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Reflections on my first NAFA IMO Summit

I am (briefly) back in the office after attending my first NAFA (National Association for Fixed Annuities) IMO Summit. Heading in, I really didn’t know what to expect. I read many of NAFA’s publications, I work with many NAFA members, but beyond that I wasn’t really sure. To the extent I had any expectations, they were that the organization might not be very compliance-friendly (and therefore not very me friendly!). I really could not have been more wrong.

First, everyone was very friendly to me personally. But beyond that – and (I guess) more important – the attendees I talked to were very interested in compliance. There was a range of resources devoted to compliance and a clear perspective that compliance can sometimes be a sales impediment. However, there was a consistent sense that times have changed to the point where compliance is necessary—helpful necessary or evil necessary, the jury may be out. I’ll take that. I can work with that. Actually, I love the challenge to show an organization that there is a place for compliance at the table that will not ruin everyone’s appetite.

In the line-up of presentations there were quite a few that had a compliance element. Another positive from my perspective. Most of all, I was thrilled with the number of questions and the dialog that began after my presentation on issues related to insurance producers charging fees as a part of their practice, in addition to selling insurance products that pay a commission. We had to stop due to time, but several folks came up to me afterwards with more questions and a desire to continue the discussion. For a compliance nerd going into a forum filled with marketing folks, I could not have been more pleased with the interest and the insight shown by many of the questions.

I am grateful to have had my attendance at the IMO Summit sponsored – another indication of the commitment to compliance. Being able to attend gave me the opportunity to dispel my pre-conceived notions and meet some great people who are affiliated with organizations that really are learning the importance of compliance and are genuinely open to discussions of what they need to do to protect what they have built. I can’t ask for more than that!