The Financial Services Institute has expanded its agenda to include retirement and tax issues. As part of the expansion, the independent broker-dealer advocacy group has hired Robert Lewis as government affairs counsel for tax and retirement.

Tax and retirement are “two issues critical to our members and the hardworking clients they serve,” according to FSI President and CEO Dale Brown. “Robert brings tremendous experience to FSI and we are excited to get to work shaping the debate.”

Tax-related issues the organization will now be addressing include taxation of small businesses, the tax-advantaged status of certain assets or accounts such as variable annuities or IRAs, anything related to new taxes or lowering the tax burden on financial services, and tax reform, says Chris Paulitz, a spokesman for FSI. As for retirement, “when you look at advisors, all deal with retirement issues,” Paulitz says. Any legislation or regulation that affects retirement will be important to FSI’s membership and their clients, he says.

FSI in recent months has focused on issues including advocating for a fair uniform fiduciary standard and for members’ rights to earn commissions on IRA advice. The advocacy group, established in January 2004, has more than 100 broker-dealer members and more than 35,000 financial advisor members.

Lewis has more than a decade of experience in Washington. He spent four years working on Capitol Hill for U.S. Senator Zell Miller on the Senate Banking Committee, and later joined Financial Executives International as Manager of Government Affairs, with a focus on pension and retirement issues.

 --Danielle Reed writes for Financial Planning

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