My attendance at this year’s IFP conference was my first. threesixty has been a regular exhibitor at the event over the years, however, my own team have never trusted me with the responsibility of manning a stand. This year I took that decision away from them.
Having connected with so many IFP members via Twitter, my first venture into social media, I was excited to meet with existing clients, friends and the many people I had never before met in the flesh (meeting some in the pool made this too literal). My only disappointment was that I couldn’t meet with more.
The IFP is collection of advisers who stand for something. It has a philosophy, certainly, but more importantly (and unusually) it has a clear and distinct culture. It isn’t about intellectuality, as many assume. There are plenty of similarities in business models and a belief in financial planning, but a conference of people who simply agreed at this level would be very dull. The people I met had a shared sense of freedom and creativity in their work which is much more important than the sum of their collective qualifications. It isn’t often present in other professions, it is rarely present in other financial services events.
Freedom is expressed through a refusal to be controlled, dictated to, creativity through a desire to learn and embrace the future. I used Twitter to attract IFP members to my stand. That’s incredible for a supposedly outdated profession.
I must have spoken with hundreds of people and it reminded me why we have so many clients who are IFP members, including many of those named in the 25 first Accredited Firms. threesixty has always looked forward, always embraced change and as a small, fee based business, knows the value of spending time learning from similar firms. That’s why I believe I’ll see even more clients at next year’s conference than this one and why IFP is an organisation which will continue to thrive.