Advocacy Day 2016 a Success

This March, 26 FPACA members converged in Sacramento to meet with four government agencies as well as 38 legislators – all part of our 3rd annual Advocacy Days, this year a two-day event. During our meeting at the Department of Business Oversight, which regulates state-registered RIA firms and broker-dealers in California among various other licensees, we continued a conversation with the current Deputy Commissioner Nickolay Kotyrlo, whom we had met previously when he was a manager under the prior administration. Several key staffers also attended the meeting, including the agency’s general counsel and the lead examiner, among others. Mr. Kotyrlo indicated that with the $35 fee recently imposed on representatives of RIA firms, the agency has sufficient resources to conduct firm examinations more frequently. Their goal is to conduct exams on an average of every four years per firm, as opposed to more than 20 years apart, as has been the case in the past. We further explored how we could partner with the agency to host their staff as presenters at member meetings on compliance tips and “best practices.” For the first time, we also met with the head of the Department of Insurance, Commissioner Dave Jones, to discuss our common interest in weeding out the bad actors in the insurance industry. Commissioner Jones has a strong interest in eliminating fraud and elder abuse by unscrupulous insurance agents. This gave us a basis to explore our organization’s interest in preventing the misleading use of the term “financial planning” or the moniker “financial planner” by individuals who are selling products as opposed to offering comprehensive financial advice, and who further...

Advocacy Day 03-08-2016

FPA of California will be in Sacramento on Tuesday, March 8th for our third annual FPA of California Advocacy Day. We will be at the Capitol to engage in conversations with our State Senators and/or Assembly Members to introduce ourselves and FPA of California to them. We have found during previous advocacy visits to Sacramento and local district offices that representatives and staff are generally open to hearing about financial planning and how we are different from others in the financial services world. We appreciate the members statewide who are taking time from their busy practices to join us in Sacramento. Like anything in life or business, RELATIONSHIPS matter and these meetings build stronger relationships with elected officials and their staff members. When issues do arise (and they will), we will be more effective in influencing the outcome if we already have those relationships in place....

President’s Letter 2015-11

Working for Californian’s Financial Future We recently sent a letter to Ed Gjertsen, president of FPA national, expressing, on behalf of our members in California, a desire that national “move forward urgently with legislation that regulates financial planners as professionals, similar to that regulating architects, attorneys, accountants and physicians.” Part of our motivation was the feedback we got from legislators during our recent “Advocacy Week” when we repeatedly heard this question: “how is it going with your efforts to obtain state licensing of financial planners?” This tells us that not only are we being heard on your behalf, but that after our numerous visits to Sacramento and recently, legislative district offices, the legislators are beginning to know who and what FPA is and that we are recognized as a rational voice in the financial services world. FPA of California was founded to represent our members in Sacramento with legislators and regulators and also to have a hand in crafting and nurturing appropriate regulation of planning as a profession. Rest assured, our letter was written in a collegial tone, acknowledging the wonderful support we’ve gotten from our national organization, offering our assistance, and promising coordinated action. While those opposed to applying a higher standard to persons who purport to give “advice” on personal finances argue against “excessive government regulation” it seems to us that those who call themselves “financial planners” or some similar-sounding title – un-trained, un-certified, with no code of ethics or legal requirement to put the client’s best interests ahead of their own – do, indeed, pose a serious threat to the financial well-being of the general public...

President’s Letter 2015-07

​Your FPA of California Council wants YOU! Yes, we want you to take advantage of our newest initiative, FPA​ ​of California Advocacy Week. We invite you to join us during the week of September 14th through 18th to engage locally with your state senator and/or assembly​ ​member. During this week, your legislative employees will be at home in their respective districts and you have the opportunity to meet with them (free of the cost and time to go to Sacramento) and introduce yourself and FPA of California to them. We have found during previous advocacy visits that​ ​​representatives and staff are generally open to hearing about financial planning and how we are different from others in the financial services world. (We will, of course, also continue our annual, traditional “Day on the Hill” in Sacramento, next planned for March 8, 2016.) Why take time from your busy practice to set up an appointment and go visit? Like anything in your life or business, RELATIONSHIPS matter and these​ ​meetings​ ​build​ ​stronge​r ​relationships with elected officials and their staff members. When issues do arise (and they will), we will be more effective in influencing the outcome if we already have those relationships in place. We will provide you with trainin​g​​,​ a script to use for obtaining an appointment, and talking points and materials to bring with you to your meeting. To make things even easier, here is a link to find your California elected official based on your district of residence (once on their website, click on the Contact Us tab​). Let us know ​ASAP (via our Contact Us tab) if...

President’s Letter 2015-05

Your state legislative representative is very likely to know little more about financial planning than their constituents. Improving their understanding of what you do is a primary objective of our advocacy efforts in Sacramento and you can be a part of the endeavor later this year. Building on the work of several dedicated members over the last four years, the Financial Planning Association OF California (FPA of California) was formed expressly to represent California-based FPA members in Sacramento. FPA of California members are the Advocacy chairs of each of the 13 local chapters – Orange County, San Francisco, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, etc. On March 3rd this year, 22 planners from around the state came to the Capital and met with senators, assembly-members and staff fulfilling one of our two major purposes (to connect planners with their legislators). We introduced ourselves and our profession, offered ourselves as a resource, and let our government leaders know that we are roughly 3,000 strong, serve approximately 300,000 households in the state and oversee over $225 billion in investments. As you might suspect, very few of those we met understood the differences between Certified Financial Planner ™ professionals and other financial services providers, such as the comprehensive nature of our advice and our commitment to a fiduciary standard. By periodically meeting with the regulators and legislators even when we have no specific agenda – no regulations or bills to support or oppose – we continue the effort of prior years to be known as a group they could go to for a “finger-on-the-pulse” of their constituents and for unbiased information on financially technical...