By Kapiloff, Howard
American Banker , Vol. 160, No. 96
Companies that help banks set up and run investment programs have gained a panel that will lobby for them in Congress, statehouses, and even an industry-related regulatory body.
The Securities Industry Association said it has formed a committee of executives from these so-called third-party marketing firms to help monitor proposed legislation and study related business trends.
Some executives with these firms have long felt they needed representation on a variety of proposed rules and legislation.
"The timing right now is certainly very critical for us to be heard," said Rick Rogers, president of BFP Financial Partners, a Baltimore-based marketing firm.
Mr. Rogers is one of nine members of the trade group's committee. The panel's chairman is Brewster Ellis, president of Robert Thomas Securities, Kansas City, Mo., and the rest of its members also are executives at third party marketing firms.
Mr. Ellis could not be reached for comment.
Third-party marketers are closely watching rules under review by the National Association of Securities Dealers, the securities industry's self imposed regulator.
The NASD is trying to keep bank investment programs clearly separate from traditional bank business in the minds of customers, who it fears may think that mutual funds and annuities are federally insured.
But third-party marketing firms criticize the proposed rules as unfairly burdensome and costly. They also complain that some areas have already been addressed by bank regulators and that NASD rules would only confuse consumers and those trying to obey the regulations.
Among the proposed rules is a provision that would bar securities firms - many of which own third-party marketing subsidiaries - from using confidential bank customer information to solicit business. …