NAIFA is adapting its advocacy methods to better engage officials in Washington, both those who are elected to Congress and those appointed to regulatory posts, NAIFA Senior Vice President of Government Relations Diane Boyle told attendees of NAIFA's Legislative Forum at NAIFA's Career Conference and Annual Meeting.
"We are engaging new NAIFA members to become politically active," she said. "We are addressing the changing demographics of the country and their needs, and we must communicate to all these audiences in a way that they want to receive information."
NAIFA has a tough advocacy job ahead. More than 1,500 bills were introduced in the 113th Congress that are of direct interest to NAIFA members and their clients, and the current Congress is on a similar track. Additional measures would seek sources of revenue for the government, which always presents a potential danger to the insurance and financial services industry.
Every state legislature introduced even more bills than Congress, Boyle said.
On the State Level
NAIFA Counsel and Vice President of Government Relations Gary Sanders told the Legislative Forum that state measures to create state-run retirement plans present a real threat to NAIFA members.
"Many of these plans would directly compete with the types of retirement services you provide, which raises the question of whether states are focusing on the real problem," Sanders said. "What makes more sense, for a state plan to compete with effective and competitive private-market solutions or for the state to focus its resources on consumer education, outreach and greater incentives to think and act on retirement planning?"
Department of Labor Proposal
The DOL fiduciary rule proposal is a top NAIFA focus at the federal level, said NAIFA Director of Government Relations Judi Carsrud. The rule would impact all NAIFA members who work with retirement accounts as well as their clients.
"Regardless of the type of securities license you have, or don't have, if you provide advice for a fee, under the proposal you are a fiduciary when advising on retirement savings," Carsrud said. "If you don't want to be a fiduciary, you would need to work for free."
NAIFA has been actively involved with the issue, testifying at DOL and congressional hearings, submitting official comments, meeting with members of Congress and DOL officials, and activating our grassroots.
"We are taking this very seriously and have been at the forefront of strategies to ensure that any rule enacted protects your ability to serve middle-income families using the compensation model that best suits those families."
NAIFA By the Numbers on DOL Fiduciary
- $455,500 raised for Congressional candidates
- 270 meetings
- 241 fundraisers attended
- 102 meetings with Joint Trades and Coalitions
- 45 NAIFA hosted or cohosted fundraisers
- Multiple hearings, forums and briefings with policymakers
- 5 meetings with the DOL, White House and FINRA
- 2 appearances to testify before Congress and the DOL
Political Action and Involvement
NAIFA Vice President of Political Affairs Magenta Ishak called on Conference attendees to lead the way in NAIFA's grassroots and PAC activities. "Attend town hall meetings," she said. "Recruit others. Give to IFAPAC."
The GR Team concluded the Legislative Forum by crowning NAIFA members Robert Miller and Terry Headley as "IFAPAC Kings." Headley and Miller each has personally contributed over $100,000 to IFAPAC.
"This city has a rich history filled with traditions, pageantry and characters. NAIFA, too!" Boyle said. "But hidden, in the sometimes peculiar, are strength, intelligence and generosity. This is certainly true of the two gentlemen we’d like to honor today for their selfless commitment of time, talent and treasure.
"Gentlemen, thank you! As the first in NAIFA history to achieve this [$100,000] milestone, you are the IFAPAC Kings!"