The strength of the Financial Services Institute (FSI) comes from our members and their personal engagement in our advocacy agenda. We know that our ability to fight for our industry depends on the day-to-day involvement of thousands of independent financial advisors and financial services firms across the country. We also know that our members sometimes wonder how they can make a difference, given the large bureaucracies involved in each new rule, and the arcane deliberative processes that factor into financial legislation.
What many members don’t realize, however, is that opportunities exist to engage regulators right in their own backyards.
One of the best ways our members can get involved in the regulatory process is through active participation on FINRA District Committees. While FINRA itself may seem somewhat distant and imposing, the regulator’s nationwide network of 11 Committees serves, in part, to facilitate a dialogue between themselves and the financial professionals who are in the field solving problems for their Main Street American clients every day. Each District Committee comprises small, mid-size and large broker-dealer firms, with membership ranging from about seven to nine members.
One FSI member, Wilson Williams of Williams Financial Group in Dallas, has made advisor engagement with FINRA’s District Committees a particular focus for his firm.
“The more people you have involved in the dialogue with regulators, the more you can get their ear and make a difference,” says Williams.
For independent financial services firms and their affiliated independent financial advisors who are not involved with advocacy activities, Williams offered these sage thoughts: “To sit back and let someone else worry about fighting for our industry’s interests is not the correct approach. I think you have to get involved and volunteer your time. Work with people who can help you make a difference and create change.”
Williams strongly encourages his advisors to get involved with their local District Committees, whether by serving on the Committees themsevles or by establishing relationships with current Committee members.