In the early days when financial advisors were first and foremost salespeople for insurance and investments products, the reality is that "advisor training and education" wasn't really about finance or advice… it was mostly just about learning how the company's products worked and how to effectively sell them to consumers. But as technology (in particular, the internet!) has increasingly made financial services products available directly to consumers, financial advisors have focused more and more on the business of financial advice itself.
This shift has not only led to ongoing growth of advanced professional designations like CFP certification and various 'post-CFP' designations, but more recently, it has even led to regulators recognizing that financial services professionals should probably have a greater obligation to maintain their educational knowledge on finance and the responsibilities of being a professional advisor. Accordingly, in 2020 the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) introduced a Model Rule for the first-ever CE obligation for Investment Adviser Representatives (IARs) to maintain their Series 65 license after initially obtaining it.
As states then began to implement the Model Rule in 2021 and IAR CE obligations first took effect (in 3 states) in 2022, our Kitces Members Section made our written Nerd's Eye View blog content eligible for IAR CE credit to help financial advisors fulfill the new requirements (while also getting crossover credit for CFP, CPA, and other professional designations and licenses that advisors at RIAs often hold!).
Now in 2023, we're excited to announce the launch of our first-ever "IAR CE Day", a 6-hour live virtual event that will run on August 24th and allow financial advisors to fulfill the entire annual IAR Ethics CE obligation in a single day event (in addition to crossover credit for the bi-annual CFP Ethics requirement, and CE credits for other professional designations as well). While we're committed to maintain more than enough IAR CE Ethics content in our Members Section for Members to fulfill all their requirements each year, we've heard the feedback that many of you would prefer a live video-based event (instead of written articles for IAR CE)… and so for those who'd prefer to see it than read it, our IAR Ethics CE Day is for you!
We've also just launched our latest Kitces Course – "How To Dissect Existing Life Insurance Documents To Ensure Client Coverage Matches Their Needs" – as we continue to expand our curriculum of training for financial advicers on how to really delve deep in the data gathering process and the slew of primary documents that clients are expected to provide but few advicers are ever really trained in what to do with them. Our newest course on Life Insurance Policies adds to our existing programs on reviewing Tax Returns and navigating Estate Documents as well, and we're committed to continue to expand our financial advicer curriculum in the years to come!
This July also marks the release of our latest Kitces Research Study – this time, on Advisor Technology – where we delved deep into literally hundreds of vendors to understand what financial advisors are using (or not), what they actually like (or not), and the trends that are driving the growth of certain advisor technology vendors (or whole categories) over others. The results will be available to Members (and those who participated in the survey itself) next week, with the study available for free to the full advicer community at the end of the summer. In addition, on August 8th we'll be conducting a paid AdvisorTech Trends webinar, hosted by yours-truly and our Kitces Consulting Consortium partner Craig Iskowitz, to provide further perspective on trends and opportunities of particular interest to professional investors (VC, PE, and family offices), strategy teams, and AdvisorTech vendor and platform executives!
In the meantime, we continue to make ongoing investments into the Kitces platform and the Kitces team. The first half of the year saw 4 new hires at Kitces, including new Director of Advisor Learning & Development Patty Stilwell, Digital Content Editor Estelle Di Francia, Digital Engagement Specialist Kelsey Hopper, and Engagement Specialist Claudia Lopez! In the 2nd half of the year and into 2024, we'll also be hiring a new Manager of People & Culture, a Curriculum DesigNerd and Instruction DesigNerd for our Education team, and a full-time Director of Advisor Research. We're also making heavy updates to the back-end of our website, with new systems that should expedite the login process and speed up pageloads and Members Section navigation (yes, we've heard your feedback that the site is loading more slowly lately, and we're doing something about it!).
All in pursuit of our mission: Making Financial Advicers Better, And More Successful, as we continue to execute on providing financial advicers with relevant content across our 4 strategic pillars: Navigation, Education, Research, and Development (and yes, our organizational strategy really does spell out N-E-R-D!). I hope you'll continue the journey along with us in 2023 and beyond!