Matthew Zettel ’19, an Agribusiness major from Brenham, Texas, and Reagan Browne ’19 Finance major from Plano, Texas, attended the TD Ameritrade Linc Conference in Orlando, Florida, January 31 – February 3. They were two of 56 financial planning students from 28 colleges and universities who attended TD Ameritrade Institutional’s1 annual conference for independent registered investment advisors. The National LINC Conference is designed to be a learning and networking experience allowing students to build off skills they learned in the classroom while connecting with more than 3,000 financial advisors and other industry professionals from across the nation.
At this year’s conference, students attended feature sessions by Ian Bremmer, president, Eurasia Group; Viola Davis, award-winning actress of film, television and theater; Marc Goodman, New York Times best-selling author of Future Crimes; April Rinne, advisor, Pathfinder, and member of the World Economic Forum; and Jeremy Siegel, the “Wizard of Wharton” Wharton School finance professor. They also heard about the convergence of financial services and technology from a keynote panel on innovation that included Adena Friedman, president of CEO, Nasdaq; Tim Hockey, president and CEO, TD Ameritrade; Ric Edelman, executive chairman, Edelman Financial Services; and Lex Sokolin, director of fintech strategy, Autonomous.
The students also participated in smaller breakout sessions and panel discussions on investing and evolving as a financial advisor, and attended networking events with advisors and leaders from TD Ameritrade Institutional.
Callie Hanson ’19, communications intern with the Financial Planning Program, sat down with Matthew and Reagan to talk about their experience at the conference.
Callie: Overall what did you think about the conference?
Matthew: One word: phenomenal.
Reagan: I learned more in this one week than I ever could have in the classroom.
Callie: What was your expectation entering the conference?
Matthew: When I went in, I was expecting to be the least informed person there. When we got there I found that a lot of students were in the same boat as me. I am a lot more informed about the profession as a whole after attending the conference.
Reagan: I was really nervous about this conference because networking isn’t something I am super confident with, but I ended up making connections with people that will follow me throughout my professional career.
Callie: What was your favorite part of Linc?
Matthew: My favorite by far were the keynote speakers. They were so knowledgeable in the field of financial planning and gave me an entirely new perspective on the industry.
Reagan: My favorite part of the conference was keynote speaker Jeremy Siegel and his talk about market analysis and predictions.
Callie: Did this conference change your outlook on the profession?
Matthew: Going into the conference I did not expect everyone to be so friendly. The finance industry gets a bad reputation for being extremely exclusive and closed off. The opposite has proven to be true. I found the people at the conference to be extremely willing to help each other out and share their knowledge and experiences with newcomers.
Reagan: Before going to the conference I was set on working for a big firm but after talking to a number of planners who owned their own businesses or worked in small partnerships, I want to be able to connect with my clients on a personal level like they do.
Callie: What surprised you the most about the event?
Matthew: I was not expecting to be able to start such a cohesive professional network this far in advance.
Reagan: I am usually not interested in politics but I really enjoyed getting to learn about how the political environment can affect the financial planning industry.
Callie: If a student is on the fence about participating in this event, what advice would you give him/her?
Matthew: It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and truly one of the best opportunities I have had in my entire college career. It really reinforced that I wanted to be in this industry and connections made there I know will last a lifetime.
Reagan: I would encourage students to go even if they are nervous about missing school for it because I learned more there than I ever could have in the classroom.
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***Some answers were edited for clarity***