The broker/dealer association that split off late last year from the Financial Planning Association has been named the Financial Services Institute. Armed with an initial budget of $600,000 to $700,000 for 2004 and at least $1.5 million annually within three years, the institute plans to stand as the leading advocate for independent broker/dealers, says Chairman Stephen A. Bateman, CEO of Dallas-based 1st Global Inc.
The institute hopes at least 150 of the approximately 450 U.S. independent B/D firms will join. It disclosed its budget and plans on Jan. 23, during the FPA's final broker/dealer conference in Huntington Beach, California. The institute plans a new annual conference next year, as well as "discussion forums" in Dallas May 16-19 and Washington Oct. 10-13. The Washington forum will include a "public policy day" devoted to spreading its message among regulators and legislators. Bateman says the institute also plans to launch a political action committee to lobby lawmakers "in about a year," but in the meantime will focus much of its advocacy efforts on influencing the direction of financial regulation.
Bateman and Institute Executive Director Dale A. Brown say their five top regulatory and legislative issues are supervision of registered representatives affiliated with B/D firms; mutual fund breakpoints; revenue sharing with mutual funds; a possible Internal Revenue Service review of independent B/D contractors; and the need for the National Association of Securities Dealers to crack down more forcefully on what Bateman calls "unscrupulous and predatory" practices by some reps. To advance their cause with the NASD, SEC, and other bodies, the institute plans to coordinate letter-writing campaigns and other efforts by its members.
The institute plans to seek out sponsorships by financial products and services firms, Bateman says. It will remain based in Atlanta after the FPA consolidates its Atlanta operations with those in Denver this year.