Dale Brown's energy, drive and enthusiasm in trumpeting the broker/ dealer industry made him one of our Forward Thinking Five for 2007 (see December 2006 issue). We've tapped him once again for an update from the regulatory front, especially now that new Congressional leadership has taken over. How is Congress responding to FSI's ideas and concerns, and what initiatives are on the horizon? Brown took time to fill us in.
Boomer Market Advisor: We're well past the first 100 days of the new leadership in Congress, a traditional benchmark for their initial performance. How is their relationship with the broker/dealer industry as a whole,
and FSI in particular?
Dale Brown: It's fair to say democrats have traditionally looked to government to solve problems in the financial marketplace, but I have not sensed any hostility from members of the new leadership. From its beginning, part of FSI's mission has been to build bipartisan relationships with members of Congress. The issues we raise are not partisan issues. We want to cultivate partnerships with both parties, and so far it's worked. We target grass-roots relationships with individual members who understand and believe in the free-market system. So from that standpoint, the new leadership really hasn't had a dramatic impact on what we do. I don't want to downplay the effect of the new leadership, but I don't want to overplay it either.
BMA: How open are members to sitting down with you to discuss industry concerns and really learn about what
it is we do?
DB: Capitol Hill as a whole still really doesn't understand the valuable service that financial advisors provide middle America. The retirement savings crisis that we're all dealing with is directly connected to a deficit of professional advice. We'll continue to educate them on this fact.
BMA: What's the latest issue to take center stage?
DB: The discussion over 12b-1 fees. We're really ramping and we have to be in on that discussion. Once the client makes the investment, they have to have an advisor for ongoing help. But we're going to be intelligent participants in the discussion. We're not going to just dig our heels in. We recognize that the world has changed since the rule was first introduced. But we're going to make sure we have a say for what's right for our members and their clients.