The Definitive Voice of, and Advocate for, Florida Securities Firms and Investment Advisors for More Than 80 Years.
MEET Lia Rolle, Sr. Manager, Counsel for the Senior and At-Risk Clients (SARC) Team and Raymond James and Associates. An Institutional Member of the FSDA.
We are speaking today with Lia Rolle. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was raised in Tampa, FL. I went to college at the University of South Florida and Cooley Law. I worked for the Whistleblower Law Firm in Tampa before joining Raymond James in 2020.
Tell us a little about your firm.
Raymond James is an independent firm dedicated to placing clients’ needs first, as well as treating their financial advisors as clients.
Why is it important for your firm to be a member of the FSDA?
It is critical that we partner with and understand the valuable resource that FSDA is for the State of Florida and its residents. I know that the members are incredibly involved locally in the St. Petersburg/Tampa area.
Please tell us a little bit about that involvement and your firm’s “give something back” initiative.
Raymond James is committed to caring. More than five decades later, we’re proud to continue the legacy – started by Raymond James founder Bob James, grown by his son and longtime Chairman and CEO Tom James, and now continued by our Chairman and CEO Paul Reilly, advisors and associates – by investing our time, money and talents into the communities we serve. It’s so much more than tradition; it’s part of who we are.
Charitable Giving. As a financial services firm, we have a unique understanding of the power of charitable giving, which is why we seek to practice it generously.
Volunteerism. The ways we give back extend beyond the financial. Our associates are also enthusiastically generous with their time and get out to give back.
Lia Rolle, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.
MEET Andy Shipe, Associate General Counsel in the Private Client Group at Raymond James, an Institutional Member of the FSDA.
We are speaking today with Andy Shipe, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was raised in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, before I headed off to college at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and then law school at Fordham University in New York City. I began my career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx, and then transitioned to financial services by joining the CFTC and the SEC back in Washington, DC.
At both agencies, I worked on legislation and regulatory reforms that impacted intermediaries in the securities, derivatives and currency markets. After many years in government service, I moved to the private sector where I advised U.S. and non-U.S. firms as to compliance with the overlapping standards that apply to securities broker-dealers, derivatives firms, asset managers, and exchanges. I also advocated on behalf of investment firms before legislators and regulators as they sought to create or change rules that govern the financial services industry.
This November, I relocated to St. Petersburg to join a native Florida institution. Raymond James has a world class team focused on serving individuals and families as they plan for their futures. We’ve been a member of FSDA for many years and appreciate FSDA’s support for investor protection and financial literacy.
Why is it important for Raymond James to be a member of the FSDA?
Working with legislators and agency leaders in Washington taught me just how much policy makers need information from the industries they oversee. Decisions are made quickly, and the agenda can change overnight. For a business to thrive, it has to educate policy makers and be alert to their priorities.
Florida is a growing state with an economy that is attracting new residents, new businesses, and new industries. In this rapidly changing environment, the legislature and the executive branch will be very attentive to the protection of investors and the well-being of the local businesses that employ Floridians. FSDA keeps us up to date on developments in Tallahassee, and provides a voice on the issues that matter to our industry.
Please tell us a little bit about Raymond James’ community involvement and your firm’s “give something back” initiative.
Before moving to Florida, I was the pro bono attorney for our local Little League. I am glad to be with a firm that celebrates community involvement. Raymond James associates are active in cities and towns across the country. During this year’s annual Raymond James Cares Month, our associates and advisors organized donation drives, hosted virtual bingo nights, distributed meals to the needy, and cleaned up public parks. All told, our associates volunteered nearly 6,700 hours to benefit 250 charitable organizations. I believe our presence in local communities and the variety of our associates’ efforts truly sets us apart.
Andy, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.
MEET Lisa M. Marsden, IACCP® President/Founder of Coulter Strategic Services. A General/Advisor Member of the FSDA.
We are speaking today with Lisa M. Marsden.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in New York raised in South Florida. I have worked for bank investment trust departments in operations and project management then for independent registered investment advisors as Chief Operating Officer/Chief Technology Officer and Chief Compliance Officer before starting my professional compliance firm in 2016. Coulter Strategic Services works with select advisory firms throughout the US and a foreign advisor.
I am a past board member and former president of the Financial Planners Association of South Florida and am currently a member. I worked with Women in Distress of Broward County (WID) in their Economic Empowerment program. As a volunteer, I helped coordinate CFPs and others to provide financial literacy to survivors of domestic violence. Our goal was to provide the survivors with financial literacy to help them become or remain independent and stay away from their abusers. As part of the educational process, we met in person with the survivors. Due to the pandemic, we met virtually; then, I and a CFP created an educational video for WID to distribute to new survivors.
Please tell us a little bit about your firm.
I founded Coulter Strategic Services in 2016 as a way to help advisory firms leverage their resources to better manage their compliance programs. Coulter Strategic Services assists the firm's Chief Compliance Officer in managing the day-to-day compliance program. Coulter Strategic Services also works on special compliance projects for advisory firms and compliance consultants, hosts discussions with other compliance professionals, provides compliance training for advisory firms, seminars/webinars and at the collegiate level for those seeking financial degrees.
Why is it important for Coulter Strategic Services, to be a member of the FSDA?
I see the impact that legislation and regulation have on the smaller advisory firms, and I would like to help be a voice for those firms so they can continue to help their retail investor clients. I also welcome the opportunity to learn more about the FSDA and the association's work.
Lisa, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today.
MEET George Chuang, CFA, President and CEO, Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc., and Advisory Member of the FSDA.
We are speaking today with George Chuang, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Taiwan and moved to Maryland at the age of 8. While in middle school, my family moved to Southern California where I spent over three decades in the Los Angeles metro area before relocating to Florida. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of California in Irvine, then, earned an MBA from the University of Southern California. I started my financial services career at Bank of America as Assistant Vice President for their mutual fund business. In 1998, I joined Transamerica and served in several different roles, with most of my time in leadership positions for Transamerica’s retail broker dealers. I moved to Tampa in 2009 to join the leadership team in our St Petersburg office.
Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. (“TFA”) is a retail broker-dealer and RIA that provides services and products through our independent financial professionals. Almost all of our financial professionals are affiliated with one our retail insurance agencies. Our financial professionals primarily serve the middle market in all 50 states. We have approximately 3100 registered representatives and 1200 investment advisory representative. In serving the middle market, financial literacy and education is a core part of our culture.
Why is it important for Transamerica, to be a member of the FSDA?
Transamerica is very committed to advocacy efforts that help our industry deliver product solutions for our retail clients. Like FSDA, we are very interested in creating better financial futures for the investing public including supporting FSDA’s commitment to financial literacy for Floridians. The networking opportunities through its Outreach programs have also been extremely valuable.
I know that the members at Transamerica are involved locally in the St. Petersburg area. Please tell us a little bit about that involvement and your firm’s “give something back” initiative.
Transamerica’s offices in Florida are located in St. Petersburg. Our St. Pete Foundation Committee and our employees are very involved in our local community. We regularly support the Suncoast United Way, Operation PAR, American Heart Association, Toy for Tots, Habitat for Humanity, Pinellas Hope as well as various other non-profit organizations.
George, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.
Meet Dionne Fajardo, Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel at Element Pointe Advisors, LLC and Individual Member of the FSDA
We are speaking today with Dionne Fajardo of Element Pointe Advisors, LLC, an investment adviser located in Miami, Florida.
Dionne Fajardo, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was raised in Minneapolis and went to college at World College West in California. After college, I lived in Taiwan, R.O.C. and then moved to Saint Petersburg, Florida where I began my career in financial services with William R. Hough & Co. I attended Stetson University College of Law and worked at AEGON/Transamerica. I then worked in private practice at Wiand Guerra King P.A., where I led its Compliance Practice Group representing broker-dealers and investment advisers with compliance and regulatory matters. I joined Element Pointe Advisors, LLC in 2020.
Tell us a little about your firm
Element Pointe Advisors is an investment adviser to high net worth investors and family offices.
Why is it important for you, to be a member of the FSDA?
I have appreciated FSDA’s engagement with our state regulator. I believe that FSDA’s open dialogue with Tallahassee has helped to effectively promote and support investor protection, public education, and industry initiatives.
Dionne Fajardo, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.
We are speaking today with Joshua Cefkin, Sr. Director, Client Services and Brokerage Operations, TradeStation Securities Inc.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself:
I was born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and graduated from Mars Hill College, NC where I majored in Business Management & Finance, including a study abroad at Regents College in London, UK. After working in banking and finance for 10 years I shifted my career focus to the brokerage industry and became a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley. I have always enjoyed managing a team and have been in a managerial role for most of my career. Looking to continue to gain knowledge and experience in the industry, I joined TradeStation in 2012 where I have had the privilege to lead multiple departments in achieving new milestones in service levels and new account growth. Throughout my carrier at TradeStation I’ve had the opportunity to create and manage several different groups that cover various aspects of the business, including Client Services, Technical Support, Trade Desk, Retail and Institutional Sales, Account Services and Tax Reporting. Whether creating a new team or taking over an existing one, my focus is on process efficiency, automation, and business scalability.
Tell us a little about your firm:
TradeStation offers advanced trading technology and online electronic brokerage services to active individual and institutional traders in the U.S. and worldwide. The company’s innovative trading and analysis platforms provide one-click access to all major U.S. exchanges and market centers, while its expansive product offering enables clients to design, test, optimize, monitor, and automate their own custom equities, options, and futures trading strategies. Currently we support trading in equities, equity options, futures and futures options. Remaining committed to providing the best trading experience, our platforms and brokerage services have received awards and recognition from respected industry reviewers like Barrons.com, StockBrokers.com, Investopedia and Investor’s Business Daily.
Why is it important for TradeStation, to be a member of the FSDA?
TradeStation is a self-directed, self-clearing, brokerage firm, meaning we offer multiple trading platforms and extensive educational resources, but we do not offer trade advice. That being said, we are a licensed broker-dealer which means we are subject to the same rules and regulations that govern full-service broker-dealers. Because of our setup, especially now that commission-free online trading has become so omnipresent, it is important for us to network and share our perspective on the securities industry with all types of brokerage and advisory firms. Being a member of the FSDA allows us the opportunity to participate in these discussions with other industry professionals, embrace our shared mission to educate investors and collectively advocate for fair laws to protect the public.
I know that the members at are incredibly involved locally in the South Florida area. Please tell us a little bit about that involvement and your firm’s “give something back” initiative.
TradeStation has a firmwide initiative to give back to our community and help those in need through a program called TradeStation Cares. To raise money, we incorporate fundraising events into our department initiatives, for example, during Client Services Week, we donate prizes for a raffle in which all proceeds are utilized by TradeStation Cares to help families in need. Additionally, we fundraise and work with several different causes and organizations throughout the year, for example The Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, Habitat for Humanity and others. We also volunteer at homeless shelters, food banks and environmental clean-ups. TradeStation is also a proud sponsor of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a nationally known childhood cancer prevention and support charity.
Joshua Cefkin, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.
MEET Heather Cooper, Associate Attorney of FSDA Advisory Member Baritz & Colman LLP.
We are speaking today with Heather Cooper, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have been with Baritz & Colman LLP since 2015, where I concentrate my practice in financial services litigation. Prior to that, I was a Law Clerk with the Office of the General Counsel of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, where I had the opportunity to work with all four divisions of OFR, giving me a broad range of legal experience in the oversight of Florida's financial services providers.
I was born in Miami, but spent most of my childhood throughout Broward County, Florida. My high school career was focused on journalism and working on the student newspaper, so I followed suit in college, but the long-term goal was always law school. I am a very proud “Double Gator”. I earned my BS in Journalism Summa Cum Laude from the University of Florida in 2010, and I received my JD in 2015 from the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law. In law school, I was a member of the Corporate and Securities Moot Court Team, editor of the Journal of Technology Law & Policy, and publicity chair for the Law Association for Women. While obtaining my degrees, I also worked as a legal assistant at an Am Law 200 defense firm and made sure to travel internationally as often as I could get away with.
On a personal level, my family, my dogs, and traveling are my passions. Another major priority for me is to support diversity and inclusion initiatives in not only the financial services industry but also the legal profession. I also feel very strongly about promoting the rights of women generally. For the past several years, I have served on the board of the South Palm Beach County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL) and have been a member of the Southeastern Women in Financial Services (SWIFS). I also currently serve on FSDA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and I sit on the board for the Young Lawyer Section of the South Palm Beach County Bar Association.
Baritz & Colman LLP was founded by Neil Baritz in 1996, with offices in New York and Florida. We represent financial firms, clearing and custodial firms, broker-dealers, registered representatives, investment advisers, insurance agents and industry professionals before state and federal courts, AAA and FINRA arbitration panels, and state and federal regulators (including Florida’s OFR, the SEC, and FINRA) throughout the country. We are regularly engaged in matters such as entity formation, registration, licensing, arbitration, litigation, employment, and regulatory inquiries or investigations. Our Firm’s other practice areas include real estate, corporate, commercial litigation and trust and estates.
My firm believes it is important to give back to the community and supports its attorneys in the initiates we feel strongly about. My firm has donated its time and resources to numerous local fundraising events put on by the organizations and associations that I am involved in. Also, through SWIFS, I am able to contribute my time and resources to the Pace Center for Girls. On a personal level, I also like to support Black Girls CODE as well as the South Florida Wildlife Center. I have volunteered at the Center and delivered countless hurt animals there - Birds, squirrels, possums, you name it. If you are local and find hurt or orphaned wildlife, please try and deliver or coordinate a rescue with the Center.
Why is it important for Baritz & Colman LLP, to be a member of the FSDA?
FSDA is an integral advocate for securities firms and professionals in the state of Florida, and the goal of Baritz & Colman LLP is to support the financial services industry, so our involvement with FSDA naturally flows and is a priority of the Firm in order to best serve our clients.
Heather Cooper, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.
MEET Julia Richardson, VP, Supervision-Fiduciary Services at Raymond James. A Corporate Member of the FSDA.
We are speaking today with Julia Richardson, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was raised in St. Matthews, SC and most of my extended family still lives in South Carolina. I earned a B.A. in Political Science from Barnard College, Columbia University in New York City. I worked for a few years at a non-profit in Philadelphia before attending law school at the George Washington School of Law in Washington, D.C. After law school, I moved a little closer to home and accepted a job in Charlotte, NC at K&L Gates where I began my career as an ERISA & Executive Compensation attorney. I spent a number of years at Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement & Trust focusing on institutional fiduciary issues, before joining Raymond James, in July of 2019 to spearhead the implementation of Regulation Best Interest for Raymond James. My current focus continues to be on Reg BI, but also on other fiduciary related regulatory matters that impact Raymond James.
Why is it important for Raymond James, to be a member of the FSDA?
As a financial institution based in Florida, Raymond James sees the critical importance of the FSDA as a representative body of the industry in both regulatory and legislative matters. In addition the FSDA is an organization that espouses the values Raymond James believes in with giving back to our community in various ways. This includes, but is not limited to, expanding financial literacy amongst our youth in Florida, protecting vulnerable communities against financial abuse, and working with industry peers to highlight the career opportunities available in our industry for future generations.
I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in various committees on the FSDA. The breadth and depth of expertise and knowledge both brings awareness for me and my firm, but also to our broader community. The financial industry in Florida is not only growing, but the clients and customers in need of our services is as well. The FSDA is a platform for both networking, education, and advocacy that aligns with the values and culture of Raymond James. Knowing I can impact the industry positively is gratifying to me as an industry professional. The FSDA members work for the good of both investors and the industry.
Along with being on the Executive Committee of the FSDA, I am on the board of the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts. I am co-chair of the Women’s Inclusion Network, along with Erin Linehan for Raymond James. I also am active in supporting the arts and cultural institutions in the local Tampa Bay area.
Julia, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.
MEET Hank Sanchez, Managing Director, Bates Group LLC.
Hank, please tell us a little bit about yourself.I am a seasoned compliance and legal professional with over 30 years of securities industry experience working with a wide range of companies, from small financial firms to national clients. I have extensive expertise in risk management, investment advising, financial legal issues, risk assessment, compliance, and due diligence. I was raised in Bayonne, NJ and graduated from Richard Stockton State College, Pomona, NJ (B.A. in Criminal Justice). In between college and law school I was a New Jersey State Trooper. I went on to earn a J.D. from Rutgers-Newark law school, and then an LLM in Securities Regulation from Georgetown University Law School. For over a decade, I worked as a regulator for the SEC, and enforcement counsel for NASD n/k/a FINRA. I have worked in private practice both in Tampa and in Washington, DC. I have served as general counsel for a broker-dealer in Lakeland, FL, as a compliance officer for TIAA CREF, and as CCO for LPL Financial. I joined Bates Group in 2019 and now work closely with the Bates Compliance team on compliance projects and regulatory enforcement matters. This includes expert consultation and testimony.
Tell us a little about your firm.Bates Group assists clients with litigation support, data analysis, and compliance consulting, regulatory and internal investigations, and AML and financial crimes. The Bates Compliance team consists of experienced industry professionals who provide comprehensive offerings for broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and hybrid clients, assisting them with supervision, compliance, risk, AML, and internal audit functions. Bates Compliance performs as-needed or ongoing reviews and guidance to meet your regulatory compliance obligations. Our seasoned professionals closely review and test policies and procedures, supervisory and compliance processes, and the related practices involved in operating your business, recommending changes and industry standards to supplement and enhance clients' compliance and supervisory systems, and remediate the results of regulatory, litigation, and internal audit findings and decisions.
Our Regulatory Investigations practice team works closely with regional and multi-national financial services firms, law firms, and federal and state regulators.
Our role is that of a partner to our clients and their counsel, bringing our technical, industry and managerial expertise to address the issues and support their work through a full and final resolution.
Why is it important for the Bates Group, to be a member of the FSDA?Personally, while living in the Tampa area for about 10 years, I joined FSDA during the 1990’s, and found the FSDA to be so helpful to its members and to the local communities. Bates itself has deep ties to the Florida financial community and the counsel who serve them for over four decades. FSDA is at the forefront of providing financial and regulatory education to its members, the community as a whole, and to students. FSDA also takes the lead on important investor protection legislation. Finally, the ability to network with many of its members’, who span all levels of the financial services industry, helps all members grow their knowledge.
Please tell us a little bit about your firm’s “give something back” initiative.Bates empowers their employees to learn about the world and their impact on their communities. Many of our employees are involved in local organizations as featured on our “Bates in the Community” page. On employee/affiliate anniversaries, Bates donates to a charity of their choice. Last year, in addition to Pace Center for Girls, Hillsborough, our 2020 charitable recipients included: Oceana, Feeding America, The Humane Society and the Equal Justice Initiative.
Personally, for over 20 years, approximately 6-8 times per year, I head to my local blood bank and donate platelets. Platelets help form clots and stop bleeding. They are essential to help cancer patients, burn victims, and those with major injuries. Platelets have a shelf-life of only five days, whereas blood has a shelf-life of over a month. So, the need for platelets is immediate and constant. I have never known who receives those platelets; the important thing is that I know the platelets go to someone in dire need.
Hank, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.
MEET Leo Peraza, Principal at FSDA Corporate Member, Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C.
We are speaking today with Leo Peraza of Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C., in its Miami, Florida office.
Leo, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. When I was not in school, you could generally find me on a baseball field at shortstop. I attended Florida International University, where I double-majored in Finance and International Business. Prior to attending law school, I worked at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, primarily servicing clients from Latin America. I decided to go to law school at the University of Miami, where I focused on a business and securities law curriculum. In law school, I was truly fortunate to participate in the inaugural class of the Investor Rights Clinic, where we represented under-served investors in securities arbitration claims before FINRA. This experience set the tone for my legal career. Ever since graduating from the University of Miami in 2012, my practice at Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C. has focused primarily on representing financial institutions in a variety of contexts, including customer disputes, employment, and regulatory issues before state and federal regulators.
It is inspiring to work at Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C. When I started with the firm eight years ago, it was much smaller, with offices in New Jersey, New York, and Florida (Fort Lauderdale). Since then, the firm has grown tremendously, adding offices in Miami, Alabama, Texas, Washington D.C., and North Carolina. We have also added several excellent practice groups during that time, creating a firm with a comprehensive geographic footprint to represent clients across numerous industries and more than two dozen practice area specialties. In the securities arena, I am fortunate that through Bressler, I work with top-tier financial institutions and their exceptional in-house legal teams in a wide range of sophisticated matters. Beyond my legal work, Bressler supports my local community involvement, which is particularly important to me as a Cuban American.
Why is it important for Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C., to be a member of the FSDA?
Bressler has been a member of the FSDA for over 30 years and counts a former FSDA President among its ranks. Bressler’s longstanding involvement is a testament to the importance of the FSDA’s mission as the single most important advocate for the securities industry in Florida. Through the FSDA, Bressler has an opportunity to amplify its advocacy for its clients in more ways than it can as an individual law firm. This advocacy includes supporting regulatory and legislative improvements for the industry and providing educational opportunities for members of the industry and Florida’s investing public. In addition, the FSDA has developed incredible community outreach programs and opportunities that facilitate our ability to educate and better prepare vulnerable communities from financial abuse.
I know that Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C., is incredibly involved in childhood cancer charities. Please tell us a little bit about that involvement.
Bressler is involved in a several charities nationwide, and we are committed to serving as responsible corporate citizens in the communities where we live and work. Our dedication to community service and pro bono work spans our network of offices, directly benefiting our local communities. On a local level, our Florida offices are incredibly engaged with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer and the I Care I Cure Childhood Cancer Foundation, which have recently merged. We have had the privilege to organize and lead many successful fundraising events, and community outreach initiatives to increase awareness. Several of my Bressler colleagues are leaders and board members of the local organizations, and they have infused our offices with a tremendous passion for the cause.
Leo, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.
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