The Financial Services Institute is recognizing a select group of members for their efforts to advance the interests of investors and the independent financial services industry.

FSI says it tapped 20 individuals for its newly formed Advocacy Circle of Excellence via “a robust process that examines members’ engagement and contributions to [our] advocacy mission and commitment to the industry.”

“We are … pleased to recognize this initial group of members for their exceptional contributions to our work on behalf of our industry and Main Street American investors,” according to FSI President and CEO Dale Brown.

Three of these individuals were named honorees of the inaugural Stephen R. Kareta Excellence in Advocacy Awards “for going above and beyond in their tireless efforts to protect and advance the interests of their clients and colleagues,” says FSI.

They are Dean Harman, managing director of Harman Wealth Management; Mary Kusske, president of Kusske Financial Management; and Summer Pretzer, head of supervision at Cetera Advisor Networks.

The late Stephen Kareta helped champion FSI’s financial literacy efforts and broader advocacy mission, the group says. He spent much of his career at Foothill Securities and Securities America.

The new members of the Advocacy Circle of Excellence group are being recognized for “building constructive relationships with their state and local officials, members of Congress” and regulators, and for being visible and a positive presence in their communities.

Along with the three individuals mentioned above, the other 17 financial professionals receiving an award are:

  • Richard Bryant, CEO, Capital Investment Companies
  • John Burmeister, president and CEO, Lion Street Financial
  • Howard Erman, president, Erman Retirement Advisory
  • Nick Graham, chief technology officer, Cambridge Investment Research
  • Brad Greenbaum, vice president, Altigro Pension Services
  • Dan Juechter, CEO, president & founder, Hunter Financial Advisors
  • Kiliaen Ludlow, executive vice president, operations & client services, Triad Advisors
  • Seth Miller, vice president, managing director, Transamerica Financial Advisors
  • Shawn Patrick,investment advisor representative, branch office supervisor, Transamerica Financial Advisors
  • Mike Pedlow, executive vice president, chief compliance officer, Kestra Financial
  • Mark Quinn, director, Regulatory Affairs, Cetera Financial Group
  • Guru Rao, vice president, technology, Lincoln Investment
  • Jim Saling, president, Saling Simms Associates
  • Stephanie Schiele, vice president, marketing, SFA Partners
  • Julie Sullivan, senior vice president & group chief compliance cfficer, The Strategic Financial Alliance,
  • Frank Tauches, executive vice president, American Portfolios Financial Services; and
  • Kevin Whiteford, president, Whiteford Wealth Management.

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