2012 FINRA District Committee Election Candidate Profiles – District 5


Small Firm Representative Candidates


Debra Shannon
Director Business Development
St. Bernard Financial Services, Inc.



Debra Shannon is the Director of Business Development at St. Bernard Financial Services where she has worked closely with senior staff members since 2009 on operational and compliance matters. 

Prior to her experience in the Financial Industry Debra was employed in the medical field for 10 years. In 2005 she changed careers beginning in the industry as a Office Manger. Mrs. Shannon received her licenses as a registered representative in 2006 and a principal license in 2007. She has served as both a producing representative and compliance professional over the last several years which she believes gives her a unique perspective from all sides of the desk. Debra regularly attends FINRA regional compliance meetings and networks with other professionals in the industry. Debra feels that her diverse experience and intense need to produce results will provide the committee with and unbiased and fresh perspective on committee issues.

You need a representative who takes their responsibilities very serious and will take time to get to know you. You need a member who can understand your situation because they have most likely been in your shoes. I will be that person. According to the Election Notice provided by FINRA, the role a committee member plays in the self regulatory process includes serving on disciplinary panels, alerting FINRA to concerning industry trends and consulting on proposed policy and rule changes.Further stated, committee members must have the experience, ability and commitment to fulfill such things as


  • understand issues facing our industry and possess the ability to apply knowledge and expertise to developing solutions
  • educate firms in the district on the responsibilities of FINRA
  • attend the District Committee meetings and participate in a collegial manner
  • remain objective and unbiased


Approximately 95% of the firms in District 5 fall into the category of a small/micro firm. The voice of the small firm must be held by someone who has serious intentions of fulfilling their obligations and that is exactly the role I intend to fill. 

If elected to this position I will contact each of you personally seeking input and comments about regulatory issues and proposals that affect us all as small firms. Solving problems and creating solutions have always been my talents and I ask that you allow me the opportunity to apply those skills to the District committee.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_20mJesmQfE&feature=channel&list=UL


Kathryn P. Wilson
Associate Partner/Chief Financial Officer
The Baker Group LP



Kathryn Wilson worked in public accounting for 7 years prior to joining The Baker Group LP., providing both internal and external audit services to financial institutions and broker dealer clients. At The Baker Group, Kathryn serves as Chief Financial Officer and manages the operations and self clearing functions of the firm. Additionally she manages the daily funding needs of the firm. She facilitates interactions between sales and trading and the back office as well as implementing compliance solutions related to these areas. She has assisted in the development and implementation of the firms financial risk management policies and procedures. Kathryn graduated from the University of Oklahoma  with a BBA in accounting and is a CPA.

For the past 8 years, I have served as CFO at The Baker Group in Oklahoma City. I am an active member of RMOA which represents the interest of smaller broker dealers during the development and implementation of new regulations. I have been involved in multiple exams and am comfortable having discussions with regulators and examiners. Our firm is similar to others in the district, we are a small self-clearing firm. I have direct involvement in compliance, risk management, auditing, funding activities, operations and regulatory reporting. Our firm represents community banks, state and local issuers and retail clients. I can bring this diverse experience to the committee and regulatory decision making process.


Large Firm Representative Candidate


James F. Dixon III
Executive Managing Director
Sterne, Agee, & Leach Inc.



Bachelor of Arts—University of Alabama
Master of Business Administration—University of Alabama
Certificate in Financial Planning—Florida State University
Branch Manager Development Program—Security Investors Association
Securities Industry Institute—The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Licenses Held:

Series 8 General Securities Supervisor
Series 7 Registered Representative
Series 65 Investment Advisory Agent
Series 63 Alabama Blue Sky License
Life & Health Insurance  


Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. 1994-present
Private Client Group named Division President in 2008
Private Client Group 12 years managing investments for private clients
Fixed Income Trading 1 year Assistant Fixed Income Trader
Equity Trading 1 year Assistant OTC Trader

Professional Organizations:
FINRA—Region 5 Board Member
SIFMA—Private Client Services Committee Member
SIFMA—Retail Fixed Income Committee
Alabama Security Dealers Association—President
Birmingham Bond Club—former officer

Civic Organizations:
Birmingham Rotary Club (Downtown)
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation—Board Member

Current Address—11 Clarendon Road, Birmingham, Alabama 35213 jdixon@sterneagee.com
Hometown—Eufaula, Alabama
Married to Rita H. Dixon
Children—James IV and David age 9
Independent Presbyterian Church—Elder  

I am running for a second term on the District Committee because I found the experience to be both rewarding and informative. I believe that the ground level perspective I bring to the District Commitee and the Enforcement panels I sit on are rooted in 18 years experience as a producer, manager, and executive. This is important in our current regulatory environment. I believe it is important for the practioners to actively participate in the regulation of our industry. This particpation ensures a healthy undertanding of all aspects of the securities industry. I can bring that to the District Committee.