LOS ANGELES, Aug. 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Cetera Financial Group® ("Cetera"), a leading network of independent firms supporting the delivery of objective retail financial advice, today announced the successful conclusion of its Connect18 national conference, the first-ever gathering of advisors and home office executives from across its network member firms nationwide. The event, which took place August 22 – 25 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, was created by advisors, for advisors.
Designed in partnership with representatives from each of Cetera's member firms – Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, Summit Brokerage Services and First Allied Securities – Connect18 saw 3,500 advisors, home office employees and product sponsors participate in a unique and enlightening slate of networking and learning opportunities all focused on transforming the advisor and client experience to create sustainable competitive advantages. The event included more than 200 breakout sessions, providing ample opportunity for attendees to hear from a wide range of business and political thought leaders, and to meet with professionals from both their own firms and others in the Cetera network.
As part of the event, Cetera announced the upcoming launch of an advisor engagement and equity participation strategy designed to strongly align the long-term interests of the firm and its advisors. It was also announced that Cetera will be rolling out a new succession planning funding program designed to facilitate M&A transactions between independent financial advisor practices, including purchases of advisor practices not currently on the Cetera platform.
Robert "RJ" Moore, Chief Executive Officer of Cetera Financial Group, said, "I am thrilled with the overwhelming response to Connect18, our inaugural annual conference created by and for advisors across all of our network member firms. Connect18 served as an unprecedented opportunity to rally all of our advisors, home office team members and partners around a single big idea: the Advice-Centric Experience™, our dynamic vision for the future of our profession that will empower a fresh approach to attracting clients and delivering the best independent financial advice. Our first ever Cetera-wide national conference not only marks the start of a new phase of growth for our company, but also served as an ideal venue for us to unveil our new advisor engagement and equity participation program. This initiative, unlike any in the profession today, gives advisors a seat at the table, while enabling us to deploy capital from our new strategic partnership with Genstar Capital towards growth opportunities for our advisors."
Connect18 placed a central focus on charitable involvement, as well. As part of the event, Cetera's philanthropic wing, Caring Cetera, highlighted Soldiers' Angels, a non-profit that provides aid to deployed troops, veterans, the wounded and military families. Attendees supported the San Antonio-based national organization by writing letters to troops, donating goods for care packages and making financial contributions. Cetera Financial Group pledged to match donations raised by Connect18 attendees, Cetera-affiliated advisors and home office staff to Soldiers' Angels up to $100,000, resulting in a total donation of $207,000. Home office employees across the country also took part in the give-back initiatives. Letter-writing stations, donation bins and fundraising opportunities were available at office locations and for remote employees.
Connect18's keynote speakers included: Karl Rove, Former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser to President George W. Bush; Barbara Boxer, Former U.S. Senator for California; Tim Sanders, Former Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo; Marci Rossell, Former Chief Economist for CNBC and Co-Host of Squawk Box; Dewitt Jones, National Geographic photographer and Oscar-nominated director; and Rick Rigsby, an award-winning author and motivational speaker.
In keeping with the event's core focus on the Advice-Centric Experience, each general session was based on the theme of Experience as it relates to the advisor, the practice and the client. Connect Central, the gathering place for all attendees to socialize and learn, featured technology stations, mini-theaters and lounges where groups could network between sessions. Attendees also had access to a mobile app for customizing their agenda and connecting online with colleagues, home office staff and strategic product partners. Additionally, the Connect18 conference allowed advisors to earn Continuing Education credit, take the CFP Code of Ethics & Professional Responsibility course and earn their Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) designation from fi360.
Mr. Moore concluded, "Connect18 was such a great success that we have set a high bar for next year's conference. Thanks to the hard work and expertise of our advisors and home office staff, as well as our recent strategic partnership with Genstar Capital, the Cetera family is well-positioned to meet that challenge as we continue to drive sustained growth and an enhanced experience for all of our advisors and the clients they serve. We thank every advisor, as well as our colleagues and strategic product partners who participated in making this experience possible."
About Cetera Financial Group®
Cetera Financial Group ("Cetera") is a leading network of independent firms empowering the delivery of professional financial advice to individuals, families and company retirement plans across the country through trusted financial advisors and financial institutions. Cetera is the second-largest independent financial advisor network in the nation by number of advisors, as well as a leading service provider to the investment programs of banks and credit unions.
Through its multiple distinct firms, Cetera offers independent and institutions-based advisors the benefits of a large, established broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, while serving advisors and institutions in a way that is customized to their needs and aspirations. Advisor support resources offered through Cetera include award-winning wealth management and advisory platforms, comprehensive broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services, practice management support and innovative technology. For more information, visit cetera.com.
*"Cetera Financial Group" refers to the network of independent retail firms encompassing, among others, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Investment Services (marketed as Cetera Financial Institutions), Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities and Summit Brokerage Services. All firms are members FINRA / SIPC.
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SOURCE Cetera Financial Group