3+ Things We Learned At FutureProof 2023

Is Crypto Creaking?

Last year it seemed as if everyone at FutureProof was primed to go with crypto. They were just waiting for the big boys to bite assuming that once they did the opportunity gates would fly wide-open. Well, the big boys bit and…umm…crickets.

The excitement has seemingly passed and now the big guys are left to advocate for the future of crypto (and their investments).  What would help?  In the lone crypto session, Jan Van Eck, CEO of Van Eck suggested the future of crypto might rely on government acknowledgment (read: regulation).  So are we left to root for rules and oversight?  Van Eck also noted that change is unlikely to come until a Republican regains the White House – though Jason Ward of Fidelity noted that the current administration had done more for crypto than they get credit for.

AI Ain’t Here (Yet)

I came to FutureProof with a goal of seeing AI in action and for the most part real functionality was still in the “it’s coming soon” phase.  Rest assured there are lots of great ideas in the pipeline and paths are being carved, but little that advisors could useright now.  

One exception was over at Orion and we’ll have a full interview with Brian McLaughlin in the new episode of The FA Show, our collab with AdvisorHub. Their tool that mines prior text message interactions for suggested language hints at how AI can streamline processes (and the fact that it is looped in with RedTail’s compliance should help give comfort that the next text you send won’t be your last).

Maybe next year we’ll see the real influence of AI…

The Influence of Influencers

Morningstar hosted a very well attended session about reaching potential clients under the age of 45 with Tori Dunlap, a New York Times best-selling author, investor, podcaster, and true social media star.  With 1.2 million followers on Instagram and a self-reported audience of over 4 million women, few people have the impact that Tori does on the potential financial health/wealth of so many.  So here’s the rub, she isn’t “certified.”  One attendee mentioned to me that she wished she had the ability to say what Tori says, but compliance makes it impossible.  Who do you think has a louder voice? Do people seeking advice see/understand the difference?  Will we ever have a regulated financial advisor become a true social media star? 


Betterment Retail Investor Survey 2023

65 percent of Gen Z and 55 percent of millennial respondents said they took financial advice from social media compared to just 31 percent of Gen X investors and 4 percent of boomers.

BONUS: Is Hip Hop the soundtrack of our industry?

Hip-hop music and culture turned 50 this year and it influences our industry more than you might think.  FutureProof speaker Daron K. Roberts (we’ll have an interview with him too on the next FA Show) described the conference as “SXSW meets Burning Man” and music has been looped into the conference since its launch last year.  A mini music festival highlighted Tuesday night with sets by the Easy All Stars, G. Love, and closed out by Method Man & Redman.  

The excitement with which the headliners were received – and the familiarity the crowd seemed to have with their catalog – hints at the level of influence hip hop has had on society and yes, people in the wealth management industry in the last half century.  Last year’s concert was headlined by Big Boi of the mega popular rap group Outkast and his set too was raucous and excitedly received.

More than music, fashion – specifically “sneaker game” seems to be growing in terms of the preferred way to expressing personality as conferences become increasingly more casual.  Morningstar even featured painted sneakers as part of their booth this year (last year it was skateboards).

Be sure to follow for details on the premier of episode 28 of The FA Show with more FutureProof coverage and interviews, including some useful tips on social media from Tori Dunlap, and views on doing pro-bono work from Michael Kitces.

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