A group of 14 financial companies formed the American Securities Association (ASA) Wednesday. It will include the Bond Dealers of America, launched eight years ago, and the recently introduced Equity Dealers of America.

The aim of the ASA, the group says, is “to advance the business, market, regulatory and legislative interests of American middle-market and regional investment banks and securities dealers.”

Raymond James (RJF), Piper Jaffray, Stifel Nicolaus, Robert W. Baird and 10 other firms are among the founding members of ASA, which is based in Washington. According to a spokesperson, members of the new organization will remain active in the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association.

By serving as an umbrella group for the Bond Dealers of America and the Equity Dealers of America, the ASA should “provide a complete and unifying platform to address issues significant to Main Street investment banks and securities dealers as well as their executive leadership,” it explains in a press release.

“Deep roots and knowledge of local markets allow ASA member firms to better serve their communities than larger Wall Street firms. It is why we are trusted sources of financial advice for individuals and families and the reason investors, schools, hospitals and companies rely on us,” said Stephens COO Curt Bradbury, the inaugural ASA chairman, in a statement.

“Washington’s one-size-fits-all approach to industry regulation disproportionately harms our ability to drive economic recovery and job creation, which is vital to the regions we serve, and surely is not the intended purpose,” Bradbury added. “To remedy this, the ASA brings together the highest-level of industry leadership who share a vision for proscriptive change.”

In addition to Bradbury, the ASA Board includes:

  • John B. Jung, Jr., head of Capital Markets BB&T Securities;
  • Noe Hinojosa Jr., president & CEO, Estrada Hinojosa;
  • Jonathan E. Baum, CEO, George K. Baum & Co.;
  • Hill A. Feinberg, chairman & CEO, Hilltop Securities;
  • Douglas Preiser, co-COO, KeyBanc Capital Markets;
  • Andrew Duff, chairman & CEO, Piper Jaffray;
  • Paul Reilly, CEO, Raymond James Financial;
  • Paul Purcell, chairman, president & CEO, Robert W. Baird & Co.;
  • Ronald J. Kruszewski, Jr., chairman, president & CEO, Stifel Nicolaus & Co.;
  • Mark A. Medford, chairman, president & CEO, Vining Sparks;
  • John Ettelson, president & CEO, William Blair & Co.;
  • Gary Wunderlich, CEO, Wunderlich Securities; and
  • Thomas R. Paprocki, CEO, Ziegler.

An ASA affiliate, the Equity Dealers of America “is modeled after the BDA and exclusively represents the equity markets interests for the retail and institutional operations of its middle-market financial services firm members,” according to the group, which has appointed Chris Iacovella to serve as its CEO. Iacovella recently worked as senior director of global government affairs, strategy and public policy at Bloomberg. Earlier, he was special counsel and policy advisor to Commissioner Scott O’Malia at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and on the staff of the Committee on Financial Service in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The founding members of the EDA are BB&T Securities, Hilltop Securities, Janney Montgomery Scott, KeyBanc Capital Markets, Piper Jaffray, Raymond James Financial, Robert W. Baird & Co., Stephens Inc., Stifel Nicolaus & Co., William Blair & Co. and Wunderlich Securities.

“The BDA is already a proven force on behalf of its 57 fixed income members, having helped to persuade FINRA to withdraw its CARDS proposal and crystalizing the underwriter exemption in the SEC’s final Municipal Advisor Rule, among many other achievements,” Bradbury stated.

“This momentum sets the tone and approach for the ASA and EDA,” he said, “and through our collective efforts, middle-market investment banks and securities dealers will be better positioned to overcome the burden of undifferentiated regulation.”

— Check out FINRA to Examine BDs for Conflicts of Interest on ThinkAdvisor.