This is an extended version of the profile that appeared in the May issue of Investment Advisor, part of AdvisorOne's Special Report profiling this year's members of the IA 25, the most influential people in and around the advisor universe. See the complete list and Special Report schedule for extended profiles of all the 2011 members of the IA 25.
These days, being called a “Washington insider” could be considered pejorative, but smart advisors and their partners are well aware that it’s also true now that advisors and their partners must, as PIMCO’s Mohamed El-Erian predicted at a Morningstar conference following the financial crisis, “Get used to the government being your partner.”
Trying to increase the chances that the "government" is an informed and helpful partner to investment advisors is David Tittsworth’s stock in trade. The executive director of the Investment Adviser Association (IAA) has raised significantly his profile, and that of the RIAs that he represents and of the IAA itself over the past few years through his testimony on Capitol Hill, through partnering with other advisor advocacy groups and through his quiet and effective advocacy inside the Beltway, all informed by his insider’s knowledge of how government works, or doesn’t.
“Our members want a government that works better than it has. There are divisions among investment advisors just like any other constituency,” Tittsworth said in an early April interview, but “most investment advisors support appropriate regulation.” Moreover, Tittsworth argues that “there’s a role for the federal government and specifically the SEC for carrying out the regulation. That’s one of the questions that remains as this plays out,” referring to implementation of Dodd-Frank and the federal budget debate. “What will the SEC get in terms of funding? Will you get an SRO like FINRA which is lobbying heavily for the job, or will investment advisors pay some sort of user fee to support regulation of the profession?” Tittsworth points out that “these are open questions” to which it is “impossible to predict the answers.”