Recognizing Excellence: 2022 Advocacy Circle of Excellence Honorees

September 20, 2022

It’s impossible to separate the success of our advocacy mission from the engagement efforts of our members.

Indeed, members across the country championing the issues that matter most is critical, helping to ensure that legislators and regulators understand our perspectives when they consider bills or rule proposals that meaningfully impact advisor businesses and Main Street investors.

The FSI Advocacy Circle of Excellence recognizes these essential truths. In its second year, the group highlights the members whose advocacy engagement on behalf of the independent financial services industry have made the most difference.

From the Circle of Excellence, the Stephen R. Kareta Excellence in Advocacy Award winners are selected. Kareta was a model FSI member who, throughout his extensive career, was a powerful advocate for the independent financial services industry.

Recipients of this award set the bar by building constructive relationships with their state and local officials, as well as members of Congress and regulators; engaging other members on key issues of importance to FSI and the industry; and establishing a visible and positive presence in their communities, among other efforts. This year’s three recipients were David Burg, Gwen Garrison and Hugh Simpson.

Burg, an Investment Management Consultant with First Harbor Financial Services in Coral Springs, Fla, is a 20-year industry veteran. He started as a wirehouse advisor before going independent in 2009.

Since then, he’s developed a passion for the independent space and the good it does for clients. Burg strongly supports FSI’s advocacy team and thinks it’s important for lawmakers to hear directly from folks like him.

“Having actual independent financial advisors meet with elected officials can make a real difference,” he said. “I’m always happy to do my part.”

Garrison, an advisor, is the President at LifePlan Financial Advisors in Newman, Ga. She started her firm 25 years ago, hoping to be an ally for anyone who wanted to improve their financial lives.

For her, advocacy is, in part, about making the industry a better place for the next generation of advisors.

“Being active in FSI’s advocacy is part of the legacy I can provide to protect and strengthen the industry I love and make it easier for other advisors to be successful by serving more clients and doing it better,” she said.

Simpson is the Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary for First Command Financial Services. As a firm executive, he says it’s crucial for his peers to work together to win better outcomes for those they serve.

“I believe when leaders at firms across the industry collaborate to speak on behalf of their hard-working advisors, they create a loud voice to promote reasonable regulation of the services clients desperately need,” he said.

In addition to Burg, Garrison and Simpson, the other members of the 2022 FSI Advocacy Circle of Excellence are:

  • Danielle Cooley, CFP®, CRPS®, Financial Planner, Lily Wealth Partners
  • Thomas Delaney, Sr. Vice President, Regulatory & Risk Controls, First Command Financial Services, Inc.
  • Beth Donner, President, Diversified Planning, Ltd.
  • Allen Eickelberg, Vice President, Director of Operations & Technology, Spire Investment Partners, LLC
  • R. Sherwood Greer, CFP®, RICP®, Managing Partner, Gate City Advisors, LLC
  • Darin Hammerschmidt, CFP®, Financial Advisor, LPL Financial/Denver West Group
  • Dan Karlsberg, Financial Advisor, Freedom Trail Wealth
  • Stephen Langlois, President, Kestra Financial
  • Lynn Laughter, CFP®, Owner, Laughter & Jones Financial Management
  • Dan Murphy, AIF®, Owner/Financial Advisor, Murphy Matza Wealth Management
  • Bruce Robson, CFP®, AIF®, Partner, Comprehensive Financial Solutions, Inc.
  • Barry Tate, AAMS®, MBA, Founder & CEO, Viaggio Wealth Partners

FSI President & CEO Dale Brown said, “We’re proud to recognize these 15 professionals, with special acknowledgment to David, Gwen and Hugh. All of them have actively participated in the advocacy process by meeting with regulators and elected officials, responding to our calls to action, organizing efforts to get the word out on critical issues and much more. We greatly appreciate their powerful example, along with the commitment of all our members.”

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