Bryan Beatty CFP® AIF®
Not everything that happens in DC is all bad these days. And not a bad turnout for our inaugural event. We had about 12 members from our chapter out of the approximately 70 that participated in 2014.
The FPA in recent years has recognized that we have not been active with our lawmakers in our state capitals or on the hill in DC. One of the first high profile activities was probably the formation of the Financial Planning Coalition followed next by the suit brought against the “Broker/Dealer Exemption” filed and won by the coalition. This led them to an understanding that we must be front and center with policy makes to have a voice. This in part led to the first annual FPA Advocacy Day.
The event began the day before, Monday evening with a PAC reception. Thanking and recognizing donors to the PAC is important, but more important is telling them what their money is going towards as an effort. We heard from Karen Nystrom, FPA’s advocacy director about our efforts that she is spear heading with the help of the Raban Group who provide us with our access to lawmakers and their staff. FPA National Chair Janet Stanzak shared some of the successes and work that is being done in gathering feedback in regard to the value of the FPA to the members and briefly touched on some of the local state capital visits in states like Florida and Ohio to name a few.
We were introduced to 2 members of the financial services committee and congressmen who had joined us to say hello and thank us our efforts to help them better understand the issues we face in dealing with the public in our practice.
We then had dinner around the corner at Jimmy’s on The Half Shell were we received our packets and some instructions on what would transpire the next morning. In our packets were the teams for each state and with whom and where they would visit on the 24th.
Tuesday bright and early we headed to the Rayburn Building after making a brief stop for a photo on the Capitol steps. In the meeting prep room we were briefed on the key points to be discussed and where the FPA and The Coalition stood on pieces of legislation working their way through the committee process. We were given a set of expectations about what we might face. For example many of us would not meet the Senator or Congressman but would in all likelihood meet with a legislative aide, (LA) whose job it is to know the subject and that this is the person we need to get to know and be familiar with us.
This is where it gets a little interesting because for me personally this is where I learned a lot about why it is important that we be there talking to them. One LA in particular said to us in the Northern Virginia group, “The FPA, so are you all a new organization?” There you have it. We are invisible in the process. Like it or not that is the process.
All in all I found it to be an illuminating day into how things happen and maybe why things don’t happen. Though momentum has stalled on the Fiduciary Standard of Care in congress it isn’t completely dead. It is up to us to make our voices heard if we feel that it is the right thing for us to do. My suggestion is to get to know the issues, how they affect your practice, and your clients. If you have an opinion and I suspect many of you do, GET INVOLVED!
The idea is to take this back to your local chapter and your home state and do this in your capitol. Grassroots from the local to the state and then out to Washington DC is how we must get our message out to improve not only our practices, and to help protect the general population, but to lift the standards in our profession to the ranks the likes of Doctors, Lawyers, Architects, etc.
I hope to see twice as many participate next year!