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Member Spotlight

  • 08/05/2019 4:49 PM | Anonymous

    This month’s Member Spotlight is Jodi Perry, Raymond James Financial



    We are speaking today with Jodi Perry of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.

    Jodi, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
    I was raised in St. Petersburg, Florida; went to college at Eckerd College; and worked for a small local accounting firm before joining Raymond James.

    Tell us a little about your career with Raymond James Financial.
    I’ve been with Raymond James for more than 25 years. I started in an operational area (one that no longer exists, thanks to technology), and then moved into sales with our asset management group after a few years, selling fee based products to our financial advisors. Enjoying the sales process, I moved into recruiting for about a decade to work with financial advisors who were interested in leaving their firms to join Raymond James. I then moved in regional management where I was responsible for a seven-state region with nearly 350 offices. Last year, I moved into my current role as president of the independent contractor division. Time has flown by because I’ve had so many opportunities within the firm, and have had the chance to lead multiple teams in each of my prior positions, which is one of my favorite things to do.

    What is the typical business day for the President/Independent Contractor Division at Raymond James Financial Services?
    It varies, which keeps it exciting. I might meet with our advisors, meet with advisors from other firms who have expressed an interest in joining Raymond James, travel to offices or attend industry conferences. Sometimes I meet with various Raymond James departments regarding products, services, technology or new regulations. Never a dull moment!

    Why is it important for Raymond James Financial to be a member of the FSDA?
    In a word - advocacy. As a financial institution based in Florida, the FSDA represents the industry in regulatory and legislative matters. I’ve had the opportunity to lobby for important industry-related bills in Tallahassee alongside other regional and national firms. Knowing I can impact the industry positively is gratifying to me as an industry professional. I also enjoy the outreach programs – whether it’s educating young people on financial literacy, the elderly on potential scams, or educating children on the dangers of certain cyber activity, the FSDA members work for the good of both investors and the industry.

    I know that you are very involved with a charitable organization. Please tell us a little bit about this organization and your involvement.
    I sit on the Board of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. I started volunteering there some time ago and was thrilled to be invited to sit on the board. The free clinic first started, as the name would indicate, as a clinic for healthcare for those who couldn’t afford it in underserved communities. Eventually, it grew into the addition of a food bank that provides food to families, the elderly, and my favorite program, “Pack a Sack,” which provides food for children each Friday who might not otherwise have food to eat on the weekends during the school year. The clinic also has a men’s residence, a women’s residence and a family residence. Being involved in an organization that specializes in providing basic human needs – healthcare, food and shelter is extraordinarily meaningful to me.

    Jodi, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.

  • 07/10/2019 10:06 AM | Anonymous



    We are speaking today with Ken Cerruto, Senior Vice President-Financial Advisor with RBC Wealth Management.

    Ken, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

    Answer: I was born and raised in New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers University, became licensed in the financial services industry in 1979 and earned my CFP designation in 1988. Before joining RBC Wealth Management in 2013 we ran our practice with Raymond James and Associates.

    I know that you are a member of REACH Wealth Solutions, an advisory team at RBC. How long have you worked with your team?

    Answer: We formed our team in 2010 and penned REACH Wealth Solutions in 2014. REACH is an acronym that stands for Responsible Ethical Accountable Caring Honorable. The foundation of our practice is built upon these character traits. No exceptions.

    Why do you believe the team concept benefits your RBC clients?

    Answer: In today’s world of financial services it’s important to identify the value that separates you from another practitioner, especially when social media has been driving investor focus toward cost, not value. We believe it’s difficult for one person to offer holistic comprehensive planning and guidance with consistency and sustainability. Having a team with a disciplined process that understands and properly executes their respective roles has enabled us to leverage our practice, provide the capacity for growth, increase levels of service and administer to the changing needs of our diverse clientele.

    Why is it important for RBC to be a member of the FSDA?

    Answer: As one of the world’s leading diversified financial services companies, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), has a long heritage of integrity and unwavering dedication to the clients they serve. These objectives are similarly aligned with the FSDA which is an association dedicated to preserving the integrity of the financial services industry in Florida. The FSDA works closely with legislators, regulators and investors to ensure high standards are both set and met to protect and sustain the suitable delivery of financial services within the state.

    I know that you are very involved with Full Court Press on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Please tell us a little bit about this organization and your involvement.

    Answer: In early 2014 my brother-in-law, a practicing dentist in New Jersey was diagnosed with ALS otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. At the time I really didn’t know much about the disease like many others who are unaware until it affects someone they know. We also realized that since so few are diagnosed with ALS relative to other diseases, research funding was not, and is not, high on the funding list compared to cancer, heart disease etc. Today, most ALS funding goes towards providing aid to the families and the patients for care and equipment. My brother-in-law was always passionate about basketball and coaching in his spare time. He would rent gymnasiums at night during the winter months in New Jersey in many of the inner cities to keep young men off the streets. He structured basketball programs designed to divert young men from joining gangs and required adherence to rules in order to participate in the programs. My brother-in-law along with our family founded Full Court Press on ALS with the goal of using basketball as a tool to raise awareness for a disease that does not receive a lot of attention due to the limited number of people affected by it. The foundation helps fund research through major medical organizations across the country with the hope of someday finding a way to slow, and ultimately cure this misunderstood and horrible disease.

    Ken, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.

  • 06/12/2019 10:21 AM | Anonymous



    We are speaking today with Steven M. Greenbaum, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of TradeStation Securities, Inc.

    Steve, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

    Answer: I was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, the son of the youngest person, at the time, to become a Merrill Lynch branch manager. When I had the chance to “escape” the freezing north, I headed to New Orleans for college at Tulane University where I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Public Policy, along with my law degree. My first real job was with a group of lawyers at a Florida law firm whose specialty was securities defense litigation. I started practicing in the early 1980’s when the law regarding mandatory arbitration was still developing. Following the stock market crash of October 1987, I joined PaineWebber as a litigator, handling scores of arbitrations, many of which were filed following the crash. By the mid-1990’s, I joined PaineWebber’s Legal Counseling Group where I provided advice and counsel to retail branch offices in Florida and other southern states. By the late 1990’s-around the time PaineWebber was acquired by UBS-I was promoted to manage the Legal Counseling Group, a position I held until I resigned from UBS at the end of 2005, for a brief stint as a sole practitioner, before joining TradeStation in 2008. For years, I have been a FINRA non-public arbitrator and a Florida Supreme Court-certified mediator.

    How long have you served as General Counsel of TradeStation?

    Answer: Since 2009.

    Tell us about your typical day as the General Counsel of TradeStation.

    Answer: Each day starts with a manager’s huddle where business initiatives, the market and legal, compliance and risk issues are discussed in a collaborative setting. Thereafter, I meet with my team (which consists of the AML and Fraud Prevention groups) to make sure we are doing everything possible to help manage risk, enhance the client experience and remain compliant with the securities laws and regulations. Each day is chock full of meetings (Legal always has a seat at the table), and I also administer TradeStation’s dispute resolution process which involves handling directly, or through outside counsel, arbitrations, CFTC reparations and court cases. I also partner regularly with the Chief Legal Officer of our holding company and our affiliate’s contracts attorney.

    Why is it important for TradeStation to be a member of the FSDA?

    Answer: Although TradeStation is not a typical broker-dealer (we neither make recommendations nor offer investment advice to our self-directed online trading clients), as a Florida-based company with many Florida-licensed representatives, we are still subject to the same rules and regulations that govern full-service broker-dealers. I believe that it is important to network with and share our somewhat unique perspective on the securities industry with representatives from all types of brokerage and advisory firms, and to collectively advocate for fair laws designed to protect the investing public. We, at TradeStation, also embrace the FSDA’s mission to provide education opportunities for Florida’s investing public, a goal that falls squarely in line with TradeStation’s mission to encourage investors and traders to gain more knowledge so that they can make better investment and trading decisions.

    I know that you are very involved with I Care I Cure Childhood Cancer Foundation, Inc. Please tell us a little bit about this organization and your involvement as Co-President.

    Answer: I Care I Cure’s mission is to fight childhood cancer by: (1) funding childhood cancer research with an emphasis on cutting-edge, targeted therapies to make treatments gentler and more tolerable; (2) raising the public’s awareness about scientific breakthroughs in genetic childhood cancer research that are within reach, but seriously underfunded; and (3) funding community outreach programs to help local families manage the challenges associated with raising children suffering from cancer. As a parent of a child who suffered, but endured, the ravages of chemotherapy, I am passionately committed to helping families fight this dreaded disease. I am proud to serve as Co-President of this great local charity with Wes Holston, Managing Principal of Bressler Amery & Ross, also a FSDA member.

    Steve, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.

  • 05/06/2019 3:25 PM | Anonymous


    We are speaking today with Vadim Khavinson of Capital Forensics, Inc.

    Vadim, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

    I’m a native of Belarus and came to the United States with my family when I was in my teens. I worked as a physical trainer and tennis coach to put myself through the University of Illinois, where I earned my undergraduate degree in Finance. Based on my strong interest in data analytics, I began my career with CFI as an analyst after graduating in 2002. Jay Rosen had built a very successful firm based primarily on expert witness testimony in financial services, and he had plans to expand the firm’s consulting capabilities. I knew that the ability to analyze large data sets would play an important role in the growth of the Firm. I was excited to be part of the team that would help make that happen. I also realized that the more experience I obtained, the more I wanted to learn. I then enrolled in the MBA program at Northwestern’s Kellogg School and received my Executive MBA.

    How long have your served as Chairman and CEO of Capital Forensics, Inc?

    I’ve been with CFI for 17 years. I never felt the desire to work anywhere else. After 2 years of working as an analyst and immersing myself in all aspects of the business, I was promoted to Vice President and served in that role for nearly 5 years. At that time, I became CFI’s President where I served for more than 8 years before assuming the role of Chairman and CEO in 2016. Since coming on-board in 2002, CFI has grown, from 7 people to a team of 50 full-time employees, and 27 subject matter experts. Our firm’s capabilities have expanded far beyond expert witness testimony, and now include a broad range of services covering regulatory and compliance consulting, forensic accounting and litigation support. We’ve also become recognized as the securities industry leader in arbitration-related data and services. I expect CFI to continue to expand over the next few years, both in terms of professional depth and the scope of our expertise.

    Due to how the firm has grown over the years, both with the number of people and the range of capabilities we now possess, I spend most of my time on management and strategic planning issues to ensure that we’re delivering value to all our clients. But on those occasions where I’m asked to be more involved in a specific matter, I’m able to dig in and remember why I became so captivated by this, so many years ago.

    Why is it important for CFI to be a member of the FSDA?

    CFI has always sought to be associated with professional organizations that share our institutional values and are respected throughout the industry. FSDA has established a reputation as one of the securities industry’s most respected trade associations, and CFI is proud to be a member. From a business perspective, Florida remains a growing, vibrant economy. As that market continues to expand, many of our clients will need to address the demand for specialized expertise they may either not possess internally, or not require on a full-time basis. CFI intends to provide those firms with the outside resources they will need to serve the Florida market in the most professional, time-efficient manner. The FSDA has a commitment to bringing positive changes to the financial services sector in the State, and we are committed to assisting them.

    Tell us more about CFI’s decision to focus on solutions leveraging data analytics.

    As Regulators have incorporated their use of data analytics, firms must be armed with similar capabilities. Data analytics is the basis for everything that CFI does, whether it’s a single customer’s account analysis or a firmwide regulatory review.

    More than 8 years ago, FSDA’s former President, Trish Cowart, asked us to create a system that would assist her with arbitrator rankings. Building on nearly twenty years of expert witness work in arbitrations, CFI recognized that the industry required a more sophisticated tool kit to apply arbitration tactics effectively, so we set out to raise the bar, in terms of the quality of information and how that data could be leveraged. We created the ArbSelector®, which now incorporates more than 35 years of arbitration awards, in addition to other data points collected. We also developed a MockArb® process, that enables firms to prepare more effectively for high stakes arbitrations.

    Vadim, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.

  • 04/01/2019 4:16 PM | Anonymous


    We are speaking today with Louis Dempsey, President of Renaissance Regulatory Services, Inc.

    Louis, please tell us a little bit about yourself.


    I’ve been employed in the industry for about 30 years. Starting an as an examiner with the State of Florida’s Division of Securities, later joining the SEC’s Miami Regional Office as a Staff Accountant and subsequently serving as a Branch Chief. I spent a few years consulting with a large financial services company and founded RRS in 2006. My first experience in securities markets was when I was 12. My father gave me my first shares of stock, ConEd and told me to let the dividends reinvest - it ultimately helped finance college. I was hooked on markets from that point. In college, I studied Economics, focusing on International Trade and Finance. That’s where I started in public service. First with the Department of Revenue and then, after graduation, with the Comptroller’s office. FSU - Tallahassee - was a great place to learn about the workings of government.

    How long have your served as President of Renaissance?


    RRS started in my spare bedroom in 2006. We had two clients who pried me out of a comfy office at the SEC and I’ve served as “President” ever since. We work as a team, so I don’t really use that title internally. While in many ways we’re old school when it comes to hierarchy and structure within the firm, we want everyone to feel like they are on an equal footing. Focusing on titles tends to limit creativity and initiative. We like everyone to stretch beyond their boundaries. That’s critical for small firm and for delivering the level of service we strive for.

    How hectic is a day in the life of the President of Renaissance, and what does it involve?


    We’re mission driven and my days tend to be fluid, so we really focus on the goals and deadlines, not on any one day’s agenda or accomplishments. We start each week with a Monday morning meeting to go over each active client project, filing deadlines, and our sales pipeline. It’s hard to stick to a daily schedule when you run a small business and travel as much as we do. Conference season, and my commitment to FSDA and other associations, have me on the road for several weeks at a time, which makes day to day management challenging. If I’m in the office, which is rare at certain times of the year, I try to help with whatever fires are burning. Most of the time I find that the team has it handled and prefer me to stay out of the way. I use the weekends to catch up, deal with financial operations, IT - I’m the “defacto” CFO/CTO – and keep up to date on significant regulatory developments. We have a great team at RRS, and they keep the engine running.

    I know you're a member of the FSDA Membership Committee. Tell us a little bit about what that committee does.


    Yes, I’ve chaired it for the past few years. What a privilege to serve on an FSDA committee. Broadly, we work to develop initiatives to recruit and facilitate the onboarding of new members. For example, we develop ideas for membership drives, materials for members to use to recruit new members, and practices for educating and involving new members. We also encourage members to get involved and spread the word within their organizations so we can identify and recruit the “next generation” FSDA board member. This is critical for the long-term success of the FSDA’s mission, which is invaluable, not only for the industry, but for investors in the State of Florida. The membership committee helps to facilitate all FSDA’s efforts - education, regulatory, legislative. Membership committee members include the most active FSDA members. They are active in all our outreach programs and contribute considerable time and effort to the FSDA mission.

    Why is it important for Renaissance to be a member of the FSDA?


    Honestly, when I started RRS in 2006, my involvement was primarily for business development – making contacts – but that’s changed over that past several years. FSDA’s executive director when I joined, O’Bannon Cooke, was gracious and helped me get my foot in the door. He probably offered me the first discount membership. It wasn’t long after joining that I realized what an important role FSDA plays in Florida and I learned a lot about its history from other members. As RRS business has grown our focus is more about supporting FSDA’s educational outreach, regulatory and legislative initiatives. It’s not so much about business development for RRS anymore, but to give back. Over the past 30 years, the industry has changed more than it had since the passage of the 33/34 Acts. Changes to market structure, products, services and even key market participants. The two constants are that a small number of bad actors will keep scamming, making the industry look bad, and the regulators will keep coming with their broad-brush approach. But that’s another discussion.

    FSDA does great things for the industry and investors – it shines a positive light on the industry in Florida, and that benefits us all.

    I know that you are very involved with senior investor and teen financial literacy issues. Please tell us a little bit about your involvement with these issues.


    Teen financial literacy first. After the financial crises it became clear that the lack of basic financial knowledge for so many young adults. We assumed that everyone is provided a basic level of financial education before leaving high school, apparently not. This is critically important for our economy and the growth of wealth and wellbeing in Florida - and across the country. FSDA has also partnered with the Florida Atlantic University and Palm Beach County Schools to provide financial literacy in elementary schools. I’ve participated in that program as well. I have to say presenting to a room full of fourth graders was the most intimidating, yet rewarding, experience I’ve had in my professional life. I gained a greater appreciation for what teachers face each day. Luckily for me the curriculum provided was excellent and the kids loved it.

    As for seniors, I’ve worked my entire career in South Florida. When I started in the industry years ago, I worked on consumer complaints and fraud investigations. Many of the victims were elderly retirees, widows and widowers. I saw first-hand how elderly investors are exploited by fraudsters, “confidence” men and women. There are so many issues we face as we grow older. Physical and mental health decline, our networks of trusted friends grow smaller, family may be distant, and we become more vulnerable to exploitation. Over the past several years we saw the impact of cognitive decline with my own father. It can be devastating.

    FSDA’s focus in this area is critically important for long term economic health and protection of investors. Let’s face it, we’re all potential victims of exploitation as we grow older. And, it’s not just a customer issue, it’s an employee issue. So FSDA focuses its efforts on industry and consumer educational outreach programs. I’m glad FSDA and its members are on the frontline in Florida, working with regulators, legislators, community leaders, and law enforcement to protect investors.

    Louis, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.

  • 03/11/2019 3:14 PM | Anonymous


    We are speaking today with Jennifer Stout, Chief Executive Officer of Bates Group, LLC.

    Jennifer, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

    Answer: I am a born-and-raised Oregonian and love living in the Portland area. I graduated from University of Portland and worked for Arthur Anderson as a tax accountant before joining Bates in 1993.

    How long have your served as CEO of Bates Group?

    Answer: I have been the CEO of Bates Group since we re-acquired ourselves from LECG in 2011. I am also thrilled to be the majority owner of Bates as well. For the last 8 years, we have been focused on growth in three practice areas: Litigation & Regulatory, Compliance Consulting and AML/Financial Crimes. Our team of experienced industry professionals support financial services clients and their counsel in litigation consultation and testimony, regulatory and internal investigations, compliance matters, AML services, forensic accounting, damages and big data consulting. Bates also offers Arbitrator Evaluator™, a new generation of intelligent analytics for identifying and selecting the best arbitrators for customer and intra-industry cases.

    You have worked at Bates for more than 25 years. Tell us about your history at Bates, from your start as a financial analyst to your position as CEO.

    Answer: I began my career at Bates Capital as a financial analyst. It was a unique opportunity to learn about the financial services industry in a growing litigation support firm. I performed many different roles as I grew in my career, including analyst, consultant, quantitative testifier and senior manager. I have been fortunate to work with highly talented co-workers and clients, all of whom have helped me develop as a leader.

    I know you're a member of the FSDA Financial Oversight Committee. Tell us a little bit about what that committee does.

    Answer: I am a new member to the committee, which has been created to oversee the stewardship of our organizations funds, and to provide recommendations on best practices for use of the funds. I am very excited to be a part of the committee.

    Why is it important for Bates Group to be a member of the FSDA?

    Answer: When I first learned about FSDA from Alex Sabo, I was impressed with the active membership and the history of the group. It is important to me that Bates supports and engages in industry organizations—like many of our clients—striving to have a positive and lasting impact. I feel strongly that FSDA does just that. We are thrilled to be a part of this dynamic organization.

    I know that Bates Group is very involved with community activities. Please tell us a little bit about your involvement with these issues.

    Answer: Individually and as a company, Bates employees participate in a variety of community volunteer activities. Every year our leadership team chooses a charity to support and involves entire staff participation. This past year we contributed to a food and clothing drive for the Sunshine Division and we created an all-company service project for the Sexual Assault Resource Center of Oregon.

    Jennifer, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.

  • 10/09/2018 10:29 AM | Anonymous



    We are speaking today with Laura Hawley, President of Allen & Company of Florida, Inc.

    Laura, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

    I was raised in Elyria, Ohio; went to college at Florida Southern College; and joined Allen & Company in 1983, the week after graduation from FSC.

    How long have your served as President of Allen & Company?

    I have been on the Allen & Company Board for over 15 years and have served as Chairman of our Executive Committee for over 10 years. I became President earlier this year.

    How hectic is a day in the life of the President of Florida’s oldest securities firm, and what does it involve?

    No two days are the same! We are indeed the oldest securities firm (est. 1932), but anyone who has spent some time in the securities industry can attest to the vast changes and challenges of the business. I am very fortunate to be part of a highly engaged leadership team that works so well together. Our number one goal is to enhance the client experience which we accomplish by recruiting & retaining excellent advisors and managing risk in an environment of increasing regulatory demands. We must also keep pace with technology, balancing the needs/wants of advisors/clients relative to the cost/benefit of new technology, all of which make for full and exciting days!

    I know you're a member of the FSDA Scholarship Committee. Tell us a little bit about what that committee does.

    The FSDA is passionate about education, therefore The O’Bannon M. Cook FSDA Investment in the Future Scholarship Program was established to recognize and assist employees and their immediate family members of FSDA members who have demonstrated academic achievement, leadership skills and commitment to service, along with an interest in pursuing a career in the securities industry or business in general. There are two scholarships awarded each calendar year.

    Why is it important for Allen & Company to be a member of the FSDA?

    We have been members for over 50 years and have experienced the enormous transition in the securities industry. The FSDA’s role as a champion for the Florida financial services industry has grown considerably over the years, and now focuses on protecting the community of investors that we serve through legislative activities, educational outreach programs for consumers and advisors, and financial literacy education for students.

    I know that you are very involved with the Lakeland, Florida, community. Please tell us a little bit about how you give back to your community and why that is important to you.

    Giving back to the community is just what we do at Allen & Company. Our associates serve on over 40 different boards. I have served on several non-profit and municipal (City of Lakeland) boards throughout the years. My passion is health and education within our community. I am currently Chairman of Lakeland Regional Health and advisor to the Barney Barnett School of Business with Florida Southern College. I also have taught financial literacy to students of all ages for on behalf of the FSDA and Junior Achievement, and I am also a director for the Give Well Community Foundation of Lakeland.

    I also know that you have a weekly radio program, which is broadcast on a station in Lakeland. Tell us a little bit about the program and how you got involved with radio.

    As an educator at heart, I believe that knowledge is power regardless of your age. “Dollars & Sense” has been on the air (live) for more than 25 years, each week discussing different financial topics, planning strategies and global/community issues with guests from Oprah Winfrey’s life coach, bestselling authors, financial gurus, Former President Mary Robinson (Ireland’s first female President) and co-hosts from Allen & Company. It has been deeply gratifying.

    Laura, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.

  • 09/06/2018 2:20 PM | Anonymous

    2018, September - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW: Daniel Newman


    We are speaking today with Daniel Newman, a partner with the law firm of Nelson Mullins Broad and Cassel in Miami, Florida. Dan currently is secretary of FSDA.

    Dan, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

    I was raised in Roslyn, New York and attended college at The George Washington University, graduating with a B.B.A. majoring in Finance. I received my JD from the University of Miami School of Law. I am a Partner at the law firm of Nelson Mullins Broad and Cassel. Prior to joining my current firm in 2005, I was at the law firm of Tew Cardenas, and prior to that I was an attorney in the Division of the Enforcement of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

    How would you describe your law practice?

    I am a litigator and a problem solver. I regularly represent entities and individuals in a variety of business and securities-related issues. My practice primarily consists of 1) securities litigation in federal and state courts and in arbitration; 2) securities regulatory advice and representation; and 3) business litigation and advice.

    I know along with being Secretary for the FSDA’s Board, you are the Chair of the FSDA Legislative Committee, and have served as Chair for two years. Tell us a little bit about your role and your committee.

    The FSDA, through the Legislative Committee, actively represents its members’ interests before the Florida Legislature. In this regard, the Committee advocates for the advancement of proposed legislation that is consistent with the FSDA’s mission and its members’ interests. Further, the Committee also monitors proposed legislation and trends in Tallahassee and elsewhere that may affect its members. For example, we recently teamed up with other industry participants to sponsor legislation that exempts securities professionals from having to obtain a separate mortgage brokers license in order to have certain conversations with their clients about mortgages or refer clients to a mortgage broker. The law went into effect during the summer of 2018. This past legislative session, our Committee with the guidance of Sean Stafford, our consultant, and along with SIFMA and other industry participants, was instrumental in drafting and obtaining sponsors for legislation that would allow brokerage firms to protect senior investors by pausing transactions placed for customer accounts that the firm suspects are initiated for purposes of theft and exploitation. The House and Senate Bills moved through the legislative process this past session. Although the bills successfully passed through several different committees, after compromises were reached, the proposed legislation was not submitted to the Governor. We plan on again advocating for passage of legislation this session. Consistent with our mission, we are also advocating for passage of legislation that would provide for mandatory financial literacy coursework in Florida High Schools.

    Why is it important for Nelson, Mullins, Broad and Cassel to be a member of the FSDA?

    The FSDA is a leader in the State for advocating for the financial services industry and providing education to youth and adults about finance and potential scams to avoid. As lawyers practicing in this area, it is critical for us to be aware of the issues impacting our clients and to be involved in advocating for change when warranted. Through discussions with FSDA members, we are able to learn first-hand about trends and issues impacting the industry. Further, our involvement allows us to advocate for positive change on educational and legislative initiatives. The FSDA Board is one of the most knowledgeable and dedicated groups with which I have had the pleasure to work. While many organizations talk about ways to improve their industry and the surrounding community, the FSDA effectively and thoughtfully takes action. The legislative initiatives, educational programs and outreach efforts are just a few examples. In addition, on a more personal note, I thoroughly enjoy every chance I have to spend time and exchange ideas with my friends at the FSDA.

    Dan, I know that you still play hockey. Tell us about your keen interest in hockey.

    I grew up in the northeast as big New York Islander ice hockey fan. I was always amazed at the combination of skills necessary for the players to develop and implement in order to play the game. Oddly, I did not start playing ice hockey until, as a practicing attorney, I moved to sunny South Florida. I love new challenges, so I signed up for clinics to learn how to skate better, stick handle and shoot the puck. I then found a group of people who were looking to play league hockey and we formed a team. For me, the camaraderie of team sports at any age is something special. Some nights we won, some nights we lost, but we always had a great time (and a really good workout). I also took the opportunity to apply what I learned so I could coach my daughter’s youth roller and ice hockey teams. I have been fortunate through hockey to have made incredible friendships through the years and have had a lot of laughs. I am similarly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the FSDA team.

    Dan, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.

    Next month, Laura Hawley of Allen & Company, will be “In the Spotlight.”

  • 08/06/2018 2:22 PM | Anonymous



    We are speaking today with Andy Hirsch a Senior Vice President with Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc. (“Robert W. Baird”) in Tampa, Florida. Andy was the 2007-2008 president of FSDA.

    Andy, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

    Answer: I was raised in Tampa, FL. and went to college at Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania and then The Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University, in Macon GA. After graduation, I worked for E.F. Hutton, L.F. Rothschild and Drexel Burnham before joining Robert W. Baird & Co. in 1993. I just celebrated my 25th anniversary with Baird.

    What do you do at Robert W. Baird?

    Answer: I am a Financial Advisor and the co-founder of The Hirsch Group, a team dedicated to working with high net-worth clients and companies needing comprehensive financial planning services. I also serve as Branch Manager for our Tampa office.

    I know you're the Chair of the FSDA Nominating Committee, and have served as Chair for several years. Tell us a little bit about your role and your committee.

    Answer: My role is to continue the tremendous leadership chain we have within our organization. Finding members to step-up and lead our organization today and into the future is what this committee is all about.

    Why is it important for Robert W. Baird to be a member of the FSDA?

    Answer: Baird has a number of offices throughout the state of Florida and it is important for us to be tied to the pulse of our industry which the FSDA allows us to do. Just as importantly the FSDA helps financial services firms, big and small, wire house to independents, keep engaged in the laws and regulations which impact how we perform our business practices in the state and nationally as well. Finally, the comradery of the Board of Governors and the entire organization is amazing-I have made some great friends along the way from all over the state.

    Andy, I know that you are also a member of the Board of Tampa Bay Job Links (TBJL). Tell us about that organization and what it does.

    Answer: TBJL is a non-profit organization that provides individuals with career guidance and job-search coaching, and provides area employers with qualified pre-screened candidates. TBJL rose from the ashes of the economic decline we suffered in 2008/2009 which wreaked havoc on employment. Since then, TBJL has grown in prominence and community influence in helping the unemployed find opportunities.

    Next month, Dan Newman, Partner of Broad and Cassel will be “In the Spotlight.”

  • 06/26/2018 11:41 AM | Anonymous

    MEET Patricia (Trish) Cowart of FSDA, Institutional Member with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC

    Patricia (Trish) Cowart, Senior Company Counsel
    Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
    100 NE 3RD Ave, Suite 610,
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301


    Phone: 954-713-0762
    Institutional Member

    Trish, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
    I was raised in South Louisiana, mostly New Orleans, but I lived in a few other true Cajun Country towns such as Morgan City and Port Sulphur; I went to school at Stetson where I studied political science and Spanish (so I got to go to the Universidad de Madrid for a semester too!) and then went to the University of Florida for law school; I was a partner at the law firm of Ruden McCloskey before joining PaineWebber / UBS and then moved over to Wachovia Securities in 2004 which of course became Wells Fargo Advisors in 2009.

    What do you do at Wells Fargo Advisors?
    I have held a range of management roles and now I am in the Wealth and Investment Management Litigation group of the Legal Department. Primarily I handle FINRA arbitrations but also see a wide variety of other litigation. I also am a part of the Senior Leadership Board at the firm.

    I know you're a member of several FSDA Committees. Tell us a little bit about what each committee does.
    Goodness, that could take me hours! I was the Chair for several years of the Education Committee and that is where I first developed my strong attachment to FSDA. This Committee has three areas of focus: (1) industry outreach and education events, (2) elder fraud education directed to the investing public and (3) teen financial literacy. I am also an active member of the Legislative Committee. Last year, as President, I made a number of trips to Tallahassee as part of our efforts to get support for the mortgage licensing exemption law that ultimately passed and was signed into law by the Governor. FSDA also supported proposed legislation related to creation of additional tools for firms to use in connection with elder fraud prevention as well as our continuing support for making a course in financial literacy mandatory for Florida high school students. FSDA also has other Committees such as our Scholarship Committee but Education and Legislative are the two I have worked with the most.

    Why is it important for Wells Fargo Advisors to be a member of the FSDA?
    One of the reasons is that Florida is such a leading state in securities law development. We often see statutes enacted here first that influence other states. In addition, of course, Florida is a large and important market. FSDA gives us access to information and contacts that are unique to the FSDA. It’s also great to meet with like-minded people who sincerely have a strong focus on investor education and protection for citizens of our state.

    Trish, I know that you have a special passion for the opera. Tell us about the South Florida opera scene.
    You are certainly right – I am very passionate in my love for opera! South Florida is fortunate to have the Florida Grand Opera (FGO), the oldest performing arts organization in Florida and the seventh oldest opera company in the country. FGO’s season consists of four operas – at least one of which is always focused on showcasing contemporary opera with a Hispanic focus. Last year Before Night Falls by Jorge Martin and this year Florencia en el Amazones by Daniel Catan were stunning and are works not generally as available outside of South Florida. I’m looking forward to next year when they will perform Frida by Robert Xavier Rodriguez in addition to ones from the standard repertoire: La Boheme, The Marriage of Figaro and Werther. I already have my subscription! We also have a huge base of opera lovers in South Florida who regularly attend the live transmission of ten operas each season from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York at movie theaters. We love to chat on the Facebook Page “Met Opera Live in HD Fans” started by an opera fan from Tampa. That group now has over 10,000 members worldwide and I’ve become friends with opera lovers not only from Florida but many other states as well as from Germany, England, Japan, Australia, etc. It’s a great time to be an opera lover.

    Trish, thanks for taking time to speak with us today.

    Next month, Andy Hirsch, of RW Baird will be “In the Spotlight.”

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