Live! OneVoice2013: Fiduciary rule tops FSI's 2013 priority list

Regulatory reform and protecting independent contractor reps also big

By Bruce Kelly

Jan 29, 2013 @ 3:46 pm (Updated 3:30 pm) EST

fiduciary, advisers

The Financial Services Institute Inc. hopes to play a key role in the discussion and debate over the Labor Department's expected rule proposal on the fiduciary standard this year.

Labor is “holdings its cards close to its chest” regarding the new fiduciary rule proposal, which the industry expects in July, said David Bellaire, general counsel with the FSI, a trade and lobbying organization for more than 100 independent broker-dealers.

The organization has built a good relationship with Phyllis Borzi, assistant Labor secretary for employee benefits security, Mr. Bellaire said. But “the parameters are unclear,” Mr. Bellaire told reporters Tuesday in San Diego at the annual FSI meeting.

The Labor Department is looking closely at the value of advisers who give advice to retirement plans and are paid commissions to do so, Mr. Bellaire said. He said that the DOL showed a certain amount of “distrust” towards the financial services industry around this issue.

Two other top priorities for the FSI this year include protecting the status of independent-contractor representatives and advisers, and regulatory reform.

Revenue at the organization continues to grow, fueled by sponsors and strong interest from individual reps and advisers. FSI expects revenue this year to top $7 million, which is about double the 2010 level.