With the proliferation of bills proposing new taxes on financial services, changes in regulation and heightened oversight for independent financial advisors, it has become increasingly important that members of this industry voice their concerns to both their state and federal representatives.
Our members have risen to the challenge.
Thanks to an outpouring of calls, letters, face-to-face visits and even faxes (yes, they’re still around!), financial advisors have achieved the following victories in the span of a few short months:
- FINRA now allows fee waivers and refunds for certain continuing membership applications and new membership applications, improving the process for firms to expand their businesses.
- FINRA has agreed to retain its 5% markup rule after FSI opposed its initial proposal which would have introduced unnecessary uncertainty about the regulatory requirements.
- Three social media bills, which would have complicated compliance with FINRA’s rules, died in committee in Georgia and Mississippi, and one bill was deferred in Hawaii.
- Amendments to social media legislation designed to clarify their application to the securities business were included in bills in Texas, Arizona, Illinois, Missouri, and Oregon.
This above list, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. Despite the fact that over 1,500 letters have been sent (through the FSI Advocacy Action Center alone) opposing it, there is still proposed legislation aimed at making independent financial advisors forfeit their status as independent contractors, which would force these advisors to become employees of their broker dealers. Legislation on social media has also been introduced in several states, which would prohibit financial advisors and their broker-dealer firms from remaining compliant with FINRA’s social media rules.
There is still a great deal to be done, but the list of things advisors have accomplished in the beginning of 2013 alone shows they are making their voices heard on these issues and succeeding in educating Congress about the far-reaching consequences of their actions towards the industry.