Trade Associations
RIAs Driving New Wave Of Interest In CIMA Designation, IMCA Membership
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:07

Tags: financial advisor

The Certified Investment Management Analyst designation got a lot of press last year as an emerging competitor to existing credentials. It turns out that nearly all of that interest was driven by registered investment advisors.

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Membership in the Investment Management Consultants Association, which administers the CIMA credential, surged a healthy 7% to 8,400 last year. 


Drill down into the numbers and you'll find that a net 620 RIAs joined the organization.


But overall membership actually increased by only 550.


Granted, attrition plagued the broker-dealer channel last year, but this indicates that RIAs are signing up for the CIMA faster while other types of advisory firm are giving up.


At this point, 27% of IMCA members are RIAs. If this goes on, IMCA may one day become a rival to today's RIA-heavy trade groups.

Alan Goldfarb, CFP, To Serve As 2012 Chair Of CFP Board's Board of Directors
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 09:29

Tags: advisor industry people | CFP Board

Alan Goldfarb of Weaver Wealth Management in Dallas is the new Chair of the Board of Directors of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

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Goldfarb, according to the CFP Board press release, developed the curriculum and structure of the nation's first personal MBA program for the personal financial planning profession to be registered with CFP Board, a program offered at the University of Dallas Graduate School of Management.


Goldfarb received CFP certification in 1978 and, says the press release, was instrumental in the organization's creation more than 25 years ago. 


Weaver's firm  manages $219 million of discretionary assets and $60 million in non-discretionary assets, according to Weaver's latest ADV.


A past Chair of CFP Board's Board of Professional Review (now Disciplinary and Ethics Commission), the CFP Board says Goldfarb also served on the Ethics Task Force that developed the most recent version of CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct.


Goldfarb also has served as the Director of the Financial Services MBA Program at the University Of Dallas Graduate School of Management and as Executive Director for the Southwest Institute for Personal Financial Education.




Sizing Up The Powerful Forces Aligned To Fight Making FINRA The SRO For RIAs
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 14:06

Tags: advisor industry people | CFP Board | Dodd-Frank | FINRA | RIAs | SRO

Last Thursday’s press conference went on for an hour but it took just three-minutes for David Tittsworth of the Investment Adviser Association to offer a scathing attack on the proposal to make FINRA the SRO for Registered investment Advisers.

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“So let me be clear,” Tittsowrth said in summing up,” enhanced investment advisor oversight is certainly needed, but giving that job to FINRA would be the wrong choice for a lot of reasons.”
IAA is a trade group with about 500 members that collectively manage more than $9 trillion.  Last week, IAA joined with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards,  Financial Planning Association, National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and TD Ameritrade Institutional to announce the results of a study the groups sponsored jointly that supported their opposition to naming FINRA the SRO for RIAs.
Expanding FINRA’s power by giving it responsibility for RIA examinations and regulation would impose, said Tittsworth, executive director of IAA, “extraordinarily high costs on investment advisors, most of whom are small businesses." However, Tittsworth added, cost was not the main reason IAA opposes naming FINRA the SRO for RIAs.
“This is not a debate just about cost, although that’s the focus of the press conference today,” said Tittsworth. “We believe that FINRA would be the wrong choice for a lot of other reasons, including their lack of accountability, their lack of transparency, their weak track record, and bias favoring the brokerage industry and that regulatory model.”
Tittsworth then slammed FINRA.
“FINRA’s budget and its governance are not subject to oversight by either the SEC or Congress,” said Tittsworth. “FINRA is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, and other laws that the SEC must adhere to.”
Near the end of his remarks, Tittsworth touched on an intriguing aspect in the alignment of powerful forces lobbying Congress over the future of RIA regulation. The North American Securities Administrators Association, an association representing state securities regulators, opposes naming FINRA as the RIA SRO.   
“Some organizations that are not represented here agree with these positions, including the Managed Funds Association, AICPA and The North American Securities Administrators Association,” Tittsworth said.
Cynical as I am about Washington, my guess is the alignment of these anti-FINRA groups will not be enough thwart the move to name FINRA the SRO of RIAs, a move supported by the largest Wall Street brokerages and banks.
Look at the array of firms aligned to fight the big Wall Street firms.
The Managed Funds Association probably does not have a lot of campaign contributions sloshing around Washington, D.C. So its influence is limited.
The AICPA with 380,000 members is stronger, but accountants are not exactly known for making large political contributions.
IAA is indeed a powerful group with a large base of money managers that undoutedbly could have Washington influence. However, among its ranks are the largest separate account managers that depend on wirehouse distribution. So I am not so sure how far IAA will go in fighting the big firms.
Let's face it, Wall Street firms still have far more influence in Washington than all of these groups combined.
While NASAA’s endorsement carries moral authority, betting on morality from Washington is unwise.
Sorry to be so cynical, but I remain skeptical that the groups aligned to thwart making FINRA the SRO for RIAs will be able to overcome Wall Street’s influence over Congress.


Regulation, Younger Advisors Are Key Issues For The Financial Planning Association's Next President
Thursday, November 10, 2011 08:15

Tags: financial planning

Minnesota financial planner Michael Branham has been elected president of the Financial Planning Association and aims to keep the organization flexible to its members' concerns.

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Based on what we've seen from A4A readers, Branham will need to focus on the central regulatory issues of 2011 when his term starts on January 1.


Financial planners want clarity on what a post-Dodd-Frank fiduciary standard will look like and, most importantly, who is going to supervise RIA firms that the SEC currently oversees.


As yet, Branham seems eager to let the FPA membership shape his policy, so now is probably the time for those with a strong opinion to weigh in -- if you haven't already.


He also says he's passionate about getting young people to join the profession. 



CFP Board Elects Four New Directors As Charles Moran, Others Prepare To Step Down
Thursday, November 10, 2011 07:40

Tags: CFP Board

The certifying body for the financial planning profession is getting some new blood at the top, including several noted advisors.

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The CFP Board of Standards has elected four new directors to replace current chairman Chuck Moran, Charles Robinson, and Terry Lister.


In the process, the group is not only expanding its top-level advisory pool but shifting focus more into an entrepreneurial  direction.


Joining are accountant John Connell, noted New York State planner Joe Votava, educator Eva Kampits, and Michael Greene, who runs the planning practice at Ameriprise.


All new directors will begin four-year terms in office on January 1.

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