Financial services associations opened wallets to influence financial reforms in second quarter

SIFMA alone spent $1.25M April through June on a variety of issues

Aug 18, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

By Sara Hansard

Groups representing financial advisers and all facets of the financial services industry spent big bucks lobbying Congress during the second quarter, according to recent filings with the House of Representatives' Office of the Clerk.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, for example, spent $1.25 million during April through June to lobby Congress on the Obama administration's stimulus bill, bankruptcy reform and other issues, according to a recent disclosure report.

The New York- and Washington-based group also spent lobbying dollars on the Troubled Asset Relief Program, executive compensation and preserving independent-contractor status for financial services workers.

Meanwhile, the Washington-based Investment Company Institute spent $1.23 million on lobbying Congress, according to its filing.

Its priorities included proposals for a financial consumer product safety commission, TARP, derivatives, derivatives market reform and taxes on securities and mutual fund transactions.

It also lobbied against legislation that would restrict advisers affiliated with financial services firms from giving investment advice to 401(k) participants.

The American Council of Life Insurers in Washington spent nearly $2 million during the quarter.

The ACLI lobbied for the option of federal regulation, financial services regulatory reform, TARP and derivatives market reform.

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors in Falls Church, Va., spent $315,000 on lobbying efforts during the quarter.

According to its filing, NAIFA worked to ensure that industry-associated advisers could give investment advice on 401(k) plans.

It also pushed for tax breaks on annuities and legislation that would ensure that brokers received 12(b)-1 fees.

NAIFA also lobbied against several regulations issued by the Finra and the Securities and Exchange Commission that would impose tighter regulation on equity index annuities.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. of New York and Washington spent $230,000 lobbying for financial regulatory reform, harmonizing broker-dealer and investment adviser regulation, and investor protection and education, according to its filing.

The Financial Planning Association of Denver spent $96,000 on its lobbying efforts during the quarter.

The group's focus was financial services regulatory reform, improved 401(k) disclosure and automatic enrollment into individual retirement accounts.

The FPA also lobbied in favor of legislation that that would require advisers who give advice to 401(k) participants to be independent.

The former NAVA Inc., now the Insured Retirement Institute of Washington, spent $80,000 lobbying for annuity tax breaks, streamlined insurance agent licensing and legislation, and regulation pertaining to annuities.

The North American Securities Administrators Association Inc. of Washington spent $45,000.

It worked to get fiduciary standards for broker-dealers who give investment advice and to get state regulators on a systemic-risk oversight council, as well as reinstating state oversight of securities offerings.

It also lobbied to ban mandatory-arbitration clauses.

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