FPA Names Pro Bono Advisory Committee: In keeping with its pledge to make pro bono services available to those in need, the Financial Planning Association has formed an advisory committee to help it identify populations in need of help and to establish guidelines to be used by FPA pro bono volunteers.

Karin Maloney Stifler, CFP, of Hudson, Ohio, will serve as the committee’s chair. The other committee members are: Chris Carosa, CTFA, MBA, of Mendon, N.Y.; Richard Fingerman, CFP, of Medford, Mass.; Lawrence H. Halvorson III, ChFC, CLU, of Meridian, Idaho; Heather I. Hutchinson, CFP, of Napa, Calif.; Bonnie A. Hughes, CFP, of Rome, Ga.; Ronald S. Pearson, CFP, of Virginia Beach, Va.; Reed Rinderknecht, CFP, of West Des Moines, Iowa; Shashin G. Shah, CFP, RFC, of Addison, Texas; and Clare M. Stenstrom, CFP, of New York.

NASD Establishes $10 Million Education Fund: The National Association of Securities Dealers has established an Investor Education Foundation to provide investors with information and tools to better understand investing and the markets. The foundation, which will function as a separate, nonprofit organization, will have an initial endowment of $10 million, with additional resources in the future to come from fines collected in connection with NASD disciplinary activities.

It was established in part in response to a survey that showed that investors have fundamental questions and misunderstandings about investment issues. Among the findings of the survey: Nearly 50 percent thought that stock market losses were insured, and nearly 80 percent did not understand fully the meaning of “no load” mutual funds. In addition, almost half of the 1,086 participants said that they could have avoided a negative experience had they known more about investing.

The foundation will be overseen by a board of directors, and will focus its grants on educational programs and materials aimed at segments of the investing public whose financial concerns are not being addressed.

AXA Taps Pantaleo to Head Business Development: Financial services conglomerate AXA Financial named Laura Pantaleo senior vice president and head of business development for its strategic distribution services unit, effective this month. In her new role, Pantaleo will be responsible for managing and developing client relationships with AXA distribution partners, including broker/dealers, wirehouses, banks and mutual fund families. She most recently served as president and chief executive of the annuity distributors business for Travelers Life & Annuity. She also served as chief operating officer of Women & Co., and as senior vice president of Smith Barney’s Estate and Trust Services Division.

Unger Software to Provide Methuselah for PBS Agents: Unger Software, the maker of Methuselah financial planning software, has struck a deal with Personalized Brokerage Services LLC, a marketing organization for annuity, life and long-term care products, to provide access to that platform to PBS agents.

As part of the agreement with Unger, PBS agents will receive a 50 percent discount off the retail price of Methuselah for the first six months of their subscriptions. Unger said that it has been working with PBS to develop charts and graphs that will help agents close sales. Unger is working with several groups within PBS, including AnnuityMasters, LTC Insurance Masters and Life Insurance Masters. PBS agents will be able to familiarize themselves with the software through a series of  Webinars offered through the PBS Web site.

SIPC Names Harbeck: The Securities Investor Protection Corp. said that Stephen P. Harbeck, a 28-year veteran of the SIPC, has been named the new president and chief executive of the congressionally chartered investor watchdog.

He succeeds Michael Don, who had served as SIPC president since 1995 and recently retired.

Harbeck joined the legal staff of the SIPC in 1975 and was promoted to general counsel in 1995. During his tenure, he has served as adjunct professor of bankruptcy law at American University’s Washington College of Law.

In his expanded role, Harbeck will develop the SIPC’s relationships with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress, as well as with other self-regulatory organizations.

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