The MDRT Experience that concluded in Bangkok last month marks the end of the Experience Meetings. Asia Advisers Network Editor Benjamin Ang finds out the rationale behind the move to replace the Experience Meetings, what is on the horizon for agents and how MDRT can help members adapt to these changes.
The MDRT Experience series will be replaced with MDRT Global Conferences starting in 2019. Mr Ross Vanderwolf, MDRT First Vice President, explained: “The Association has made the decision that we need to put more focus on what we do for our Asian members. We have been having Experience Meetings now for over 20 years – every alternate year.
“And we saw that there are a lot of members in Asia who do not get to go to the United States and North America for our annual meetings. So there is a need to put on our meetings here in the region.”
Following the criteria of annual meetings in the US, participants must be MDRT members to attend meetings.
Members will have a choice
A qualifier may decide to go to one or even both of the meetings. “The main platform sessions will be similar but for the focus sessions and special sessions, they will be targeted at the demographics of the area,” he said.
Asked if members will view the new global conference as the lesser cousin, he said: “We will be viewing them exactly the same.”
He also highlighted that it presents members outside of Asia with the choice of travelling to meetings internationally.
“I envisage that there will be a lot of members who aren’t from Asia who will attend this meeting as well. I know some of our US members, Canadian members and English members would love to attend international meetings.”
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As for what is on the horizon for agents, he said there will be a lot more digital interactions. A prime example is in fact in Asia. “In China, everything is done on a smart phone – the applications, servicing, the claims.”
There will also continue to be higher standards required as part of regulations and compliance. “Change is happening in the US with new legislations being introduced this year. The UK had significant compliance and regulations change in the last 20 years, as has Australia. We are getting pushed towards becoming much more professional and efficient, which is where digital comes in,” said Mr Vanderwolf who is from Australia.
But the thing that remains the most important is relationships. Despite digitalisation and robo-advice, which can actually help advisers who tap these technologies, he said: “You still got to have relationships with the clients. And that is a core premise of providing financial advice and insurance advice.”
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