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Daniel Barry takes on two big challenges: fighting for financial advisors and filling the size 15E shoes of Duane Thompson

Barry says he'll fight hard for financial planners and RIAs, but half of FPA's members hold a Series 7

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 – 3:12 AM by Brooke Southall
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Daniel Barry: As a former securities industry association lawyer, I have a more balanced view.

After years of grooming by a legendary figure and nearly a year of transition, Daniel J. Barry, has finally become the chief lobbyist for the Financial Planning Association.

The 44-year-old lawyer replaces Duane Thompson, who left his post last September. Barry’s title is managing director of government relations and public policy. Barry joined FPA in June 2007 as director of government relations and has overseen FPA’s key legislative initiatives.

He is stepping into the spotlight in one of the industry’s most important professional associations at a time of fast evolution for the industry. One indication of that what’s on his agenda: lobbying for regulation of financial planners. See How financial reform gives the SEC new bite; plus at least five other things advisors ought to know about the legislation. His vision for an industry oversight board is to have it act more like a state-level professional board than a federal-style FINRA-like organization. For instance, instead of audits, it might respond to consumer complaints.

Thompson largely made his name by successfully leading a seven-year fight to overturn the Merrill Lynch Rule, a special exemption that allowed financial advisors to give financial advice.

Barry has a new kind of challenge, says Steve Winks, managing principal of SrConsultant.com of Richmond, Va.

New era

“Duane Thompson will be very difficult to replace, nothing against Dan Barry, but Duane has such a grasp on a broad range of issues that represents decades of perspective not easily replicated,” he says. “On the other hand the industry is ushering in a new era embracing modernity which represents an entirely different framework in which to advocate on behalf of the consumer and advisor.”

Thompson says that Barry is ready to take the reins. [Thompson now heads Potomac Strategies LLC in Kensington, Md., a consulting group that describes “developing a Washington presence” among its practice areas on its web site.]

“I have worked with Dan many years in the financial services industry and know him to be the consummate professional. His well-deserved promotion only confirms FPA made the right choice in hiring him three years ago to run its government relations program. He will represent FPA and profession well in his new responsibilities and especially during a time of new challenges and opportunities on the fiduciary front.”

Marv Tuttle, FPA executive director and CEO, believes that Barry is the right person for these challenges.

Tirelessly worked

“Dan has shown tremendous leadership and has tirelessly worked to solidify FPA’s role as a leading voice in policy and legislative actions impacting the financial planning profession,” he said in a release.

Barry, who formerly worked as a lawyer for the Securitities Industry Association, which was later folded into SIFMA, says that, indeed, Thompson’s passion is “tough to match.”

The SIA experience is helpful considering that half of FPA members still hold a Series 7 license, he says. Barry adds: “I have a more balanced view of things.” He says that his two years working by Thompson’s side also leaves him well-prepared for the task at hand.

But he says his passion on the issues facing advisors has grown because of the contact he has with FPA members as part of his work with the Financial Planning Coalition.

Throwing up barriers

“It drives me crazy that [some people] are throwing up barriers to” having financial advisors sitting on the same side of the table with investors, he says. “How can you be against something like that?”

Barry believes he has a good grasp of advisory issues after three years with the FPA and a couple of years of working side by side with Thompson. He has been essentially filling the duties of Thompson since he left in any case. The only duty of Thompson’s that he won’t assume is running the FPA’s pro bono effort, which was moved to Denver. Barry is working from Washington.

Other RIABiz stories about the FPA:
Martin Kurtz, president of Financial Planning Association for 2011, will take pragmatic approach

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