Atlanta (Jan. 26, 2004) -- Some independent contractor broker/dealer members of the Financial Planning Association have, with the FPA’s help, launched their own association, the Financial Services Institute.

The new association, which will focus its efforts on advocacy for broker/dealers that serve independent contractor financial advisors, launched at last week’s FPA Broker/Dealer Conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. At press time, the group listed 25 firms as members, including 1st Global and H.D. Vest.

“The board has identified several high-priority advocacy areas that we’ll be working on in 2004 and beyond, with the goal of ensuring that the interests of our members are well-heard and well-represented at both the state and national level,” said Tony Batman, chair of the inaugural board of directors for the FSI. “It’s important that those in policy-making positions understand that independent contractor broker/dealers represent well over 100,000 financial professionals.”

The FPA’s independent b/d constituency announced its intention to form an independent group back in September, after the FPA determined, following discussions by FPA’s board of directors, its Broker/Dealer Advisory Council, and several of its broker/dealer members, that it couldn’t meet the broker/dealers’ increasing advocacy needs, which have been complicated in recent years by a landslide of new regulations such as the Patriot Act and Sarbanes-Oxley.

The FPA served more than 100 broker/dealer members who came into the association through one of its predecessor groups, the International Association for Financial Planning, which merged with the Institute of Certified Financial Planners in 2000 to form the FPA. The FPA said it would provide financial and staffing support to the steering committee that developed the new association. At the time, then-FPA president David Yeske said the move would mean a loss in gross net revenue for the FPA of around $400,000 to $500,000 based on revenue generated from dues and the broker/dealer conferences, but excluding unallocated staff resources.

“We’re extremely grateful for the assistance and leadership that the FPA has shown as we prepared to launch the Financial Services Institute,” said Batman, the president of 1st Global. He also chaired the FPA’s Broker/Dealer Advisory Council and the steering committee that developed the new group.

Dale E. Brown, former associate executive director of FPA, where he was responsible for the FPA’s broker/dealer and corporate members, serves as the FSI’s executive director and chief executive officer. Brown said he expects that many new members of the Institute will also maintain membership in the FPA.

“The institute certainly will be allied with the FPA on financial planning advocacy and it makes great sense that there is a strong alliance between the two organizations,” Brown said. “We’re encouraging our members to be active in the FPA.”

FPA president Elizabeth Jetton said the group will continue to “encourage and support broker/dealer participation as part of its program for corporate involvement in the association.”

-- WebCPA staff

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