At the Million Dollar Round Table meeting in New Orleans in 1999, I was fortunate enough to hear an outstanding industry figure present for the first time.
In the midst of what I guess constitutes the largest gathering of life insurance advisers in the world, a senior investment adviser appeared to deliver a message of such strength that it resonates with me still - and has returned to influence my current commercial efforts.
To put the investment adviser's appearance in perspective, the distance between life insurance salespeople and financial planners was much greater back then than today, so having an investment adviser in the midst of the top M.D.R.T qualifiers was quite a departure from normal practice.
M.D.R.T platform speakers tended to be top life producers - Norman Levine, John Savage, Tony Gordon et. al. Conventional wisdom held that financial planners couldn't sell ice in a desert!
My perception was about to change!
Nick Murray, the investment adviser who featured at the meeting, delivered a powerful and compelling message of client behavior being the single most dominant factor in determining portfolio returns, rather than market timing or product selection.
He also berated his investment colleagues for retreating into technical obscurities in the face of market movements, and complimented life insurance advisers for concentrating on client behavior, and keeping the client on plan, despite the emotional roller-coaster of volatility.
Now, some 15 years later, I find myself poring over Nick Murray's seminal work "Behavioral Investment Counselling", fascinated by the resilience and resonance of the messages contained in the book.
The outstanding experience of hearing Nick Murray deliver to the M.D.R.T. audience had little practical implications for me in 1999. The environment at my then employer simply didn't utilise such concepts.
Today, every financial adviser and client-facing/touching organisation should be deploying a measure of comprehensive client profiling to meet the needs of clients and to match accurately client needs to client solutions.
The experience in 1999 has come full circle to be an integral part of my commercial activities in 2014, as I find myself working with DNA Behavior Ltd Australia/New Zealand, seeking to spread the message of in-depth client profiling, supported by robust research and evidence.
It's quite an extraordinary experience to be driven to deliver the substance of a brief overview received 15 years ago in another world, another time, and in a completely different environment - both personal and professional.
Truly, experience is never wasted!