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A view from the million dollar round table

Guardian’s David Howell provides an insight into one of the oldest professional associations around.


Founded in 1927, the MDRT has a membership of 31,500 financial services and insurance professionals, from 464 companies in more than 80 nations and territories. Its primary role is to act as a member-driven, international networking forum, founded on the belief that growth is a result of exchanging ideas, and the concept that “to receive, individuals must give”.

As the head of an international adviser firm, I am constantly looking for new ideas and better ways to run the business and service our clients, which is why I thought I should give MDRT a go. I had heard various reports from different people over a 20-year period, some good and some bad, so I thought it was time I made up my own mind. As they say: “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.”

Nevertheless, I have to say I remained very sceptical when I attended the 2010 annual conference, which took place in Vancouver, Canada.

How wrong could I be? That first trip convinced me this was a highly worthwhile organisation and the annual conference lives up to its own description: “A one-of-a-kind event, unrivalled in the world of business.” 

The line up included around 100 speakers as part of the motivational main platform presentations, educational focus sessions and breakfast and evening sessions.

But perhaps the most useful element of the conference was the access it gave to other financial services professionals from around the world. I learnt much and built friendships that I hope will last my lifetime.

This year’s event was in Atlanta Georgia, the home city of CNN and Coca-Cola.

If anything, it was a better event than last year’s  in Vancouver. This may in part have been because it was my second attendance, and I knew the ropes but, held over four days, it was an endless networking and learning experience containing incredible insight and inspiration, including fresh ideas and solutions.

I came away buzzing with ideas and enthusiasm both for taking my business forward and for the future of financial advice on a global basis.

Certainly, MDRT made me think about Guardian Wealth Management’s own annual conference, which this year we held in Nice, France.

Instead of the usual sales driven speeches and presentations, we opted instead to bring in motivational and inspirational speakers, to get our regional heads, managers, advisers and other staff thinking about the business in a different way. 

The 2012 MDRT annual conference is in Anaheim, California, from June 10-13. I would highly recommend to anyone to sign up and take part in this event and meet fellow advisers from the UK and from all over the world. It is an experience you will not regret. Indeed, I warrant that you too will be inspired.

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