Leading with Advocacy

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By Kive I. Strickoff, CPA
Strickoff Financial Services, LLC

Of all the rewarding career experiences I have had, my participation with the Financial Services Institute Advocacy Initiatives ranks near the top.  As a member of the Financial Services Institute (FSI), I am afforded the opportunity to meet with government officials on a regular basis and discuss the issues affecting financial advisors.

These meetings have been very worthwhile and eye-opening for me from a professional standpoint, but more importantly, I believe they have played a role in protecting our industry from the sometimes unintended negative consequence of legislation in Washington.

FSI is an important resource for financial professionals, and the organization works very hard on your behalf. Advocacy is very important for the future of our industry and my hope is that after reading this article, you will feel the same.

How FSI is Working on Your Behalf

The Financial Services Institute was founded to give a voice in Washington to Independent Broker Dealers and Independent Financial Advisors, and also to help ensure that all individuals continue to have access to competent and affordable financial advice, products and services delivered by a robust profession of independent financial advisors and independent broker dealer firms.

Since joining FSI, I have visited Washington numerous times to meet with legislators.  During those advocacy visits, other leading financial industry advocates and I had the opportunity to sit down and explain the pros and cons of proposed regulation with senators and congressmen, and that has been a very worthwhile experience. Not only do they welcome us to their offices for these personal meetings, but they appreciate our thoughts on how potential legislation will affect their constituents. Often times they haven’t fully considered the impact of the legislation until meeting with us.  Being able to convey the important issues of the day in each meeting is absolutely instrumental for our industry.

In addition to “educating” lawmakers on timely issues, FSI’s role is to try to mitigate the increasingly burdensome increase in regulations affecting financial advisors and broker dealers. We strive to promote a balance between regulations protecting the industry from unsavory characters like Bernard Madoff, while also trying to avoid the regulatory overburdening of the profession and the American public. We want to make sure that the not infrequent unintended adverse consequences of legislation doesn’t stifle the industry and prevent advisors from serving their clients in ways that are suitable and appropriate.

One of FSI’s ongoing goals is to help members understand how powerful the voice of the independent financial advisor can be in the regulatory process. Recently, FSI has expanded its efforts to create forums to cultivate relationships with our legislators by also facilitating local in-district, face-to-face meetings between members and their representatives in Congress.

Why FSI’s Efforts are Important

I cannot understate the importance of FSI’s efforts.  As new legislation, such as the Dodd-Frank Act, was passed in the wake of the financial crisis, the importance of our industry having a voice on Capitol Hill became even more important.

Independent advisors are the “Main Street” service providers to the American family and American business. Also, often, independent advisors are able to provide more personalized attention to their clientele than the national wirehouse advisor, for many reasons.

Given the heavy regulatory climate over the last several years, legislating rules and regulations without feedback from those in the independent channel would be misguided. FSI fights for the smaller, independent firms and gives them a voice with lawmakers.

Get Involved

Through FSI’s advocacy efforts, we have made our senators and congressmen aware of events affecting the general investing public, and reminded lawmakers that financial advisors and their clientele represent key constituencies in their communities.

It is crucial that our voice continues to be heard, because the professional freedoms we enjoy may be circumvented if legislation is allowed to evolve without our input.  Therefore, I’d like to encourage as many financial professionals as possible to join FSI. We need your membership, and we need your support for our efforts on Capitol Hill. For more information on how you can get involved with FSI, visit the Advocacy Action Center.   And, please be encouraged to attend these upcoming FSI events:

FSI Advocacy Summit/National Discussions
July 8-10, 2013
Washington, D.C.
Click here for details

Financial Advisor Summit
September 9-11, 2013
Washington, D.C.
Click here for details

Join us today and help us advocate for our profession!

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Kive I. Strickoff, CPA can be reached at [email protected], and operates the wealth care firm Strickoff Financial Services, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor, and the CPA firm Kive I. Strickoff, P.C., both located in Garden City, New York. He is affiliated with 1st Global Capital Corp.  The SFS LLC and KIS PC entities are not affiliated with 1st Global Capital Corp.

1st Global Capital Corp. is a member of FINRA and SIPC and is headquartered at 12750 Merit Drive, Suite 1200, in Dallas, Texas 75251; (214) 294-5000. Additional information about 1st Global is available  at www.1stGlobal.com.

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