This is the continuance of the original Institute of Financial Planning conference following the merger with CISI.
I first joined IFP in 1992 and it was the organisation that had the greatest effect in developing my career in financial services and helped shape my business.
Since then I have missed just two conferences and only because of childcare responsibilities.
The IFP was a great place to develop financial planning and the annual conference was the place to share with other financial planners and learn from them.
There was little competition or rivalry, as members of IFP were only too happy to grow their world.
Some people feel that this kind of community and camaraderie has been lost since joining the larger and more corporate CISI, but to my mind this is more to do with the people making the criticisms than the environment.
There have been downsides to the merger that I will not go into here, but CISI has been on a learning curve and has endeavoured to understand the needs of the ex-IFP membership, and it now recognises inclusion is just as important as financial planning.
This year’s conference has been a demonstration of that, with quality platform presentations, very topical workshops about dealing with vulnerable clients, as well as practitioner presentations.
Awards are hard won and highly respected.
The rest has been up to us: the networking, catching up with friends and making new ones, sharing ideas and best practice.
To me, none of that has been lost and what has been refreshing is meeting up with the young, aspiring and hopeful planners who hang on to our every word.
Financial planning is gaining momentum as a profession and it has been a long time coming.
Change happens, that is life, and it is not always for the best, but usually there is a great deal of good that overcomes the bad.
So I say to those who could not embrace this particular change, give it another try and risk the opportunity of renewed enlightenment.
Marlene Outrim is managing director of Uniq Family Wealth