Duane Thompson, managing director of the Financial Planning Association's Washington, D.C. office and one of the advisory industry's top lobbyists, is leaving the organization.

Thompson, who in 1995 joined the Institute of Certified Financial Planners (which joined with the International Association for Financial Planning in 2000 to form the FPA) said he is leaving for personal reasons. He will be succeeded by Dan Barry, current director of government relations in the FPA's Washington, D.C. office.

"It's something I've been thinking about doing for awhile," says Thompson, who prior to joining the FPA worked at a family business in Colorado and was a lobbyist with the International Franchise Association in Washington. He says he'll probably remain in the Washington area and be involved in some type of government relations work.

Thompson has played a pivotal role in lobbying Capitol Hill for regulation favorable to the financial advisory industry. He spearheaded FPA efforts in the legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission over the so-called "Merrill Lynch rule" that enabled brokers to give fee-based advice and call themselves investment advisors yet remain exempt from regulation under Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The Merrill rule was adopted in 2005, but was struck down by a District of Columbia appeals court two years later.

Lately, Thompson and the FPA have joined forces with the other industry groups to lobby Congress as it debates the regulatory overhaul of the financial services industry. Current pressing issues involving advisors include the imposition of the fiduciary standard across the industry and which regulatory body should oversee planners, among others.

"I feel like we're covered because we have good people in the D.C. office," says Marv Tuttle, FPA's executive director. "But I can't say it's not a big loss because he has so much understanding and expertise in industry issues."