The financial services industry has been experiencing an ongoing series of waves of creative destruction for the last several decades, driven by the impact of the adoption of technology in every facet of the business. Insurance, financial advising, wealth management, and banking have all been impacted by advancements, both from traditional IT, and from newer factors like FinTech and InsurTech.
There are many businesslessons that CPAs, Insurance professionals, wealth managers, and investment bankers can take from the experience of the U.S. Military in sensing and responding to very similar rapid change in the types of weaponry employed and the types of battles that it’s expected to fight.
Below are summaries of some of these lessons that we like to impart when doing financial keynote speeches at annual meetings, sales meetings, or in front of any crowd that is highly motivated to incorporate learnings from the military into their repertoire:
Financial Services Keynote Speech
Wealth Management Keynote Speech
FinTech Keynote Speech
Commercial and Mortgage Banking Keynote Speech
Investment Banking Keynote Speech
CPA Keynote Speech
Insurance Keynote Speech
Financial Services Keynote Speech
With the rapid changes taking place in the financial services industry, Financial Managers are more challenged than ever to find ways to adapt to digital transformation while continuing to provide outstanding client service. The best financial advisors in the business are not concerned by threats like robo-advisors, Robinhood, and other democratization of investment because they build great teams which allow them to focus on servicing the needs of their existing client and generating referrals for a steady stream of new business.
Much like a fighter pilot leading a formation of four aircraft into a hostile environment, the best financial advisors recognize that one fighter pilot cannot win the war unless her entire team is flying in formation. In the world of aerial combat, this team includes military intelligence to accurately analyze and evaluate the threats, maintenance people to keep the jets fueled serviced and all systems running perfectly, as well as AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) to provide big picture radar support and identify friends and foes. In the world of wealth management, a financial advisor (FA) must coordinate a team of analysts, portfolio managers, marketing, compliance, and partners to be most effective. In both of these worlds, communication is paramount to leading these teams in successful missions.
One of a fighter pilots most effective tools to lead a team is called “The Feedback Loop.” The Feedback Loop is a regular system of Briefing and Debriefing to ensure that the team is aligned, flying in formation, and embracing a culture of continuous improvement. Once the leader of a financial services team has put a strategy in place, it’s all about execution of the strategy to grow the business and provide outstanding client service.
Successful Financial Advisors will Brief with their teams daily, weekly, and before key client meetings and events to make sure that the team is aligned, flying in formation and crystal clear on objectives and desired outcomes. High performance teams will then Debrief at the end of the day, the week, or the meeting to discuss their results versus the previously briefed objectives. During the Debrief they cover what worked, what didn’t, and key lessons learned for individuals and the team. Debrief is also an effective way to agree on next steps, who will own these steps and make sure that the team is executing against their strategy.
For Fighter Pilots, Debrief is a safe environment where our leaders set a tone that it’s ok to share success and shortcomings without fear of reputational risk. While the Debriefing environment does not ultimately remove the hierarchy of the military, it is a “safe zone” that drives a culture of continuous improvement. This “safe zone” that we call Debrief is a golden opportunity for Financial Advisors as well. Even though Financial Services team members do not wear rank on their shoulders, most advisory teams are very rank conscious and often have reservations about providing honest feedback to their peers or their principals. In the cutthroat world of financial services where the difference between winning and losing significant assets is razor thin, failing to create a safe environment for honest feedback can mean the difference between a top quartile firm and an “also ran.”
Mach 2 Consulting has over 20 years of experience working with Financial Services Teams to help them improve communication, create a culture of alignment, and drive better results for their clients. Please contact us to learn more about our combat proven financial services keynote speeches and training programs.
Wealth Management Keynote Speech – Financial Advisor Keynote Speaker
Wealth management advisory involves offering different services to a wide variety of clients spanning from wealthy to even ultra-rich individuals and families around the world. There are also some clients who may consider themselves as being in the upper middle class. In simple terms, wealth management and financial planning refer to financial planning services which are offered by professionally trained wealth management advisors. They offer advice on how wealth can be accumulated through investment, and what legal forms and strategies should be employed to protect wealth.
Wealth management and financial planning advisors are able to create a comprehensive portfolio management plan with investment recommendations to suit every individual. They advise their clients to diversify their investments by investing in assets such as bonds and stocks and mutual funds, as well as in real estate properties and franchises. They help them build up a level of safety capital that will ensure that their financial situation does not spiral out of control and ruin their financial status. Wealth managers also help them reduce their current debts by negotiating with their creditors in order to reduce their interest rates, monthly payments, and other costs that often accumulate over time.
Financial advisors play an integral role in wealth management. They ensure that their client’s assets are protected, provide advice on creating a solid retirement plan, and help manage wealth for clients who are unable to manage their own investments. Financial advisors also help their clients create a comprehensive financial plan, assist with estate planning, provide investment advice, and serve as consultants for wealth management companies.
Financial advisors are much like intelligence analysts planning a military strike mission – they have to consider competitive trends, market conditions (analogous to the weather), goals and objectives of the mission, and the client’s appetite for the risk involved in achieving mission objectives.
Wealth management firms face a number of challenges today – fee compression, aging of advisors, requests from clients regarding new types of investment including Bitcoin and NFTs, and so forth. Similarly, the US military faces an increasingly thinly staffed pilot and maintenance workforce, new threats from near-peer competitors (such as hypersonic weapons) and increasing costs of successive fighter jet platforms.
For both types of organizations, recruiting and training are the key to success; getting the right people in the door and getting them trained in the “doctrine” of the organization ensures they can be turned loose and will make decisions on the ground that are in concert with the organization’s preferred strategy and operational philosophies. Like in the Military, good training is a building block to creating a great team. Financial Advisors and their teammates who are well trained, and who embrace the same values will work in unison to provide outstanding client service. They will also avoid getting stuck in silos which allows cross selling of products and solutions so that they are always thinking of the best solution to meet their client’s needs. This is their role as a fiduciary and will ultimately lead to happy clients. Happy clients are much less likely to push for fee compression, will stick with their financial advisor for life and provide referrals over the term of the relationship.
FinTech Keynote Speech | FinTech Keynote Speaker
Financial technology is the innovative technology and innovation, which aim to replace traditional banking systems in the provision of financial services. The most common examples include things like online banking, mobile money transfer, and digital currency trading.
The fintech boom has driven tremendous changes in the way financial companies operate. There is an increasing competition among all the leading financial institutions, and this is forcing them to adopt new products and services in order to stay competitive.
One of the fintechs that has provided a lot of positive effects on the economy is known as mobile money transfer. This fintech has been able to provide a solution for a number of problems that were faced by the consumers. It has offered solutions for cash payments, purchases, and payments through cards and other methods. With the help of this fintech, the users are able to manage their finances more efficiently and effectively. Other popular fintech products that currently enjoying a lot of popularity are online lending (crowdfunding, even) and cryptocurrencies.
One of the most interesting recent developments in fintech are non-fungible token (NFTs). An NFT is an intangible unit of value stored on a distributed ledger, also known as a blockchain, which certifies that a particular digital commodity is unique and cannot be substituted. Such tokens will be useful for creating a system by which multiple parties may agree to exchange their digital content in a secured manner. There are several uses of non-fungible tokens. They can serve as a means of pricing content, which could be a service, product, or digital information. They could also act as a security mechanism. In case of any dispute, the non-fungible token system ensures that the transaction cannot be attributed to a non-participant, thereby ruling out his or her claims. This means that whatever the seller has sold can no longer be attributed to the seller, or to some other random third party.
Commercial and Mortgage Banking Keynote Speech | Banking Keynote Speaker
I had the pleasure of working as a mortgage banker for 4 years in the central valley of California in the early 90’s. I loved the industry and some days I wonder why I ever left it. At the time, I had been hired to join the 144th Fighter Wing of The California Air National Guard as a reserve F-16 pilot. Having just come off the active duty flying F-4 Phantoms, I was surprised when my new Squadron Commander quietly told me that as a “reservist”, that I also had to find myself a “real job” in the civilian world. While most of my 144th squadron mates had civilian jobs as airline pilots for major carriers, I was much more interested in pursuing my life passion of building great businesses.
In my first job, I was hired to help Weyerhaeuser Mortgage open a new branch in Fresno, CA and quickly set out to grow the business as rapidly as possible. At the time, mortgage bankers had gotten fat and happy churning refis for existing and new clients due to steadily declining interest rates. Things had been so good for them, they were able to get rich just by answering their constantly ringing phones. While I also capitalized on the refi frenzy, I took a different tactic as I believed that interest rates wouldn’t fall forever and thought there was value in developing relationships with the realtor community so that I could also help finance new and existing home purchases. This plan paid huge dividends for me and my firm, because about a year after I started interest rates started to level out. This meant refis slowed down and purchase business was the only game in town. The realtors who had been ignored for the previous 5 years by most mortgage brokers all wanted to work with me and ultimately I was named the Top Producing Mortgage Banker in the Western US for Weyerhaeuser.
Through this experience I learned an important business lesson which I call “Diversify to Stay Alive and Fly Sky High.” Putting all your faith in one channel, one customer, one strategy may be effective for a period of time, but more often than not will lead to a significant slowdown or worse. Just like with long term investing, a diverse portfolio reduces beta and provides safer, more predictable returns, the same rule holds true for every business that I have ever been a part of.
Mortgage banking continues to be a very lucrative business for many. Although the financial crisis of 2008 wiped out a high percentage of mortgage banking firms, those who have persevered continue to
thrive in the low interest rate environment with purchase and refi business. Fears of inflation currently loom on the horizon, and this could have a negative impact on a mortgage banker’s business, but no one has a crystal ball, and rates will likely stay at relatively low levels for the foreseeable future.
I learned a great deal about the financial markets and people’s appetite for risk during my time as a mortgage banker. With a few exceptions, since the 90’s there is little doubt that most homeowners who have a higher tolerance for risk have benefited dramatically by opting for adjustable rate loans which have kept their interest rates much lower than homeowners who opted for fixed rate loans. Interest only or IO loans have provided another tool for homeowners to qualify for pieces of real estate that they would not otherwise be able to afford. All of these products work beautifully for homebuyers until interest rates rise or there is another downturn in the market. In the meantime, mortgage banking is a wonderful career that has proved incredibly lucrative for many professionals while at the same time helping them support their clients dreams of home ownership.
Investment Banking Keynote Speech | Investment Banking Keynote Speaker
Investment bankers are the fighter pilots of the banking industry. They are the top of the food chain who “eat what they kill”, are considered extremely aggressive – and yet when it comes to putting deals together, the best ones are outstanding psychologists and team leaders as well. At the end of the day, Investment Bankers or IBankers as they are commonly called, must figure out how to get one company to sell something to another company. They use many tactics to achieve their goals and often work to find compromises that make both parties feel like they won. I have delivered many keynote speeches to investment banking firms over the years, and I am always struck by how similar the energy in the room is to that of a fighter squadron. There is an air of self-confidence, often bordering on arrogance. There is a hunter/killer feeling in the room from those who are constantly looking for an edge to win their next deal, and there is a palpable hunger for knowledge and self-improvement. Investment Bankers are only as good as their last deal, which leads to a continuous drive to get better and stay on the cutting edge of their industry.
On the surface, the fighter pilot model of a Feedback Loop which espouses regular Briefing and Debriefing makes perfect sense for the I Banking Culture. What is found more often than not, is a culture that constantly looks forward to the next deal or next payday and rarely reflects on what’s working and what could be done better or differently. Warren Buffet, the famous investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway once famously painted investment bankers as “nearsighted and self-serving and pressing for deals that aren’t always in the best long-term interest of their clients.” While this may be true of many investment bankers, there is an elite group who are the “Top Guns” of their industry. They are known as thoughtful negotiators who strive to constantly provide value for the boards they serve and their shareholders. These I Bankers, build world class teams, and constantly strive to make themselves and those around them better. For this class of Investment Banker, the Feedback Loop is perfectly aligned with their outlook on life. They regularly use the fighter pilot’s tool of Briefing to ensure that their teams are aligned and flying in formation
every day, every week and most importantly before every client meeting. They also adopt the fighter pilot’s tool of debriefing after every meeting to talk about what worked, what didn’t, what are next steps and how will we continue to win moving forward. This approach to the investment banking world helps build a culture of continuous improvement that is good for the firm, good for the clients and good for a long and successful career in the world of investment banking.
CPA Keynote Speech | Auditing Keynote Speaker | Tax and Audit Keynote Speech
CPAs and other accountants must audit and certify the books of their clients. This is a weighty responsibility that takes into account the numbers themselves but also the processes that went into generating those numbers. Trends like “big data,” data mining, and cloud-based accounting are increasingly impacting how these practices run on a daily basis. For advisory services, it’s not enough anymore to simply audit and certify books or aid the client with their tax preparation; the entire client experience needs to be one of simplicity, transparency, and accountability. Improving the digital client experience has become the central theme for many organizations as a result.
CPA’s generally work in teams and spend long periods with their teammates camped out in a client’s office reviewing the books and making sure that their clients are conforming to the strict guidance of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) that can land their corporate clients in trouble with the IRS and other federal agencies. On top of professional proficiency, teamwork is everything for CPA’s and it is clear that developing a team cadence of regular Briefing and Debriefing is a guaranteed way to keep the team aligned and flying in formation. The most effective CPA teams have instituted daily briefing to make sure they start off each day aligned and flying in formation as well as daily debriefing to check progress, eliminate execution errors, and make sure they are working effectively with their clients. The best CPA’s use this same cadence with their clients and place a heavy focus on open and honest debriefing to guarantee that the books are right, and the client is taking a transparent approach that will keep both parties safe.
Certified Public Accountants perform an essential task for individuals and corporations. Like fighter pilots, their ability to get the job done right the first time and every time is critical to their success.
Insurance Keynote Speech | Insurtech Keynote Speaker
Insurance companies are experiencing many of the same pressures from technical innovations that the military is experiencing. In the military’s case, drones, “loyal” (robotic) wingmen, and other types of automation are putting pressure on the traditional role of the pilot.
In the insurance industry, automating claims processing through the use of robotic process automation is proving a great strategy for reducing costs; but with such changes (sometimes referred to as “Insurtech”), organizations are finding they have to reorganize in order to absorb this disruptive change, and are putting more emphasis on human roles involving exception handling and rules analysis. Machine learning is a powerful tool but the biggest barrier to adoption is, ironically, not techical but rather barriers of culture. Human nature is such that people often do not relish change; just as the military has to respond to emerging threats and evolve its doctrine and processes, so do insurance companies as they have to absorb and institutionalize the rapid change that is revolutionizing their business.
If you’re looking for a fighter pilot keynote speaker for your next meeting or event, we hope you’ll also consider Anthony “AB” Bourke, a former USAF F-16 Pilot and proven business leader as great solution to inspire and motivate your group. For more details click here:
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