Spire Investment Partners LLC and Portfolio Resources Group Inc. announced in early September that their independent financial advisors are now members of the Financial Services Institute.
The financial advisors’ first-year membership—usually $99 per person—is being offered on a complimentary basis by the firms.
Initiatives like free first-year memberships have helped FSI steadily increase the number of individual members, which has doubled since 2011. FSI has grown to nearly 37,000 financial advisors, said Chris Paulitz, FSI’s senior vice president of membership and marketing.
“It’s because of the commitment of firms like we announced today that our membership has grown so rapidly and sustained itself,” Paulitz said in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.com.
Firms started offering these complimentary memberships to their advisors in 2011, Paulitz said.
In addition to the 37,000 individual advisor memberships, FSI has about 100 small firms with corporate memberships. Of those 100 firms, about 60 have participated in a mass membership campaign, whether the first-year complimentary initiative or other similar programs, Paulitz said.
Spire Investment Partners, a hybrid independent financial advisory firm in McLean, Virginia, and the parent of both an RIA and a broker-dealer, has been a member of FSI since 2008, said Spire CEO David Blisk in a statement.
“[FSI is] the only organization that advocates on behalf of independent financial services firms like us—dually registered and hybrid,” Blisk continued. “FSI shares our values and commitment to education and public awareness by representing Spire with our regulators, legislators and the investing public. Without FSI, the best interests of our wealth advisors and clients would not be served.”
Antonio Camejo, CEO and co-chair of Miami-based Portfolio Resources Group, which is a privately owned broker-dealer serving clients globally, also recognizes the significance of FSI for its advisors.
“As a firm, we realized the importance of being part of an organization like FSI that gives voice to the interests of our specific sector of the financial services industry,” said Camejo in a statement. “Small independent advisors provide a critical service to the small investor, an investor who might otherwise be disenfranchised from professional financial advice. We look forward to a close collaborative effort with FSI to improve best practices in the industry and to reform, where necessary, misguided and burdensome regulatory mandates that negatively impact the ability of small firms to provide quality service.”
Paulitz touted FSI’s work in delaying the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule and protecting advisors’ privacy as a couple of the big issues where FSI’s advocacy has been influential.
“We’ve been advocating for all financial advisors for years,” Paulitz said, “and they want to help fund our advocacy.”
Since 2004, FSI has promoted a more responsible regulatory environment through involvement in FINRA governance as well as constructive engagement in the regulatory and legislative processes, according to the organization.
In addition to advocacy, FSI financial advisor members receive access to analyses of regulatory and legislative proposals; an Advocacy Action Center and all-in-one mobile app to easily communicate with legislators and regulators and keep up with industry news; opportunities to visit Capitol Hill and educate lawmakers; and access to FSI’s Financial Advisor Summit and the group’s publications and communications. —Emily Zulz