FSI Names Inaugural Recipients of Congressional Champion for Main Street Award

October 22, 2020

Four lawmakers recognized for dedication to preserving Americans’ access to affordable, professional financial advice

Today, the Financial Services Institute (FSI) awarded its Congressional Champion for Main Street award to Senator Chuck Grassley (IA), Representative Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Representative Richard Neal (MA-01) and Representative Ann Wagner (MO-02).

The annual award recognizes lawmakers for their continued commitment to advancing the interests of Main Street American investors by defending access to affordable, professional financial advice, products and services.

“We are pleased to present the FSI Congressional Champion for Main Street Award to these dedicated members of Congress,” said FSI’s President & CEO Dale Brown. “As the nation continues to navigate the financial and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for sound financial advice has never been greater. These lawmakers have fought tirelessly to ensure hard-working Americans can work with their trusted financial advisor of choice and ultimately achieve their financial goals.”

Senator Chuck Grassley serves as the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. During his time as chairman, he has led efforts to enhance retirement savings, including expanding employers’ abilities to offer multi-employer retirement plans, increasing the RMD age and removing the age limit for IRA contributions. These provisions, originally included in the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act sponsored by Senator Grassley, were part of the SECURE Act passed in December 2019. This summer, Senator Grassley penned a letter to the SEC expressing his concerns with the agency’s possible regulation by enforcement practices.

“I’m honored to receive this award. Many Iowans rely on their financial advisors to help plan for their futures. It’s important for Congress and the federal government to ensure that all consumers can access financial services and advice. I’ll continue to work in the Senate to advance retirement security,” Sen. Grassley said.

Representative Joyce Beatty serves as the Chairwoman of the House Financial Services’ Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, which actively works to promote diversity among the financial services industry and ensure minority communities have access to the financial services and advice needed to achieve their financial goals. She has met with FSI’s Advancing Women in Leadership group to discuss the industry’s and subcommittee’s efforts to address these important issues. Most recently, Representative Beatty voiced her commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in the financial regulatory agencies, making sure that communities of color and women are represented.

“As Chair of House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, I am committed to ensuring that the financial services industry adequately reflects the diverse tapestry of our nation. It’s very simple: diversity and inclusion should be priority goals because we know that they improve the bottom line for companies. I am more than honored to receive the Financial Services Institute’s Congressional Champion for Main Street Award, and I look forward to continuing my work, along with FSI, to create new opportunities for women and minorities to become investment advisors. All Americans deserve access to safe, sound, and affordable financial advice from individuals they know and trust, especially those in traditionally underserved communities,” said Rep. Beatty.

Representative Richard Neal serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means. This past year, he was instrumental in passing the SECURE Act, which expanded employers’ abilities to offer multi-employer retirement plans, increased the RMD age and removed the age limit for IRA contributions, among other provisions. Building on the bill’s success, Representative Neal has expressed his intent to introduce a “SECURE Act 2.0” in 2021 to help further expand Main Street Americans’ retirement savings. In addition, he is an advocate for Americans’ ability to work with the financial professional of their choice, expressing support of revising the tax code so as not to penalize those who choose to work with an investment adviser.

Representative Ann Wagner, the lead Republican on the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, has, for years, been a leading advocate for preserving investor choice. She was a vocal opponent of the Department of Labor’s 2015 Fiduciary Rule, stating that “oversight of broker-dealers must be about Main Street Americans and their access to sound financial advice.” Representative Wagner has been supportive of independent financial advisors, recognizing their contributions to their communities as small business owners and as citizens. She joins Representative Beatty in actively calling on the country’s top financial regulators to include more females and minorities in the workplace and has shared the subcommittee’s efforts with FSI’s Advancing Women in Leadership group.

“I’m honored to receive the Congressional Champion for Main Street award from the Financial Services Institute,” said Rep. Wagner. “As Vice Ranking Member on the House Financial Services Committee, I am committed to ensuring that hardworking families can save their hard-earned dollars and invest them into a better future for their children and a safe retirement for themselves. America is in a retirement savings crisis today, and Washington needs to be empowering individuals to save for retirement, not making it more difficult.”

Brown concluded, “We thank all of these lawmakers for their continued dedication to the independent financial services industry and the Main Street clients they serve.”