Last month, a record-breaking number of our members from across the country converged in Washington, D.C., to take part in our 2015 Capitol Hill Day & National Discussions. The annual event, a highlight on our calendar for its unique focus on facilitating face-to-face interaction with lawmakers, gives our members a chance to come together to network with their peers,share best practices and attend round-table discussions featuring top industry experts speaking about important issues facing the independent financial services sector.
The heart of the event – and what many attendees look forward to the most – is the opportunity it provides to spend a full day as a citizen lobbyist on Capitol Hill. The chance to walk the halls of Congress, express their passion for helping investors and influence policy is an experience many attendees never forget. This year, we are pleased to report that we and our members met with approximately 200 federal lawmakers, including senators and representatives from both parties.
This was my first experience spending time on Capitol Hill and meeting with senators, congressmen and their staffs about issues facing our industry and the individuals we serve. It was fascinating to watch how the political system actually works. The FSI staff was well prepared and very professional. We have an excellent team working on our behalf. I would encourage all FSI members to take advantage of opportunities like this to meet with their state and national representatives.
—FSI member Bill Dowell
Founder and President of Vision Financial Group
The ongoing effort by the Department of Labor (DOL) to redefine the term “fiduciary” was a core focus of these meetings. Members conveyed their concerns regarding the DOL’s revised proposal’s potential impacts on Main Street investors and encouraged lawmakers to weigh in directly with the DOL to ensure that the new rule will not result in any unintended consequences for advisors or firms.
Members also engaged their elected representatives on a range of other issues – including protecting advisors’ independent contractor status to ensure advisors are not forced to become employees of their broker-dealers, and the importance of maintaining tax-advantaged retirement savings plan options – while reminding them of the crucial role our industry plays in helping Main Street American investors plan for the future.
For M. David Halpern, President of Equity Concepts North in Altoona, Pa., Capitol Hill Day & National Discussions were a reminder of how much work goes into protecting the businesses of our members and ensuring that all investors continue to have access to unbiased and professional financial advice.
After participating in this event, I am now more keenly aware than ever of the importance of our industry having a voice Washington, D.C. Without being an active participant in FSI, you cannot begin to appreciate the essential role that it plays in protecting advisors, our clients and, ultimately, our professional lives.
—M. David Halpern
President of Equity Concepts North in Altoona, Pa.