FRA’s one-of-a-kind event tailored for experts and marketing professionals seeking comprehensive guidance on RFP and due diligence practices will return March 26-27 at the Harvard Club of New York City.


The 9th Annual Mastering Client Services and RFPs for Institutional Investors will feature more than 20 specialized presenters and 15 strategy enhancement sessions. Given the increase in changes from the SEC related to marketing materials and ESG/climate-risk combined with challenges surrounding hiring and retaining valuable RFP professionals, this year’s event is a vital opportunity to gain new strategies to excel in an increasingly competitive landscape.

The two-day agenda is filled with pressing session topics focused on three key content themes: regulation and legislation updates; recruitment and retention approach; and insights on new vendors, security, and data.

Here’s an inside look at how these themes will be reflected in specific sessions:

Regulation and legislation focused sessions

The first session of the conference will highlight a review of the SEC advertising rule one year later. Nancy Vailakis, principal, Ancram IRBD, will moderate the session with Annemarie Burgess, institutional consultant & RFP analyst, and Raymond James, as the two discuss the SEC Sweeps, how to address conflicts in rule interpretation, and SEC RFP focus points during routine or targeted audits.

Next will be a fireside chat on regulatory and litigation risk exposure in RFPs. The session will explore best practices in compliance, insights on the new trend alert and the licensing of RFP managers as principals, when to engage legal, and how to solve pain points with your partners in compliance. Burgess will return to the stage for the session, and the moderator will soon be announced.

Recruitment and retention focused sessions

There will be a panel discussion on nurturing team morale, wellbeing, and preventing burnout in the financial industry. Topics will include the signs and symptoms of burnout in the financial industry and the importance of early detection; strategies for nurturing team morale and wellbeing, including work-life balance and resilience-building techniques; and the positive correlation between employee wellbeing and the quality of client services. Panelists will include Pat Irish, senior manager, Americas RFP, Rowe Price; Lindsay Borg, AVP, RFP team manager, MFS Investment Management; and Ellen Voda, head of client response center, AllianceBernstein.

Another session will spotlight a concierge service approach for customer service excellence to retain valuable clients. Adrienne Garofalo, partner, head of business development and client management, Gagnon Securities, will lead the session, which will include a discussion about the changing needs and desires of valuable institutional buyers to identify adaptations to your client servicing approach, new retention strategies to build relationships and preserve a strong portfolio of clients, and data and technology services to improve relationships and retention efforts.

New vendors, security, and data focused sessions

A panel of speakers will explore how to unlock the power of management consultant databases and enhance RFP responses and client services. The session will look at the role and importance of management consultant databases in institutional investment decision-making, the right database and data points for your institution's needs, database insights into RFP responses for a competitive edge, client services and relationship management through data-driven strategies, and how to partner with your sales teams to use databases for prospecting. Zack Bono, vice president, director, business services, Federated Hermes, will moderate the discussion. Panelists include Marvin Zuniga, CAIA, FDP, AVP, consultant databases, global client services, Nuveen; Danielle Corey, strategist - institutional consultant relations, MFS Investment Management; and Dominic Rosano, VP/head of RFP, MetLife Investment Management.

There will also be a session on leveraging technology and AI for client services. This session will explore how technology and AI can streamline routine tasks, improve operational efficiency, and free up resources to focus on more strategic client service initiatives; the pros and cons of using generative AI in RFP writing; and the hurdles for legal and compliance when using AI in the RFP process. Laura Levesque, CFA, director institutional, Cerulli Associates, will moderate the discussion between John Trammell, partner, Symphony Financial Partners, and Jennifer Black, RFP manager, Sands Capital.

The Mastering Client Services and RFPs for Institutional Investors will be held at the Harvard Club of New York City on March 26-27. Click here to learn more, including the full agenda and registration information.