A lengthy process to merge the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting and GAMA International came closer to completion this week when the new trade association revealed its name: Finseca.
The name stands for "financial security for all," CEO Marc Cadin said. The group formally merged earlier this year, but held off on a new name. Finseca has a bold goal, he said: to unify all of financial services in one coordinated effort around education, advocacy and elevation.
“For too long, our profession has lacked a unified voice and collective action to overcome challenges and increase our impact," he said in a news release.
Finseca starts with "just under 6,000 members," Cadin told Insurancenewsnet. The group plans in-person conferences -- two in 2021 -- along with ambitious efforts to provide training and advocacy on regulatory and legislative issues.
Finseca will roll out a dues structure later this year that will include "multiple tiers," Cadin explained.
"Our goal is to represent the entire profession," he said. "So we have a lot of work left to do to grow membership."
Americans today are at a crossroads, as economic shocks of COVID-19 exacerbate financial and retirement anxieties, Cadin noted.
"The insecurity that's been revealed is not as much a result as it is an acute crisis," he said. "As it is the chronic reality, the lack of planning, the lack of savings, the lack of life insurance coverage, all of those things have been, unfortunately, revealed as part of this pandemic."
No. 1 Priority
In a survey to members, the Finseca learned that training and continuing education opportunities ranked No. 1 on their lists. The new organization plans to offer master classes in topics like tax changes, Cadin said, and possibilities exist for partnerships and certification programs down the road.
"We want to challenge the status quo," he added. "And we think that's essential for how we are going to unify the profession and then ultimately have the resources to invest more in training development programs."
Another big mission involves advocacy. Cadin acknowledged that the industry regulatory future is cloudy at the moment. If Democratic candidate Joe Biden is elected president, momentum toward a best-interest standard of product sales is likely out the window.
Finseca plans to jump into the fray and be a big voice for industry priorities at the state and federal level, Cadin insisted.
"Are we going to live in a country where consumers have access to advice in a way that fits them? That's not restricted for only those who charge a fee and only work with people at the top end of the economic spectrum?"
AALU and GAMA announced on July 29, 2019, that they would be creating a new organization representing the financial security of the profession. After a membership vote on the movement, AALU and GAMA members approved the dissolution of each organization, creation of Finseca and a new board of directors. Former GAMA CEO Bonnie Godsman is president of Finseca.
Kelly Kidwell of Pacific Advisors, an agency of Guardian Life, is the incoming chair of the new organization, and Jeri Turley, of Winged Keel, an M Financial firm, is serving as chair-elect.
“I could not be more excited about what Finseca’s future holds,” Kidwell said in the release. “Together we will develop the outstanding financial security professionals, firms and client relationships of tomorrow. I urge you all to join our growing community – and help us take a stand for financial security for all.”
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
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