Wow. What a day. Our first ever Annual Conference in Manchester proved to be a fantastic occasion at the award-winning Manchester Central. The day was supported brilliantly by a great audience of financial services professionals from across the North West – and even further afield, with delegates flying in from Scotland for it.

Upon arrival, they were warmly greeted in the beautiful Exchange Room – where all Conference keynotes and Panels were heard – by a high-energy ‘Welcome’ from Yasmina Siadatan from Dynamic Planner. Well known broadcaster and journalist Gavin Esler – our experienced and expert host for Manchester Conference – then delivered his keynote to the audience exploring the relationship between trust and leadership at the highest level today.

Donald Trump bends the truth 15 times a day on average, underlined Gavin – and yet 40 per cent of Americans trust him.

Ben Goss, Dynamic Planner’s CEO and co-founder 16 years ago in 2003, then delivered his Annual Conference keynote – which echoed the day’s subtitle, ‘Transform the Way Clients See You’. Ben exclusively launched to delegates the new Dynamic Planner Client Review and first trailblazing part of Elements, a £5million, three-year rolling programme of significant upgrades.

“What we are announcing today is the largest single investment in our history,” said Ben. “Dynamic Planner Elements will future-proof advice firms in an increasingly demanding and technology-driven financial planning market.

News of Thursday’s 24 January launch received terrific and extensive coverage in the financial press and media.

We were also brilliantly supported at our Annual Conference in Manchester by 16 of our closest partners, who all spoke to and engaged with delegates throughout the day. Nick Eatock, founder and Executive Chairman at Intelliflo, took to the main stage and championed the new, two-way Dynamic Planner – iO integration, the best, in his words, iO had ever delivered with a partner.

The Chief Investment Officer [CIO] Panel debate – titled ‘Macro View of the Investment Landscape’ and always keenly anticipated at this the seventh Annual Dynamic Planner Conference – then consumed and compelled and enthralled a full house of delegates in the Exchange Room. Elite fund managers from Investec, Schroders, Legal & General, Sarasin and Miton Group, alongside our own Head of Asset & Risk Modelling, Abhi Chatterjee, shared their thoughts and hugely informed opinions on what to expect from markets in 2019; what regrets they quietly harboured from their decisions in 2018; and, of course, on the burning issue of the hour and what we are all talking about, Brexit.

What followed in the ensuing 60 minutes, adroitly chaired by the effortless Gavin Esler, captivated everyone.

2018 was the year when it felt like banks didn’t have your back anymore,” said Marcus Brookes from Schroders.

The psychology of markets changed,said David Jane of Miton Group. “Cynicism now reins.

How do you guard against that, then, over the next 12 months?

Jason Borbora, of Investec, neatly summed it up: “Do you want to up your risk exposure – or do you focus on defence in a portfolio?

The Compliance Panel – a first for Conference in 2019 – had the spotlight after a healthy break for lunch, which was a nice chance for delegates to meet and discuss what they had just heard among their peers and fellow financial services professionals. The Compliance Panel asked: ‘How to Thrive in a Post-MiFID II World’.

RDR really made advice firms think about their proposition and refocused attention on the adviser-client relationship,” opened Carl Wallis of Sesame Bankhall Group.

Gary Crossley, of threesixty, picked up the baton: “I can talk about MiFID II forever, but advisers simply communicating properly and well with their clients deals with many compliance issues.

Brexit, here, still did not escape the agenda.

It’s just another big risk event,” said Carl Wallis. “It’s nothing new for firms in that sense.”

Keynotes from Phil Young, Managing Partner at Zero Support, and from Chris Jones, Proposition Director at Dynamic Planner, served as the climax to our first ever Manchester Conference, underlining and showcasing the fact that the day’s agenda was all about you, dedicated and proud financial services professionals.

You should be proud to be a financial planner,” said Chris, who joined Dynamic Planner last July in a high-profile switch from Intrinsic, where he was head of Investment Proposition.

Nobody, finally, was going to argue with that.