Photo by Brian M Finnigan

Photo by Brian M. Finnigan.

Advisors Need to Engage Washington to Change Perception of Wall Street

Advisors should build relationships with those on Capitol Hill if they want to change the way broker/dealers are perceived by lawmakers.

Independent broker/dealers, and the advisors employed by them, get swept together with the traditional Wall Street firms more often than not, said Dale Brown, the Financial Services Institute’s president, during the group's annual OneVoice conference in San Antonio, Texas. “How do we change that narrative?” he asked, during an on-stage conversation with Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff to George W. Bush and Robert Gibbs, former press secretary to President Barack Obama.

“Good luck,” said Rove. Instead of just going to see members of Congress, Rove recommended visiting with those same congressmen at home. It’s perhaps more important for advisors to show up to town meetings in the home district a year or two before an election in order to familiarize themselves with the process.

“The most effective people who brought pressure to bear on the White House were the people who did their homework every single day,” Rove said, noting these people were playing "the long game" and built relationships well in advance of calling upon those connections for a meeting. 

It’s about telling the story of who you are, who you serve and what you’re doing in local communities, said Gibbs. He called the job financial advisors do a “compelling story.”

“What’s lost in translation is good advisors are doing good things for clients,” H.D. Vest CEO Roger Ochs added. “There’s a few bad apples in our industry, but it deteriorates the entire industry’s reputation, he said. “I think what we have to do ... is to get the word out to consumers that 99 percent of advisors out there are doing a good job and providing great advice for clients.”

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