April 18, 2012

FSI Hires Retirement, Tax Lobbyist

Lewis’ priorities: DOL’s fiduciary rule, tax reform and attempts to change the independent contractor status of advisors

The Financial Services Institute (FSI) has hired Robert Lewis as government affairs counsel for tax and retirement to take on such issues as the Department of Labor’s redefinition of fiduciary.

FSI says Lewis has more than 10 years’ experience working in Washington. He spent four years working on Capitol Hill for Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., on the Senate Banking Committee, and after Miller’s retirement, Lewis joined Financial Executives International as manager of government affairs, focusing on pension and retirement issues. He graduated in 2010 from Catholic Law School and holds a B.A. in political science from Morehouse College.  

Lewis told AdvisorOne in an e-mail message that after spending the majority of his career in public service, he “feels like I’m still doing that at FSI.” His focus, he said, “will be on the Department of Labor’s attempt to redefine the term fiduciary, tax reform and the multiple attempts—both nationally and in the states—to change the independent contractor status of financial advisors.” Tax and retirement issues, he continued, “are critical to our members and their clients. It’s a big responsibility and there’s a lot at stake.”

FSI President and CEO Dale BrownFSI has been a staunch opponent of the DOL’s redefinition of the term fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), with its president and CEO, Dale Brown (left), saying that Labor's new fiduciary rule “would price millions of Main Street American investors out of access to professional advice on their IRAs, and significantly increase investor confusion at a time no one can afford to be confused.”

In announcing Lewis’ hire, Brown said that “during tax week, it is fitting that we announce the expansion of our agenda and our team, to include tax and retirement—two issues critical to our members and the hardworking clients they serve. Robert brings tremendous experience to FSI and we are excited to get to work shaping the debate.”

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