Thursday, April 10, 2014

By Bryan Beatty, CFP®

Ever since I have been a member of the FPA which now is over 10 years, in late April or Early May we have done Financial Planning Day on The Hill. I am sure we were doing this event before I was a member, too. I have participated in this event at least twice always eagerly spreading the word of the profession of financial planning and the need to plan for your future. We have helped countless numbers of pages to Senator or House members and government employees that work on the hill. Many came to ask questions about debt management or investments and college education planning as well as retirement. We have definitely helped promote the profession as a very necessary and useful endeavor. Yet, we never really were able to reach the decision makers in Washington who make policy about Wall Street, Banking and Financial Services. 

FPA led an important charge against the "Broker Dealer Exemption". The FPA filed the lawsuit in July 2004, five years after the SEC adopted the “temporary” B/D Exemption rule, officially entitled “Certain Broker Dealers Deemed Not to be Investment Advisers.” The suit challenged the SEC’s authority to adopt the rule, which effectively allowed registered reps to be compensated by clients with fees—an arrangement that until then was only allowed to investment advisers—but avoid being regulated as investment advisers under the Investment Adviser Act of 1940 –as long as any advice they gave was “incidental” to the brokerage services they provided. The business of providing financial advice is not clear to the average person. The industry of financial services is rife with conflicts of interest and inconsistent messaging making it hard for a consumer to know what is in their best interest. 

In the aftermath of the 2007-08 Financial Crisis with the drafting of the Dodd Frank legislation, it was the hope of the FPA and NAPFA and the CFP Board that we might see the Fiduciary Standard emerge as the preferred standard of care in our industry. That hasn’t happened as of yet with the legislation still being written. Those same old influences have bent the ear of the lawmakers in Washington again and much of the potential good consumer oriented changes have been given little teeth in anything written so far.

In the past any influence we had on Financial Planning Day on the Hill was limited to the individuals we spoke with on that day but little leverage was created to influence policy makers to take a closer look at our profession to understand what policy actions might benefit the industry and most importantly the consumer.

This year we will be changing the focus of the Financial Planning Day on The Hill to FPA Advocacy Day in Washington, DC on June 24. An email went out the first week of April asking members to sign up. This will be a 2 day affair that will not only be packed with appointments with representatives in Washington but it will also contain training about how to build a grassroots movement for support for the FPA values and core beliefs all around the country back in the home districts of many of those representatives.

Because we are the local chapter and have such easy access to be involved I am coordinating the National Capitol Area Chapter members for National to help them have a strong showing. You are asked to register on the FPA National website, but please let Peggy Nelson,  and me,  know about your involvement so that we can maximize our coordinated efforts. Please follow this link to the FPA National web site to register! Thank you for your involvement in this new first time event!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Finally, no snow on the ground or in the forecast. Maybe it really is spring, after all.

Our firm was one of the many who interviewed candidates for hire at our Chapter’s first Career Fair in February.  I am happy to announce that we have made offers to two candidates and already have one who has accepted. We couldn’t be more pleased with this event, and I’m sure it will just keep getting better each year.

Jim Pavia and Michael Kitces gave two outstanding presentations in March for our media presentation and our member luncheon. The caliber of speakers and presentations we are seeing this year is the best I ever remember. I have had a sneak peek at some of the programs being arranged for the Spring Symposium on June 20th and I can tell you that it will not disappoint. Please take a look in this Newsletter and see some of our June Symposium speakers that have been booked for this great event.

Having chaired the Programs committee myself one year, I know how much time and effort goes into designing these programs. My hat goes off to all the members of this important committee!

Our annual charity golf event on May 8th is coming up fast-I just wish the daffodils were coming in as quickly. If you have not registered your twosome or foursome, do so soon.  This fun event sells out every year so don’t wait to sign up.

A few members of the executive board will be meeting with our counterparts in the 15 largest chapters next month for an intense day and a half of collaboration on best practices for our chapters. This group, the Alliance Forum, has a great deal of collective experience in getting the most from National FPA for our chapter and provides great information on speakers and programs that have been successful in other chapters.  As one of the largest and most successful chapters in the country, we continue to seek out resources to enable us to continually improve our member experience.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Warmest regards,
Helen Modly

2014 President, FPA of the National Capital Area