The advocacy organization representing independent broker-dealers and independent financial advisors will press its policy priorities to lawmakers on Capitol Hill as part of a two-day summit in the nation's capital.
The Financial Services Institute's (FSI) Advocacy Summit, scheduled for Oct. 4 through Oct. 5, is expected to draw some 200 independent broker-dealer CEOs and independent financial advisors, providing an audience for key policy makers and other Washington players.
On the second day of the event, around 150 of the attendees are planning to head to Capitol Hill for meetings with the offices of roughly 200 House and Senate lawmakers, according to Chris Paulitz, a spokesman for the FSI.
"They will be focusing on two key, pressing issues: the DOL effort to redefine the term fiduciary and an SRO for retail investment advisers," Paulitz said.
Both issues have been at the forefront of the FSI's advocacy work in recent months. The group scored a victory earlier this month when the Department of Labor announced that it would postpone a final rule regarding the redefinition of "fiduciary" as part of an effort to reform the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
FSI and other members of the financial services sector had raised concerns that the new definition could saddle financial advisors with an unreasonable regulatory burden if the new fiduciary criteria were left overly broad.
Those objections caught the attention of several prominent lawmakers, including Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass), who appealed to the Labor Department to reconsider its rulemaking. The Labor Department backed down, announcing earlier this month that it would solicit more industry feedback and revisit the rulemaking process early next year. Phyllis Borzi, Labor's assistant secretary of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, the official who announced the delay, is scheduled to address the FSI conference on the first day.
FSI members will also make the case for solidifying FINRA as the proper self-regulatory organization for retail investment advisors, reiterating the argument the group made in testimony before a House Financial Services subcommittee earlier this month. In pressing for codifying FINRA as the self-regulatory authority overseeing RIAs, FSI is opposing alternative proposals such as vesting the SEC with specific regulatory oversight or setting up an entirely new self-regulatory organization.
FINRA Vice Chairman Stephen Luparello is scheduled to address the advocacy summit the morning of the second day. Jack Herstein, president-elect of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), is also scheduled to appear as a speaker, as are former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry and a member of the House Financial Services Committee who has yet to be named.
As they make the rounds on the Hill, FSI members will meet with members from both chambers who serve on all the committees and subcommittees with key areas of jurisdiction over the industry, Paulitz said.