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TD’s Skip Schweiss to bring fiduciary chops to FPA presidency

TD Ameritrade Institutional's Skip Schweiss, known as a fiduciary advocate, has been tapped to serve as president of the Financial Planning Association in 2021, leading the industry’s largest membership body through an increasingly complex regulatory landscape.

“There’s an awful lot of moving parts right now,” Schweiss, head of retirement plan solutions at TD, said in an interview, referring to new fiduciary regulations proposed or enacted in several states, as well as at the federal level.

“With the [SEC’s] Regulation Best Interest pretty much being set, most of our attention needs to be on compliance,” he says. “We also expect the [Labor Department] to come in behind the SEC with some sort of regulation that we expect to dovetail with the SEC’s in some way.”

Chief among the FPA’s ongoing projects will be to help planners comply with the CFP Board’s heightened fiduciary standards, which took effect this month but which won’t be subject to enforcement until July, 2020, Schweiss says.

As the largest membership organization for financial planners in the U.S., with about 20,000 dues-paying advisors, the FPA will continue to listen intently to its members and closely monitor the regulatory changes on their behalf, Schweiss says.

Skip Schweiss at TD conference in San Diego 0217
The FPA's new president-elect Skip Schweiss. © LILA PHOTO for TD Ameritrade

Most FPA members are “small business people,” he says. “They don’t have the time to be engaged in these issues. They want to know their association is on top of these things, so that the planner can just pay attention to their business.”

Schweiss will succeed Martin Seay, program chair and associate professor of personal financial planning at Kansas State University, who will become FPA president in January. Seay will succeed FPA’s current president, Evelyn Zohlen, who founded Inspired Financial in Huntington Beach, California. Terms for FPA presidents last one year.

In his day job, Schweiss serves as president of TD Ameritrade Trust Company and managing director of TD Ameritrade Institutional, which offers retirement plan solutions and services for independent RIAs, using the company’s trust platform. Prior to joining TD, Schweiss was COO of Fiserv Trust Company when TD acquired it in 2008.

Schweiss says another priority during his term will be to expand the association’s rolls.

The FPA's membership "isn’t really growing the way we would like it to, not in alignment with the [growth of] CFP certificants.”

Going forward, he adds, the FPA will be “making sure our value proposition is the best it can be, from the solo practitioner up [to] CFPs in the larger firms.”

In recognition of his work on fiduciary issues, the Committee for the Fiduciary Standard named Schweiss its “Fiduciary of the Year” in 2015.

Editor's note: An earlier version quoted Schweiss as saying the FPA’s membership is “close to a high-water mark” at more than 20,000 members. The high-water mark was in 2007 when the membership stood at 28,000, according to the FPA.

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