Waddell & Reed, Inc. Goes Virtual with 2020 Vision Conference
Affiliated advisors gather virtually for education, updates, camaraderie – and raise more than $80,000 for homeless veterans
Overland Park, KS, June 11, 2020 – Waddell & Reed, Inc. this month pivoted to leverage technology- enabled solutions and create an interactive, virtual annual conference for its national network of financial advisors. The 2020 Vision conference featured nationally known speakers, educational insight, practice development ideas, products/services updates, live music and an opportunity for all to support a national nonprofit, the Veterans Community Project.
“Unprecedented times call for extra effort and new approaches, and it led us to a new way to bring advisors, field personnel and home office staff together for an in-depth, two-day virtual conference,” said Shawn Mihal, President of Waddell & Reed, Inc. “Connectivity between advisors, home office and our strategic partners, especially in the current environment, is of critical importance and remains a strong part of our culture.’
Mihal noted that Vision and its predecessor conferences have been a part of the Waddell & Reed culture for more than 50 years, and the team didn’t want to let this year’s plans for shared content and experiences be slowed down. Home office staffers collaborated, utilizing key vendors and high-level video, audio and web technology to bring a unique, virtual event together. Elements included general sessions, nationally known keynote speakers, breakout sessions on a range of practice development and wealth solutions issues, entertainment and virtual happy hours. Major initiatives from Vision include:
Attendees contribute more than $80,000 to homeless veterans
2020 marked the inaugural year of Waddell & Reed’s Advisor Philanthropic Committee, which each year will select a charitable cause worthy of support during the annual conference. The committee in January selected Veterans Community Project, a nonprofit providing homeless veterans with a place to live, as well as emotional support to address underlying causes of homelessness while working to support health and wellness, education, employment and financial literacy. Throughout the conference, attendees, partners and home office staff were invited to contribute to the cause: they responded with donations in excess of $80,000 across the two-day conference. “Giving back and recognizing the need for community engagement has been a part of our conferences for years. This committee formalizes our commitment and gives us a way to rally support each year going forward,” said Mihal.
Launch of High Net Worth suite of products and services
Waddell & Reed introduced a High Net Worth suite of products and services, designed to meet the needs of more affluent clients and enabling affiliated advisors to offer a holistic, flexible approach to complex financial situations. Through a partnership with BNY Mellon | Pershing, the High Net Worth program includes:
- Lending and liquidity solutions: Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Services; and LoanAdvance™ flexible line of credit.
- Private banking solutions through BNY Mellon | Pershing: Investment credit line and jumbo mortgage solutions.
- Philanthropic and estate solutions: Charitable trust administration; Donor Advised Funds; trust services through partners including BNY Mellon | Pershing, Securian Trust Company, Arden Trust Company and BOK Financial.
Separately Managed Account (SMA) Strategies
New Separately Managed Account (SMA) Strategies, in partnership with a range of institutional money managers, allow affiliated advisors to offer the direct ownership structure, transparency, tax strategy options and other benefits of SMAs to clients who may benefit. “As we continue to adapt and expand our product options, offering broad SMA strategies is a natural extension, as they are highly adaptable and can be tailored to address clients’ specific investment goals and preferences,” said Matthew Reeves, Senior Vice President, Wealth Solutions for Waddell & Reed, Inc. “SMA portfolios can be tailored to issues including tax sensitivity, sector exposure or to reflect personal values, and allows advisors to directly address client preferences.”
Added ESG, tax-sensitive strategies to Guided Investment Strategies advisory program
Further expanded the range of investment strategies available through its Guided Investment Strategies, specifically to broaden options with an environmental, social, governance (ESG) focus, as well as several that supplement as tax-sensitive and income-oriented portfolios. Guided Investment Strategies gives advisors wide flexibility to meet differing investor needs with the option of a range of 86 distinct investment models to choose from, each individually managed by BlackRock, State Street Global Advisors, Envestnet PMC or Wilshire Associates Incorporated.
Registration for the conference was on par if not higher than typical live conferences. Virtual Vision had more than 1,500 registrants in total, including advisors, associates, assistants, partners and home office registrations.
“Our goal with the virtual Vision conference was to maintain as much connectivity and as many elements of our live conference as possible,” added Reeves. “Engagement was high throughout the sessions. We continually look for ways to enhance the advisor experience, while expanding the products, services and technological support that can help them grow their practices. Several of our announcements, from product to practice to philanthropy, were very well received.”
About Waddell & Reed
Founded in 1937, Waddell & Reed, Inc. is one of the oldest financial planning firms in the U.S., providing total planning services to clients throughout the United States through a network of independent financial advisors. It is a subsidiary of Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. (NYSE: WDR).