Jaime A. Hinojosa, a financial advisor with Quality Wealth Management in Sacramento, Calif., wants California state legislators and financial regulators to know what a financial advisor is and what issues are important to the industry.

Hinojosa was one of a group of five Financial Services Institute members to visit the California state capital in March to bring that message to the people there.

“The regulators and legislators need to know we are accessible and that we can help educate them on financial issues,” says Hinojosa, who says he jumped into the political scene after more than 20 years in the business. “If the legislators are educated, they can help educate the public.”

The FSI members discussed a proposed tax California is considering imposing on the cost of services, including financial services, and a proposed tax credit for parents and grandparents saving for their children’s education that would supplement 529 plans, Hinojosa says.

California is only one state where a trip to the state capital was sponsored by FSI, a trade group for independent advisors and broker-dealers. Florida members of FSI visited state lawmakers in Tallahassee in late March, and members in Texas and New York will visit their state capitals on April 21 and June 2, respectively, according to Dale Brown, president and CEO of FSI.

“The key to our strategy is to get our members involved,” says Brown. “The issues that are discussed are determined by what is in play in each state. Response from members who have participated has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The Financial Planning Association organized a similar effort on a national level last summer and plans to repeat the trip June 24.

“We owe it to our members to advocate for issues that impact the profession while supplying them with the necessary training to advocate for their profession locally,” says Lauren M. Schadle, FPA executive director and CEO. “Advocacy Day on the Hill last year demonstrated that our members have an impactful voice when they can come together in support of the profession.”

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (Naifa) also encourages its members to visit national legislators. Its third Congressional Conference will be held in Washington, D.C., on May 19 and 20.

The meetings with members of Congress are an effective way to educate lawmakers on the value of life insurance, annuities, retirement savings and employee benefits, says the Society of Financial Service Professionals, which is helping to promote the event. It is essential that our nation’s lawmakers are well informed about how their decisions affect advisors, brokers and, most important, their clients, says the society.