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 matters.

Our second purpose is to be your eyes and ears in the world of government regulation; to this end we are establishing relations with the Department of Business Oversight (formerly the Department of Corporations) and the Department of Insurance.

Part of this work is to monitor bills and issues that could impact our practices, like the recently proposed tax on professional services (SB 8). We oppose this measure, consistent with the policy of the FPA at the national level. We discussed this issue during our meetings with legislators at our Advocacy Day last March, and will continue to keep you informed of its status.

We will return to Sacramento again, next year, on March 8, 2016, and would love to have you join us – as before, we will work together, be well supported by FPA National, and have a pretty good time!

If you can’t join us in the capital, you will have another opportunity to pursue Advocacy in your own back-yard: we are designating the week of September 14th through 18th of this year, when the legislators are back home in their districts, as “Advocacy Week”, and encouraging FPA members to meet with their senators and assembly members. We’ll provide you with all the tools you’ll need, so that all you have to do is set up your appointment and attend the meetings. Ask around at your local FPA chapter meeting and perhaps “buddy-up” with another planner.