Years ago when I was entering the family business field as an advisor, freshly armed with some great wisdom and perspective thanks to the FEA Program that I had just completed, I was already convinced that for me, having more competitors would be better for me than less.

In fact, I first wrote about this in May 2013, when I was only half way through the program: Spreading the Gospel vs. Cornering the Market

I’m pleased to report that, anecdotally at least, this attitude is beginning to gather steam.  I’ve heard a few other people mentioning this aspect of the industry. What aspect?

That a more generalized acceptance and understanding of the important work that families must do to successfully transition their wealth to the next generation will be better accomplished when more families and advisors “get it”.  

More competition not only makes us all better, it’s creating more work for all of us. Let’s look at some of the progress we’ve seen in these past few years.

An illustration of people and communication

Education Programs for Advisors

When I completed my FEA designation (2014), the number of designates was somewhere in the “dozens”.  It is now in the “hundreds” (over 300 and well on the way to 400). And most of us are just in Canada.

Similarly, the GEN Program from FFI was still in its infancy then.  I completed their designations (CFBA, CFWA, ACFBA, ACFWA) from 2014-2016. (GEN stands for Global Education Network).

The first two of those are done completely online, but include a capstone webinar with a truly global group of students.  The second pair (with the added “A” at the beginning to denote “advanced”) include a full day in person session as part of FFI’s annual conference each October.

The number of people who have been through the FFI GEN program is also in the hundreds and will likely be in the thousands before long as its growth rate has been staggering.  This is a testament to the desire for increased training to work with families and their complexities.


Conferences for Advisors to Share and Learn

FFI is a huge and global organization that has been around for over 30 years and has helped grow the whole industry.

More recently, other groups have formed and I’ve also enjoyed attending their annual gatherings.

Regular readers will recognize their names immediately, as I write about them often, because I am a big fan and because they’re the inspiration for many of my blog posts.

Every year in July, I head to the Denver area for the Rendez Vous of the Purposeful Planning Institute.  And for the past three years, I’ve gone to NYC in January for the Institute for Family Governance’s annual conference as well.


More people talking about how they work with families and sharing ideas with others, every year, over and over again, has been great for all of us.

People watching a presentation in a room

Read Any Good Books Lately?

Another way that some in this profession spread the gospel is by writing books about their work.

I’ll just note two here that I really enjoyed, written by peers that I consider friends.  These are of course people that I met and continue to meet at the above mentioned conferences.

The first is In Three Generations, by Kristen Heaney.  The second is The Naked Opus, by Chris Delaney. They both happen to be written as fictional stories, and knowing both authors I recognize similarities to their own lives.


Interdependent Wealth

I have great respect for anyone who makes the effort to write a book, because I’ve been through it myself.  I wrote SHIFT your Family Business five years ago, and that was quite an adventure in its own right.

Currently, I’m putting the final touches on my second book, Interdependent WealthHow Family Systems Theory Illuminates Successful Intergenerational Wealth Transitions.

For those of you who’ve been asking (Thanks!) you can now pre-order copies (click the link above) and you’ll receive them from Amazon in early July.


I’m running out or racetrack for this week and I still didn’t get to the area of TOOLS that people have created to help spread this great work that families require.

But that’s not a huge deal, because each week brings a new blog post, and I’ll cover some tools in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

I continue to enjoy doing my part to spread the word about this field, I hope you enjoy it too. Let’s keep spreading the gospel together.