As this election season careens to a close, financial advisors will be watching the outcomes of the various federal, state and local races closely.
Rarely, however, have advisors made the leap to becoming candidates themselves, let alone gotten elected.
In the current 112th Congress, financial advisory experience is limited. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was a stockbroker in the early 1960s, before becoming in successive order a journalist, congressional aide and elected politician. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) was an institutional stockbroker and broker-trader at the Pacific Stock Exchange before entering politics; he is not running for re-election.*
The picture changes only modestly if one includes accountants, of which there are seven in the House and two in the Senate. By comparison, according to an August 2012 report by the Congressional Research Service, Congress has 200 lawyers, 81 educators, 17 farmers, five ordained ministers, two pro football players and one astronaut.
Financial Planning Association head Paul Auslander recently argued advisors should get more interested in public office. Why, though, has the interest been so modest to begin with?
One can speculate, quite plausibly, that the key reasons include: (1) Advisors are too busy to undertake that level of political involvement. (2) Advisors earn incomes far higher in their current jobs than they would from any political office. (3) Advisors see anti-Wall Street public sentiment as a formidable hurdle to their ability to win elections.
Yet certain other factors merit consideration as well—and might point some advisors toward a different conclusion.