The Financial Services Institute Inc. last Tuesday unveiled a website and social network intended to improve its own policy advocacy efforts and collaboration among its independent-broker-dealer and financial adviser members.
“We nuked our website and built a new one,” FSI spokesman Chris Paulitz told reporters at the FSI Financial Advisor Summit in Washington. “We are now trying to tell our story through our website.”
The goal for the organization, which has 35,000 members, is to make its lobbying efforts on the federal and local level more accessible and to help its affiliates participate.
For instance, the site provides information on some 350 state bills that the FSI is following, including 70 social-media measures.
“We're delivering the tools necessary to create citizen advocates,” FSI chief executive Dale Brown told the conference audience of about 400. The organization has hired full-time lobbyists in Texas, Florida, New York and California, as well as Washington.
“Advocacy is the No. 1 benefit we give at FSI,” Mr. Paulitz said. “We're not just on the defensive. We're going on the offensive.”
The social network, FSI Social, is designed to give the FSI's firm executives and financial adviser members a virtual platform in which to collaborate and share best practices.
Mr. Brown promised that it will be a “safe” place for FSI members to network.
“FSI Social is a no-recruiting zone,” he said.
VALUE OF INDEPENDENCE
The FSI also unveiled two tools to help its members build their businesses — a one-minute video and a one-page infographic that tout the value of independence to clients and prospective clients. Both have been reviewed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. and talk about compliance issues.
Within the next month, the FSI will unveil what it calls an “all-in-one app” for smartphones that will provide access to its website, conferences and advocacy initiatives. For instance, it will include “push text” capability that allows members to send messages to lawmakers, according to Mr. Paulitz.
He declined to reveal how much the organization has spent on its website overhaul and virtual tools, but said that nearly its entire $7.2 million budget is dedicated to advocacy.
“That's the lens we look through for everything,” Mr. Paulitz said.