Joel Bruckenstein and Bob Veres part ways to do their own conferences

Veres sees a glut of conferences but has a passion to change that with a new-concept event

Monday 11.26.12 by Brooke Southall

Bob Veres and Joel Bruckenstein have chosen to go separate ways and end their brief co-promotion of conferences.

The two thought leaders from San Diego, Calif. and Miramar, Fla. respectively sat down after their last conference and decided to part ways.

“Their expertise was not what we wanted to do,” Veres, publisher of Inside Information, says.

Joel Bruckenstein, producer of the T3 conferences, agrees that it was an amicable split.

“For me, the theory was that there are some advisors who are interested in technology, but perhaps not enough to attend a full three day technology conference like Technology Tools for Today (T3),” he says. “As things turned out, some better pure technology opportunities came along that we could not pursue because of the time Dave and I were devoting to BWMF. Dave and I decided that were better off devoting our resources to more pure technology/practice management activities. That’s exactly what we’ll be doing in 2013…focusing exclusively on what we do best.” See: What Messrs. Bruckenstein, Drucker and Veres cooked up in a Chicago airport hotel.

One glut, no conflict

With no conflict of vision, Veres is planning his dream conference of advisors. Despite what he views as a “glut” of events for advisors, he believes he can build an agenda and roster of speakers that can satisfy the kinds of advisors who walk away from events with a sense of general dissatisfaction — and who other conference organizers find to be too high maintenance to be worth serving.

“Here is a category of senior, experienced advisors who don’t learn very much from the presentations at the established national conferences because they’ve been around long enough to know the basics. These people are looking for much deeper, more sophisticated material, which, of course, is much harder to provide. These advisors are our constituency.”

Veres was the editor of Financial Planning magazine from 1982-1989 before embarking on Inside Information, his newsletter, ever since.

If anyone can pull this un-conference off, it may be Veres, according to Philip Palaveev, CEO of The Ensemble Practice. See: Philip Palaveev hangs out his shingle with a new consulting model for RIAs and a money-back guarantee.

“Unfortunately too many conferences lack any sense of community or belonging; there is no unifying idea or sense of belonging and they create little exchange of ideas. Often the same speakers make the same presentations over and over and over again (often using the same opening jokes). Advisors eventually give up on that,” he says. “I think Bob is very good at creating the sense of an idea and an ideal — he is passionate and principled and that tends to unite the people who follow him and create a community. Not everyone agrees with Bob but those who do feel like they are part of something good. Bob also tends to be provocative thinker and invite provocative thinking to his forums and that always results in exchange of ideas and learning.”

Philip Palaveev:  Not everyone agrees with Bob but those who do feel like they are part of something good.
Philip Palaveev: Not everyone agrees
with Bob but those who do
feel like they are part of
something good.

It’ll take place at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas Sept. 17-19. Philip Palaveev, Rebecca Pomering and other thinkers will help lead sessions. Most advisors will pay about $600 for admission. See: Why the Moss Adams-Rowling Dold merger came apart despite looking picture-perfect on paper.

CEO, CFO and COO tracks

Veres plans to create tracks at his conference for CEOs, CFOs and COOs with material that is nitty-gritty enough that it wouldn’t appeal to the dabbler.

“The idea is that it’s the key decision makers at every level in the best firms,” he says. “...“We hope to attract the key decision-makers at several different levels of the best firms, and provide them not only with great cutting-edge information, but also give them a chance to network with the relative handful of people who are operating on their level.”

Another objective that Veres has is to get out of moderator mode and out onto the intellectual playing field.

“At the last conference, I moderated seven panels and four in a row. My plan is to become more integral than a moderator is.”

The other way that Veres plans to differentiate his event is to have exhibitors that he believes are truly unique and helpful to RIA practices.

“It leaves out big-booth habitats but it’s somebody who can do something for advisors’ practices — like MacroRisk Analytics or HiddenLevers. See: MacroRisk Analytics makes Ph.D.-grade economic insight almost RIA-friendly.

Veres believes that he is ready for producing his first event on a solo basis. He learned much from Bruckenstein (and his partner, David Drucker) and has found a new primary partner, his wife, Jean Sinclair, to sweat the details so he can focus on the program. Sinclair is a planner in San Diego. Veres met her at a financial planning conference and she has experience as an organizer — having run various advisor conferences before.

Bob Veres | Joel Bruckenstein | Philip Palaveev | Rebecca Pomering

Ensemble Practice | MacroRisk Analytics | HiddenLevers