I’d like to thank everyone who participated in FinFair 2015, Wall Street’s inaugural crowd-centric retail alternatives conference.
I launched FinFair because I wholeheartedly believe we are at a seminal moment in American economic history where the confluence of technology and regulatory easing are staged to deliver greater investing freedoms to the general public and instill a new culture of FINancial FAIRness.
When I started conceptualizing the framework for a “retail financial products” conference in early 2015, I really wasn’t quite sure how well it would be received. Despite the remarkable amount of financial, regulatory and technological ingenuity I saw occurring in the sector, I worried that Wall Street may have become too complacent servicing institutions to even take notice of a mounting yield-starved retail audience. I wondered whether the financial establishment was ready to bank on a new generation of micro-investors, or if it made any business sense whatsoever to produce an event highlighting an asset class that no one ever heard of.
But given the nation’s harrowing wealth disparity and its looming retirement crisis, I concluded that it was too important of an event not to organize, and it was certainly a personal financial risk worth taking. Planting the seeds for a prospering and just economy simply overshadowed any anxiety over ticket and sponsorship sales. In fact, it made the economics of one event seemed petty and insignificant.
Now that I have had some time to reflect on the sessions and observe FinFair’s aftermath, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my decision.
Firstly, FinFair provided me with a once in a lifetime opportunity to moderate a panel of Wall Street legends who collectively embody more than 200 years of IPO experience, and who took some of the world’s most iconic companies public. Their recollections of Wall Street as a “people business” where everyone helped one another set the tone for the remainder of the conference. Henceforth, the theme of “relationships” resonated throughout the day’s networking conversations, panels and presentations.
Some of my key takeaways from FinFair 2015 include:
- Despite all of the technological achievement, Wall Street remains a relationship business.
- In addition to significantly extending investor reach, technology is being used to complement – not replace – the traditional sales process.
- Technology will also be crucial in mitigating issuer costs.
- Blockchain technology will impact how securities will settle and clear.
- Marketplace lending typically produces greater returns than high yield bond funds and with less inflationary risk.
- Most of the retail capital is contained in advised accounts and has, for the most part, not been available for private securities. This is changing.
- Online finance platforms turn down 90% of deals that apply.
- Reg A+ is inspiring a tremendous amount of fixed-income product ingenuity.
- In the coming years, $30 trillion in assets will transfer to Gen X and Y. This new generation has a completely different perspective of banking, investing and asset managers.
- Financial advisors will be missing the boat if they don’t see the value proposition of Reg A+ or understand how millennials invest.
- We are not in a FinTech bubble … yet. IPO pops today are incomparable to 2000 (averaging an 88% pop today versus 500+% back then). Current opportunities for value creation from disruptive tech companies remain at all-time highs.
FinFair not only broke new ground with the introduction of the latest financial technologies, apps and investment products, it ended up garnering enthusiasm from the most unexpected places such as robo advisors and some of the largest alternative asset managers in the world. The outpouring of support and interest I continue to receive from both the financial establishment as well as the FinTech community has exceeded all of my expectations and has led me to my most significant takeaway: Wall Street is not only ready for, but is welcoming of a retail financial products conference.
As a result, I am happy to announce that the FinFair Conference will be held in New York City again next year. We will be expanding the program to include many of these additional players along with specialized workshops focused on helping financial advisors, CFPs and RIAs grow and maintain alternative assets under management.
The date for the second annual FinFair Conference will be officially announced in due time. In the meantime, please feel free to visit www.finfairconf.com to read FinFair’s ongoing media coverage.
Power points can be downloaded on slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/FinFairConference.
FinFair videos are continuously being added to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/daraalbrightevents/videos. Feel free to watch at your leisure.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
Dara Albright, FinFair Co-founder