It's debatable if the fiduciary standard is 'higher' than suitability. But the better question might be, who's holding the bar?
By Linda Koco
TORONTO – The Million Dollar Round Table’s 2014 annual meeting here hit an attendance record with 8,500 MDRT members registered. That’s up from 7,003 members registered in 2013, said Nicky Hunter, marketing coordinator for the 87-year-old organization of insurance and financial professionals.
The association hit this record during a year when MDRT membership also has reached a new high —42,500 members worldwide, up from a record of 38,000 last year —Hunter said.
The largest contingent of MDRT members at this year’s meeting is from the United States, with 1,350 registered, Hunter told InsuranceNewsNet. That’s down from last year’s meeting in Philadelphia, when more than 1,800 U.S. members had registered.
The second largest contingent of MDRT members this year is from China, with nearly 1,000 registered — more than double the 405 registered in 2013.
MDRT staffers have been looking at reasons for the dramatic increase in total membership during the past year. One idea they have is that MDRT introduced an online application this past year, which made it easier for people from outside the U.S. to apply, Hunter said.
As for the new record in MDRT member attendance at the annual meeting, the staff believes the meeting location is a contributing factor, given that Toronto may be easier for some international members to reach than more inland locations.
The crowds are so large that the association opened up an overflow hall for Monday’s opening Main Platform session, complete with large screen video monitors. An estimated 1,000 attended in that location, Hunter said.
The reputation factor
In separate interviews, many members said that MDRT’s reputation for enhancing the lives and professional growth of its members has helped fuel the growth at MDRT too.
MDRT President Michelle L. Hoesly described that role during her opening address. “Lifting each other up and helping each other out” is what MDRT is all about, she said.
In her own case, she noted that after she joined MDRT, a study group of women MDRT members invited her to join their group. She hesitated, she said, because she was doing “pretty good” and because she “never had enough time.” But she did join and she said the ideas learned in her very first weekend with the group helped her increase her production. She also learned ways to have more time — for example, when the members told her that she needed to start delegating rather than trying to do everything herself.
Over the years, Hoesly said, she has also received some advice from other members — such as put systems in place so that process and decisions will become easier. Even today, she hears those people “whispering” in her ear, she said.
Linda Koco, MBA, is a contributing editor to InsuranceNewsNet, specializing in life insurance, annuities and income planning. Linda may be reached at email@example.com.
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