Ron Rhoades is not happy with the status quo. Ever since Mr. Rhoades, program chairman for the personal-financial-planning program at Alfred State College, was elected as the next chairman of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors on May 1, he's been perhaps the most vocal advocate of fee-only financial planners.
Through his Twitter account (@140Limited) Mr. Rhoades has taken direct aim at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. On June 22, he tweeted: “73 years after its creation, the only rational conclusion is that Finra is colossal failure, and should be dismantled.” The next day, he tweeted: “Beautiful weather in DC today does not obscure the devastation to small businesses & consumers which would occur if Finra oversees RIAs.”
Michelle Ong, spokeswoman for Finra, declined to comment.
Broker-dealers, and more specifically their commission-based business models, have come under Tweet assault by Mr. Rhoades as well. “I say it's far past time for the extinction event — long in the works — to occur. B-Ds are dinosaurs. RIAs are 21st century professionals,” he tweeted June 23.
“I've had some success of influencing the public-policy debate over the last several years or so, because I'm vocal, I know how to do research, and I'm not afraid to set forth my views and principals, and stand up and say: 'Hey, this is what we should be heading towards,'” Mr. Rhoades said in an interview.
It's not all criticism, though. Mr. Rhoades also focuses on helping direct other advisers on how to be proactive themselves by giving tips on how to contact the local congressperson to protest the Bachus Bill, for example.
“It's a good outlet for communicating thoughts and resources,” he said. “I have lots of thoughts that come to mind throughout the day, and Twitter lets me put them down real quick,” he said. He's not joking about there being a lot of thoughts, either. So far, he's averaging 1,000 tweets a month.
To date, the feedback he's gotten has been mostly positive, even with Twitter followers with ties to Finra and who are broker-dealers. “There hasn't been much disagreement,” he said.
Melissa Joy, principal at Center for Financial Planning Inc. and a Twitter follower of Mr. Rhoades', might not agree with everything he says. But the fact that someone is out there saying these things is a good thing, as far as she's concerned. “It's a wonderful opportunity to have robust conversations about the future of the industry,” she said.
Mr. Rhoades intends to keep tweeting the good fight after he assumes his new role as NAPFA chairman Sept. 1.
“The rhetoric might get toned down a bit,” he said. “But the core messages won't change.”