The Financial Services Institute continues to add to its rolls.

IEP Financial and Cetera Financial Group announced that 500 of their affiliated financial advisors are now new FSI members. Congruent with FSI’s growth strategy since its inception in 2004, the financial advisors’ first-year membership is offered free by the firms.

Valerie Brown, CEO, CeteraTampa-based IEP Financial is run by longtime industry veteran John Simmers, who formerly ran ING’s network of broker-dealers. Coincidentally, the private equity firm Lightyear purchased the network of three broker-dealers from ING in 2010, and rebranded them Cetera. Cetera is now run by Valerie Brown (left), another industry vet.

“IEP Financial is pleased to provide continued support for FSI and our brethren independent broker- dealers, Simmers said in a statement. “Having served as past chairman of the board for FSI, I know firsthand the passion and commitment this fine organization offers with respect to thought leadership and industry advocacy.”

“It’s more important than ever for our industry to get engaged and help ensure effective regulation through involvement with advocacy organizations like FSI,” added Brown, a current member of FSI’s board of directors. “Last year, we supported the new membership of more than 3,500 advisors to help increase the impact FSI has in shaping regulation that makes sense. We are proud to continue that support adding more than 400 additional advisors to FSI’s membership ranks.”

In addition to advocacy, FSI financial advisor members receive access to analyses of regulatory and legislative proposals, an “Advocacy Action Center” to easily communicate with legislators and regulators, and opportunities to visit Capitol Hill and educate lawmakers. FSI publications and communications are also included.

“Numbers and grassroots engagement are critical to our advocacy success,” said Dale Brown (no relation), FSI’s president and CEO. “Regulators and lawmakers pay attention when constituents are engaged in the policymaking process. So our collective voice is getting stronger and more influential. Our members are choosing to say ‘Yes We Will’ reform regulation through education and representation. The momentum our members are creating speaks loudly that every independent financial advisor should join the fight to protect their business by becoming an FSI member.”

FSI counts 100 financial-services firm members and 35,000 financial advisor members.