Learn more in 2024 with these events and programs

By Michelle Schriver | January 5, 2024 | Last updated on January 18, 2024
6 min read
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As your calendar for 2024 begins to fill, don’t forget to allocate time to your professional development. With the two-year continuing education (CE) cycle just ended, now is a great time to consider learning opportunities without worrying about CE requirements or deadlines. Many activities that don’t offer CE credits can nonetheless help you grow as a financial advisor, entrepreneur or leader.

“Everybody relies on their dealer and fund companies for education — and they’ve got their own agendas,” said Jason Pereira, partner and senior financial consultant with Woodgate Financial Inc. in Toronto. “We live in a multimedia world with lots of great opportunities for learning.”

Below are some of those opportunities, based on input from advisors and industry participants.

U.S. conferences

The dozens of advisor conferences in the U.S. are “a very underutilized resource that most advisors are not aware of in Canada,” Pereira said. “The ability to network and see the way things work outside of Canada is mind expanding for how you look at the industry.” Knowing about industry developments beyond Canada has helped him adapt his business and stay ahead of regulation, he said.

“There are so many great U.S. conferences … that a Canadian advisor is really selling themselves short by not attending at least one of these every couple years,” wrote Jason Watt, an instructor with Business Career College in Edmonton, in an email.

Kitces.com keeps a master list of U.S. conferences for advisors. Here’s a short list of favourites:

For a master list (in progress) of Canadian conferences in 2024, visit CE Corner.

Financial therapy

Andrea Thompson, founder and financial planner with Modern Cents in Oakville, Ont., wrote in an email that she took Ashley Quamme’s course Financial Therapy Skills 101 Intensive last year as a way to better integrate behavioural finance into her practice.

“I would recommend anyone who is approaching their practice from a humanist perspective to engage in some type of financial therapy course — not to become a financial therapist but to better understand a client’s innate programming, and behaviours that stem from them,” Thompson wrote.

Quamme said in an email that in 2024 she plans to offer popular sections of the course in one-hour sessions.

Another option is this year’s Financial Therapy Association (FTA) conference in San Diego in May. The theme is Financial Therapy for All: Across Cultures, Across Generations. Attendees don’t need to be members, and an international rate is available, said Natasha Knox, who is conference chair as well as founder of Alaphia Financial Wellness in the Greater Vancouver Area.

Knox also recommended FTA’s live workshops. This month’s workshop, which begins Jan. 19, is Fostering Financial and Relational Security with Attachment Theory.

“It’s the second time we’re running it,” Knox said. The course “bridges the gap between theory and implementation, so that people have the opportunity to ask questions and maybe even practise, so they’re not cutting their teeth on their clients.”


The best ones will have you taking notes and making changes. Shout-out to Ben Felix of Rational Reminder (with Cameron Passmore) and Money Scope (with Mark Soth): “Five stars every time,” Watt said, referring to Felix’s content. “Best low-commitment way for a financial advisor to get better at everything.”

In an email, Felix said Money Scope, which launched in December, is based on a financial planning curriculum he developed with Soth, a physician and personal finance blogger. “We wanted to build a content library that covers the full lifecycle of financial planning, from designing a good life to estate planning,” Felix wrote.

Here’s a short list of advisors’ favourite podcasts, in alphabetical order:


  • Barbara Stewart, a CFA charterholder and researcher on women and finance, recommends Movement51 offerings. “Their courses would appeal to advisors who want to learn more about the venture capital landscape,” she wrote in an email.
  • The free 2021 course on low-income retirement, developed by Alexandra Macqueen, who is now vice-president of learning, development and professional practice with FP Canada, and hosted by Business Career College, is still available.

(Relatively) new and noteworthy programs

Succeeding at Succession

In 2022 industry veteran and author George Hartman launched Ultimate Practice, which offers practice management resources and coaching. With Ultimate Practice’s Succeeding at Succession course, advisors work through the details of their exit plans.

“In addition to the assignments and questionnaires and resources built into the course, [advisors] develop what we call a playbook,” Hartman said in an interview. “They take what they’ve learned and translate that into how they’re going to use it in their own succession plan.”

He said participants have commented that the course helped them consider factors they previously hadn’t identified, resulting in changes to their succession strategy, choice of successor, timeline or other playbook details.

Both financial and behavioural factors are discussed during the course. “We talk a lot about the emotional side of leaving the business,” and how advisors will spend their time in retirement, Hartman said.

The course is offered live for 10 weeks to a group of 10 to 12 advisors ($1,997, with payment options), and a DIY version is available for those who want to work at their own pace ($997, with payment options).

The next live session starts Jan. 22, and includes a weekly group chat.

“Once a week we get together for a 60-to-90-minute conversation about what they’ve learned and how it applies to their situation,” Hartman said.

The first group to take the course — in fall 2022 — continue to meet quarterly to discuss one another’s progress, he said: “Everyone [in the group] became personally interested in the success of their fellow students.”

Investment Professional Leadership Program

Professionals still ramping up their practices may want to consider the Investment Professional Leadership Program from Ivey Business School. Developed in collaboration with the Investment Industry Association of Canada, the in-person program is aimed at mid-career investment professionals with 10 to 15 years’ experience who want to take their practices to the next level. It runs over several days and costs $12,500 (including meals and accommodations.)

Brianne Gardner, senior wealth manager with Velocity Investment Partners, Raymond James in Vancouver, took the program in 2023 as part of the second cohort of participants. (Raymond James CEO Jamie Coulter is among the program’s industry guests.)

In an interview, Gardner described the course as intensive, hands-on and collaborative, and said it fuelled personal and business growth.

Specifically, it helped her consider how her practice can adapt to disruptive trends, such as artificial intelligence, and how to manage her physical and mental health as she runs a growing practice. Referring to implementing what she learned during the program, she said, “It’s figuring out how you can be the best for yourself, your team, your business and your clients.”

For Gardner, that meant identifying and creating a plan to address her three biggest pain points: personal health, her team’s capacity and efficiency, and marketing for a high-service brand.

The plan’s implementation will be tracked and measured to hold herself and the team accountable, she said, adding that three new people have recently been added to the team as part of the plan. She said she looks forward to reflecting on the changes in one to three years.

Applications for the program are due Jan. 25.

Private Equity Certificate

The CFA Society Toronto and Mink Learning — the educational arm of Toronto-based private equity consulting firm Mink Capital — have teamed up to offer a new private equity certificate. As more high-net-worth clients look to invest in private markets, the on-demand course trains participants on the ins and outs of private equity so they can advise their clients or invest themselves. The course covers private equity funds as well as buying and selling companies.

Registrants can log into their accounts beginning Jan. 9 and have six months from their start date to complete the exam.

Send your suggestions for additional educational resources to michelle@newcom.ca.

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Michelle Schriver

Michelle is Advisor.ca’s managing editor. She has worked with the team since 2015 and been recognized by the National Magazine Awards and SABEW for her reporting. Email her at michelle@newcom.ca.