The Financial Services Roundtable has elected Thomas A. James, chairman and CEO of Raymond James Financial as its chairman-elect. He will serve as chairman in 2007.
James, 63, joined St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James Financial in 1966, four years after the company was founded by his father, Robert A. James. He is chairman of Raymond James & Associates, the firm’s traditional-brokerage unit with some 1,000 advisors.
In 2006, the Financial Services Roundtable (or FSR) is focusing on public-policy issues such as information security — including identity theft, data-breach notification and Internet fraud; retirement security — such as pension reform; anti-money laundering, disaster recovery; tax cuts and other significant tax issues.
As a group that represents an aggregation of broad industry players, James says, the FSR is able to have a larger impact than that of a trade association, representing only one sector of the financial-services industry.
“Under the direction of State Farm CEO Edward Rust, we are evaluating a gamut of prospective responses to catastrophic events of all types, such as terrorist attacks and hurricanes, that entail financial and insurance issues of all types,” James says. The group is also working on economic issues that “touch our members in all sorts of ways,” he explains. A subgroup is concentrating on legislation to introduce a federal charter option for insurance firms.
“Today, agents have to register state by state, and products are approved by the states,” says the chairman-elect. “This multi-state arrangement is really not efficient for our members, who are the major insurance providers and distributors. We need a national option for those preferring it.”
Then there’s Sarbanes-Oxley regulation. “We’d like to encourage a re-look at some issues,” the Raymond James executive says.