Global Communities and Redemption

During the recent global financial crisis there were many predictions that live events, whether they were conferences or large expositions, would not recover until 2012 at the earliest, based on the fact that they are considered trailing indicators of a recovery. Historically this has been tied to the commitment and reservation process. Professional communities, though, have proven much more resilient in 2011 than forecast. They have demonstrated again that in our online world live events that bring them together to discuss challenges and opportunities with their peers, as well as with experts and providers of products and services, are very important to them.

Asset International’s global conferences are a very important part of our growth strategy and provide us with the opportunity to bring together financial professionals and the partners that provide them with the products, tools and services that are essential to their profession. This past week Nevin Adams, Alison Cooke-Mintzer and other members of the Plan Sponsor team, including Charlie Ruffel, the founder of Plan Sponsor and a board member of Asset International, produced an outstanding event for the U.S. Plan Sponsor community. Once again it was held at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago, where Asset Internationals Carol Popkins and her team made certain that the event logistics lived up to their promise and provided an excellent venue for the attendees. Foster Wright and our sales team insured that our sponsors received appropriate recognition and were able to meet with their clients in an excellent environment.

As we move further into the year, we have the following lineup of events between now and October:

Strategic Insight Fund Trends 2011 June 27-28
This event will be produced by Avi Nachmany, Loren Fox and other members of the SI team. It is a one and a half day event and will be held at Chelsea Piers. Bill Dwyer, President of LPL Financial, will deliver a keynote address.

Plan Adviser National Conference September 12-14
This is the premiere event for the Plan Adviser community and Ali and Nevin will team, once again, to produce it in Orlando, Florida. It has clearly established itself as the major event for advisers in the U.S.

aiCIO Summit September 22-23
After an outstanding event in New York City in May, Kip McDaniel and his team will hold our 2nd annual event in London. The aiCIO Summit Series has established itself as a must-attend event for chief investment officers globally.

Plan Sponsor European Conference October 25-27

Nevin Adams will team with Katherine Blackler to launch this event in Barcelona, Spain. It will be held at the Hotel Arts. I am confident that this will become the premiere retirement event in Europe. This event is supported by the strong presence we have developed in London for aiTrade, Global Custodian, Strategic Insight and Plan Sponsor Europe. In the late Fall we will be moving into new office space in The City, which will allow all of Asset International’s London employees to be together.

Professional and Political Golf

Last August I wrote in Changing of the Guard & Inspiration, The generational challenge has been laid down to Tiger Woods by the Irish golfer Rory McIlroy, who on May 2nd, just before his 21st birthday, ran away from the field at the Quail Hollow Championship.

McIlroy appeared poised to win his first major tournament in April at The Masters. He entered Sunday with a commanding lead, but then suffered one of the worst collapses in Masters’ history. He shot an 80, which was the highest score by the leader on Saturday since 1956, when Ken Venturi also shot 80 and lost to Jack Burke by one stroke. McIlroy was looking for redemption at the 111th U.S. Open this week at the fabled Congressional course in Bethesda, Maryland. He once again took a commanding lead into Sunday and this time found redemption and his first major tournament victory, winning by a commanding margin at 16 under, 8 strokes better than Jason Day of Australia. With McIlroy only 22 years old and Day just 23 years old, a generational transition has taken place in professional golf. In the process, McIlroy set or tied many U.S. Open records.

Finally, in the spirit of the U.S. Open being held in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area this year, President Obama several weeks ago extended an invitation to Speaker of the House John Boehner. They partnered to take on Vice President Biden and Governor John Kasich, a Republican from Ohio, Speaker Boehner’s home state. They played at Andrews Air Force Base. Scores were not revealed, but the Obama/Boehner team won $2 each from Biden/Kasich. While this outing may not turn out to be the start of a relationship like the fabled relationship between President Ronald Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, it did demonstrate that both parties are starting to understand that there needs to be a bipartisan approach to many of the challenges that face us today.