Perhaps it was the clear Vancouver air, or the friendly greetings of financial advisers from across the world, but little could have been more invigorating than this year’s Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) annual meeting.
I fell in love with Canada’s most beautiful city on my first visit while working as a photographer in 1959, and have been fortunate enough to return many times for both pleasure and business.
This year’s MDRT meeting has been right up there with the best, as more than 11,500 financial planners from across the world were inspired by great presentations from more than 100 speakers, while countless breakout sessions and workshops available meant the record number of attendees had a veritable smorgasbord of subjects from which to choose.
It is hard to think of an area of personal or corporate financial planning that has not been covered by this MDRT. Personally, I tend to focus on areas of general self-improvement, and subjects such as corporate or personal development, marketing and client care.
One of the aspects of MDRT I find so exciting is that even after 45 years of membership, I am still learning new ways to enhance the quality of my life, business or relationships. It is tremendous to be able to discover new ideas to further improve and advance the quality of service we deliver to the firms we serve.
Even just revisiting the basics of planning for success – such as we heard on the first morning from Krish Dhanam – can have a powerful impact.
Born in India, he emigrated to the US in 1984. He reminded us all of the importance of identifying and setting your personal goals and then demonstrated how to motivate oneself to achieve those goals by visualising both the benefits of doing so and the potential obstacles.
We also heard an incredibly moving story from Don Stephens who founded the charity Mercy Ships in 1978 after meeting with Mother Teresa in Calcutta.
Staffed by hundreds of medical volunteers, Mercy Ships provides top-quality medical help to patients across Africa, and healthcare training to thousands of local people.
We also laughed as Frank Miles used humour and juggling to demonstrate how change is good, and that, while we may fear the unknown, if we prepare and learn, we have nothing to fear.
A point that really struck home was in relation to the Retail Distribution Review, from which, undoubtedly, those who prepared and learned have prospered.
MDRT in Vancouver did not disappoint: we laughed, we cried and we learned. I hope to see you at the next one.
Ken Davy is chairman of SimplyBiz Group