FSI Names John Simmers of ING as Chairman

Broker/dealer group's new leader vows to continue "constructive engagement" with regulators

The Financial Services Institute (FSI), the industry association that broke away from the Financial Planning Association (FPA), in 2004, announced the election of new leaders for 2007. The new Chairman of FSI is John Simmers, CEO of El Segundo, California-based ING Advisors Network. Simmers is currently an industry member of the NASD board of governors. Simmers succeeds John Poff, president & CEO of West Palm Beach, Florida-based Mutual Service Corp. Poff will stay on the FSI board as immediate past chair. Brian Murphy will be the 2007 FSI board vice chair; he is president and CEO of Woodbury Financial Services, in Woodbury, Minnesota, a unit of The Hartford.

Atlanta-based FSI bills itself as the "Voice of Independent Broker-Dealers and Independent Financial Advisors" and has become a powerful advocate for its constituents, lobbying on behalf of 128,000 representatives of its 102 broker/dealer member firms, and 5,000 individual FSI members who are individual financial advisors. For 2007, "constructive engagement [with regulators] is still very much our intent," says Simmers. Most regulators "don't fully understand or appreciate the independent broker/dealer model," he notes, adding that the NASD does to some extent, but "there's a lot of education that still needs to be done" with regulators.

"Now that you're seeing the convergence of regulations of insurance, and advisory, and brokerage, there's an opportunity to really explain and further develop with those regulators an understanding of what the public community needs and how independent professionals provide that service; and help in the formation of regulations, so we keep the integrity of the markets and yet don't try to make regulation that's 'One-size-fits-all,'" according to Simmers.

In addition to the new FSI officers, three new board directors have been elected for 2007:

Daniel Anderson, of Swenson Anderson Financial Group in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a Financial Network Investment Corp.-affiliated financial advisor and regional director.

Mari Buechner, president and chief compliance officer of Coordinated Capital Securities, in Madison, Wisconsin.

Joseph Russo, of Advantage Financial Group in Naples, Florida, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a National Planning Corp.-affiliated financial advisor.

For a complete list of the 2007 FSI Board of Directors, please go to www.financialservices.org/content.aspx?page=8&section=1.

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