Press Releases

Commonwealth Financial Network® Hosts Nearly 2,000 at Annual National Conference

Waltham, MA (November 13, 2018)–Commonwealth Financial Network®, the nation’s largest privately held Registered Investment Adviser–independent broker/dealer, recently hosted nearly 2,000 affiliated financial advisors, staff, guests, and sponsors at its annual National Conference, held November 7–10, 2018, in Austin, Texas.

Titled “Elevate: Inspire|Aspire|Motivate,” the conference encouraged attendees to elevate themselves in every facet of their personal and professional lives—from their relationships, to their personal brand, to their client service. During the four-day event, advisors attended a wide array of educational sessions, panel discussions, networking events, and sponsor exhibits.

Members of Commonwealth’s leadership team addressed attendees, with Wayne Bloom, CEO, speaking on the industry’s trend toward fee-only business, Commonwealth’s RIA Services arm, and the firm’s ongoing commitment to support advisors however they choose to do business. Trap Kloman, managing principal, CFO, highlighted Commonwealth’s ability to balance the pace of growth with the firm’s value-add of service. Kloman, who will assume the role of president and COO at year-end, encouraged advisors to take advantage of the firm’s scale to support their businesses. Founder and Chairman Joe Deitch, whose book, Elevate: An Essential Guide to Life, inspired the theme of the conference, spoke on making choices. Deitch reminded attendees that “every decision we make establishes intent,” and “we need to work on ourselves first” before we choose which goals to pursue.

In subsequent general sessions, Darren Tedesco, managing principal, innovation and strategy, presented a next-gen technology update, stressing the importance of a unified interface and cutting-edge aggregation tools, and Brad McMillan, managing principal, chief investment officer, provided perspective on the markets and economy.

Prominent keynote speakers offered topical remarks tailored specifically to the advisor audience. George W. Bush, 43rd president of the United States, joined John Rooney, managing principal, for a candid conversation on democracy that reinforced themes of respect and helping those in need. Mick Ebeling, founder and CEO of Not Impossible, a multiple award-winning social innovation lab and production company, manipulates technology for the sake of humanity and uses storytelling as a way to scale. Ebeling stressed that “doing good is good business” and asked attendees to consider how they can transition the impossible to the possible. Ebeling, whose mantra is “commit, then figure it out,” has established an impactful team with members who think big and continually challenge themselves. “The grit is what’s important,” he told the audience.

“I’m grateful for every member of the Commonwealth community who joined us for our biggest National Conference yet and made it as extraordinary as it was,” said CEO Bloom. “This event gives us all a chance to reconnect with long-term friends, meet new friends, and immerse ourselves in continued education and inspiration that reinforces our commitment to quality, community, and service. The last four days have been a pleasure—I thank everyone for their active participation and open minds, and I hope this experience has brought about new ideas and a renewed sense of purpose.”

Advisors took advantage of more than 100 educational sessions, panel discussions, and networking events on topics ranging from information security, Commonwealth’s CRM and technology tools, and socially responsible investing, to recruiting next-gen talent, optimizing scale, and going fee-only.

Throughout the conference, exhibit booths were staffed by key members of the home office, who consulted with advisors one on one and provided helpful materials, tools, and hands-on support in each critical business unit. New this year, the firm’s RIA Services team was on-site to talk with advisors looking to learn more about going IAR-Only under Commonwealth’s corporate RIA, how to become an RIA, and how to take advantage of our dedicated service.

Jeffrey Scales, CFP®, AIF®, managing principal of JSA Financial Group in Rhinebeck, New York, was the recipient of the 2018 Commonwealth Special Service Award, honoring him for being at the forefront of socially responsible investing. “Jeff personifies the core vision and values of Commonwealth, and we can all learn from his conscious and responsible approach to not only his business but all areas of his life,” said Deitch, who presented the award.

Prior to the official start of the conference, Commonwealth hosted a symposium tailored exclusively to women advisor-entrepreneurs titled, “A League of Our Own.” The networking reception was designed to help women advisors take positive steps toward enhancing their connection to the Commonwealth community and strengthening their position as leaders and role models for other women. Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, a wealth psychology expert, provided a powerful keynote address to attendees.

For the sixth consecutive year, Bloomberg Radio broadcast Bloomberg Markets A.M. on-site from the National Conference. Hosts Lisa Abramowicz and Pimm Fox held candid, live interviews with several of Commonwealth’s thought leaders and independent advisors over the course of two days.

Staying true to the firm’s commitment to giving back to the community, Commonwealth organized a team of 125 advisors, guests, and home office staff who attended the conference to participate in a variety of facility improvement projects for the children served by Sammy’s House, an organization that supports and cares for children in the Austin area who are medically fragile and/or developmentally delayed.

About Commonwealth Financial Network
Founded in 1979, Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC, is the nation’s largest privately held Registered Investment Adviser–independent broker/dealer, with headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, and San Diego, California. J.D. Power ranks Commonwealth "Highest in Independent Advisor Satisfaction Among Financial Investment Firms, Five Times in a Row." The firm supports approximately 1,800 independent financial advisors nationwide. For more information, please visit

Commonwealth received the highest score in the independent advisor segment of the J.D. Power 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2018 Financial Advisor Satisfaction Studies of customers' satisfaction among financial advisors. Visit

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