Daniel Penchina, principal at The Raben Group in Washington and the Financial Planning Association’s advocacy point man in Washington, feels good about FPA’s access to decision makers inside the Beltway.
“Financial planners are well liked on the Hill,” Penchina said in an interview May 5 during the FPA Retreat 2013 in Palm Springs, Calif. More pointedly, he said that House Financial Services Committee staffers “have a good understanding of the issues” that FPA cares about, such as the fiduciary standard for all advice-givers and funding the SEC’s exam efforts through user fees.
When asked if FPA is hamstrung by its relatively low-balance political action committee, Penchina said that “money doesn’t buy access, especially in the days of the Super PAC,” but that FPA will continue to “support members of Congress who support us.”
Penchina said it would be “interesting” to see how the new chairman of the Financial Services Committee, Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who has made known his negative feelings on Wall Street, steers the committee on items of interest to the FPA. However, Penchina said, “housing finance will likely be his top priority,” suggesting that a possible bellwether will be to see “how the confirmation hearings go” for the proposed new head of the Federal Housing Authority (FSA) in the Senate.
On the legislation sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) that would allow the SEC to impose user fees to fund the agency, Penchina said that “user fees have a chance,” but that “we’ve still got a fairly contentious Congress.” That contentiousness seems to have dissipated somewhat when it comes to tax reform, however, particularly in the House Ways and Means Committee, so he remains optimistic about the user fees legislation, especially if the bill gets a strong supporter in the Senate and becomes part of broader legislation.