Working across the financial industry to advocate for change and fighting for member interests in front of regulators and congressional leaders means pooling resources, connections, ideas and sharing perspectives. The IPA has worked closely with other associations on several initiatives, the subject of the panel discussion, “The IPA’s Coalition Partners: Working Together, One Issue at a Time.”
A massive industry undertaking was coordinating the response to the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule in 2015 and 2016. Organizations from across the industry, including broker-dealers, asset managers, banks and other firms met weekly to map out strategy, messaging and plans for getting in front of policymakers with a coordinated message.
While the debate was a challenge, creating a unified voice so that those making the rules heard a consistent message was critical to the effort. Many associations, including IPA, encourage members to develop their own relationships with lawmakers. This type of grassroots efforts can pay off when the industry is faced with new regulation.
“Advocacy isn’t a one-time hit,” said Jennifer Fitton, managing director, federal government relations, public policy & advocacy at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). “Relationships are cultivated over a period of time. You do that by having contact and being a resource.”
Tony M. Edwards, executive vice president & general counsel at the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) echoed that, saying, “We encourage members to build relationships with members of congress. Most real estate people think of government relations on local levels, but we encourage them to see that the issues impacting their businesses are also national.”
By sharing information, associations were able to know who had the best relationship with a particular member in order to maximize the effectiveness of communication, said David Bellaire, EVP and general counsel of the Financial Services Institute (FSI). “It worked surprisingly well having everyone in the loop and knowing what was going on,” he said.
Panelists agreed that despite the challenge of coordination, it’s critical to the industry that associations work together when possible to share relationships in order to improve outcomes for everyone.