Practice Management

Welcome To The New Financial Well-Being Movement

Holistic planning is key to achieving financial security

by Maggie Seidel

Ms. Seidel is EVP External Affairs and Chief of Staff at Finseca. Visit www.finseca.org.

As the home of the top financial security professionals, Finseca’s sole focus is on creating an environment that enables people to protect and enhance financial well-being — for themselves, their families, and their businesses.

Since our inception in 2020, Finseca has orchestrated the consolidation of four pivotal organizations. Among them are GAMA, which represents career agency leadership, and AALU, formerly known as the advocacy organization for advisors. NAILBA, which represents independent distribution and the brokerage marketplace, and Forum 400, the bastion of excellence for top-tier life insurance agents, have also joined our ranks. 

At the core of Finseca’s mission lies the reunification of the entire financial security profession. Our diverse membership encompasses licensed insurance agents, career agency leaders, and brokerage general agents. Many of these professionals also hold positions as registered representatives of broker-dealers or representatives of registered investment advisors, with some carrying credentials in all three domains. In addition, our membership is composed of essential team members, representatives from respected carriers, and affiliated advisors, including legal and financial experts. Collectively, we all understand that it’s only through working together that the cause of Financial Security for All can be brought to new heights.

At present, we are growing at one of the fastest rates of any professional association, Finseca is comprised of nearly 10,000 financial security professionals. We collectively refer to our members and the broader profession as financial security professionals or FSPs.

A Clear Strategy

Finseca’s strategy is clear: We will take every opportunity to spread our message and share the power of holistic financial planning and the professionals who provide it. In short, we believe we are creating a movement.

Today, we have a $12 trillion protection gap, and tens of millions of Americans have little to no retirement savings, according to reports from LIMRA. This is why we see what FSPs do as a calling rather than a job. Financial security professionals work very hard to ensure that millions of Americans will never have to struggle with their financial security. There is a growing awareness of this situation. 

A recent study from the ACLI, for example, showed that most Americans are concerned about the current economy and are looking for alternative ways to save money and access tools that will provide a lifetime income stream. The answer is simple: independent research by Ernst and Young illustrates that a holistic financial plan is an essential element in achieving financial security. In fact, according to this study, consumers with a diversified retirement portfolio that includes permanent life insurance, savings through investments, and guaranteed income from annuities get better outcomes.

Working Together To Deliver Financial Security To All

We believe that delivering Financial Security to All is only possible if we all work together. We need policymakers and regulators at the state and federal level to come alongside financial security professionals so their work can reach more people, not fewer. However, we have serious concerns about the rise of the regulatory state and the impact it is having on an already challenging compliance burden.

Climbing mountains starts with a simple step. And for our movement, step one is for the financial security profession to come together as one...

For example, if the Securities and Exchange Commission wins its ongoing legal challenge in SEC v. Cutter, more compliance and greater regulatory burdens may be coming your way. Finseca formally opposes the SEC’s actions, and you can read our legal brief at finseca.org. Now, to be clear, Finseca supports an appropriate level of regulations to ensure that consumers are protected. But we also recognize that there are occasions when well-meaning regulators go too far and actually hurt the people they are trying to protect.  

Similarly, we’re very troubled by the news that the Department of Labor is trying to jam a fiduciary rule through for the fourth time in the last 13 years. Frankly, this is the worst proposal of them all. It’s offensively framed (commissions are not “junk fees,” and state regulation is not “inadequate”) and substantively very bad.  

We took enormous strides forward last year when we got SECURE 2.0 signed into law with overwhelming bipartisan support. But if DOL is successful in moving this misguided rule forward again, it would unquestionably harm consumers and monumentally set back our efforts. DOL’s initiative, put simply, would enhance the regulatory burden on the very men and women working to help people find peace of mind. Fewer Americans will have access to the very advice and products they need to achieve financial security.

This is why we have been so vocally opposed to this proposal and will continue to fight it until it is revoked. On this issue, and so many others, we need to be expanding access and choice – not limiting it.

It’s Time To Play A Little Offense

Foundationally, in order for Finseca and our industry to be successful, I think it’s fair to say, we can’t keep playing defense – especially since all the profession ever tries to do is get their clients to take action that is in the best interests of their financial security. 

For example, New York Regulation 187 had a real impact on the marketplace. Specifically, from 2019 to 2021, individual life insurance premiums climbed 11.5% across the United States but only 3.6% in New York. That means, ordinary New Yorkers are missing out on opportunities to provide financial security for themselves and their loved ones. This cannot continue.

Governments at every level should be encouraging the work that FSPs do because at its core it leads to peace of mind for their constituents. As mentioned above, the data is clear — holistic financial planning, including life insurance and annuities, is objectively better for consumers. With greater scale and a stronger voice, we can have significant influence on public policy. 

 Finding The Simple Truths

Finally, I think all of this can be summed up with some very simple truths. We need to be connecting more Americans with financial security professionals. We need to exponentially grow the financial security profession and make their jobs easier, not harder. We need policymakers and regulators to work with the profession so they can serve more people.

 To truly have financial security for all, there must be a concerted effort to broaden access to essential financial tools and resources and the people who provide this invaluable advice. Financial security for all is not just an aspiration, it’s very possible. But climbing mountains starts with a simple step. And for our movement, step one is for the financial security profession to come together as one.

 

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