy and evening of tasty bites, and delicious cocktails as celebrity DJ, DJ Mick sets the vibe as the sunsets on the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

All Access: Big Boi

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Future Proof is all about experiences. Rub shoulders with Big Boi in this invite-only meet & greet in the Future Proof green room.

Social Audio Experiment:
Invest Like the Best Live

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Recgonized as one of if not the most influential podcasts Invest Like the Best records live from Future Proof. Join host Patrick O’Shanunessy and his guest for indepth look at the markets, investing and the world of business.

PCH Stage

Event attendees listening to a panel discussion

The Pacific Highway stage is the most versatile stage at Future Proof. With countless setup options, the PCH Stage is your go-to spot for industry insight and innovation, all while staying current with the latest trends in money, culture, tech and impact.

Quad A Social

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Ocean Stage

Concert happening on Huntington Beach

As the beating heart of the boardwalk, the Ocean stage will feature seating for over 500 and have the look and feel of a concert venue on the beach. The ocean stage will host a range of exciting content from industry-changing keynotes to the closing concert featuring today’s biggest musical acts.

Social Audio Experiment

Small crowd listening to performer sing

Podcasts are all the rage, as they excite and entertain audiences from afar. Future Proof changes the game, as we invite your favorite podcasters to host their shows live from the festival. Forget passive listening. Future Proof’s Live Podcast sessions allow you to interact directly with your favorite podcast creators as they record live episodes just feet from the Pacific Ocean.

Attendee Concierge: Hosted by Future Proof

You’ve got questions and e we have a dedicated team of helpful staff walking the grounds, and an attendee concierge desk stationed on the boardwalk to help get you answers. Don’t be shy. We are happy to help.

Street Art Meets Street Skate: Sponsored By Morningstar

Perhaps no sport combines art, culture, and athletics more than skateboarding. These all collide at booth 102, where you can watch street artists design custom skateboard decks. Check in with the team from Morningstar, and you might find yourself taking one home.

Coffee Done Right: Sponsored by Morningstar

We all know coffee is the fuel that helps us survive the day, and we all know there is nothing worse than stale coffee in a hotel banquet room that has sat for hours. Grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee throughout the day at any of our high-end coffee carts located throughout the Boardwalk.

FEMALE ADVISOR NETWORK HAPPY HOUR

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Ready to mingle with fellow female financial advisors? The Female Advisor Network Happy Hour is where you’ll want to be!

 

Held at X BAR, this is a great opportunity to network with other women during Future Proof.

Investopedia Top 100 Financial Advisor Reception

Monday, September 12, 2022 5:00-7:00pm PT
HYATT REGENCY CALIFORNIA COURTYARD

Future Proof brings together the best and brightest advisors from across the country. This invite-only exclusive event allows the Investopedia Top 100 advisors to reconnect, share insights and celebrate their achievement of being named to this prestigious list.

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ONYX Advisor Network Meet Up

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Media-Only Networking Reception

Sunday, September 11, 20226:00-8:00pm PT
Monday, September 12, 20226:00-8:00pm PT

Join 25+ key financial media, industry reporters, and other press for a media-only evening reception.


If you are a member of the press and are interested in participating get in touch with us today. Space is extremely limited.

As a member of the press, you will have the opportunity to RSVP for both receptions on Sunday and Monday.

Social Audio Experiment: Bloomberg's Masters in Business Live

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Hear podcast legend and host of Masters In Business Barry Ritholtz for a can’t miss live recording of the most influential podcast covering the world of business.

Advisor Networking Dinners

Sunday, September 11, 2022 6:00-8:00pm PT Monday, September 12, 2022 6:00-8:00pm PT

Maximize your time at Future Proof by participating in a 10-person advisor networking dinner organized by us and industry partners. Held at popular downtown Huntington Beach restaurants, our organized Advisor Networking Dinners will provide you with a one-of-a-kind culinary experience while making new friends and catching up with old ones. Space is extremely limited. Must RSVP.

Health is Wealth: HIIT

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Just because you are away from home it does not mean you need to miss your workout. Start each day with a HIIT beach workout hosted by the Future Proof communities Jess Bost. * space is limited, preregisteration required

Health is Wealth: Yoga

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Future Proof puts a value on your health and ability to decompress from the grind of festival life. Begin your day with a focus on centering body and mind for a day of meetings, networking, and more.

Health is Wealth: Meditation

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Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Set the tone for each day as you take the time to relax your mind, center your thoughts and prepare yourself for the day ahead.

Health is Wealth: Surf Lessons

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We are in Surf City U.S.A – of course we are going to have surf lessions. Whether you are catching barrels are just learning to stand come out be part of the community and tick learning to surf off your bucket list.

Storyteller Series: This Is Not Financial Advice

Sunday, September 11, 2022 6:00-6:30pm PT
The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Investing has become mainstream and nowhere is this better encompassed than in the new documentary film This is Not Financial Advice. Join us as we invite the cast and crew for an open conversation on the mindset of today’s investors, and take a closer look at investing as a cultural phenomenon and show clips from the movie.

FintechX Demo Drop

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Social Audio Experiment:
EYL Presents Market Mondays

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Cultural icons and financial influencers Earn Your Lesuire host their wildly popular Market Mondays Show live from the Future Proof stage. This can’t miss sessions ties together market events and education to help investors be better invested.