2012 FINRA District Committee Election Candidate Profiles – District 8

 

Small Firm Representative Candidates

 

John C. Swhear
Chief Compliance Officer
Unified Financial Securities, Inc.

 

Biography

I am the chief compliance officer of FINRA member, Unified Financial Securities, Inc.; interim president, Unified Series Trust; chief compliance officer, Valued Advisers Trust; Vice President, Legal, Compliance & Risk, Huntington Asset Services, Inc. I have a bachelor's degree in computer science from Ball State University, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University. I am a licensed attorney in the state of Indiana, and have a federal securities laws practice since 1994. I am FINRA Series 6, 7, 24, 26 and 99 registered. I have, in the past, been chief counsel to a full service broker-dealer; chief compliance officer to an insurance proprietary mutual fund; chief compliance officer to an insurance company registered investment adviser; and associate general counsel for all federal securities laws matters for an insurance company.

Statement
I would like to use my experience to provide perspective to the District Committee and serve my firm and firms similar to my firm to ensure that matters that affect them are adequately represented. The structural nature of our broker-dealer oftentimes gets lost in the weeds when developing regulations or interpreting rules. A more practical and intuitive guide is desirable for firms like ours. Finally, I welcome the opportunity to learn more about member firms and the industry to better service my firm's clients.


 

Jason M. Welch
Vice President/CCO
WWK Investments, Inc.

 

Biography

Mr. Welch has more than 18 years of investment experience, including owning and operating his own broker/dealer since 1997. He is responsible for the firm's back office operations and functions as the firm's Chief Compliance Officer. As an advisor, Mr. Welch specializes in working with both individuals and corporations. Mr. Welch graduated with honors from Michigan State University with a B.A. degree in Finance and carries the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies. Jason and his wife Melissa reside in Michigan with their four children.

Statement
I am running for the District Committee in an attempt to reduce red tape which will allow small firms to spend more time with our clients. In an industry where most businesses are considered "small," a number of regulations that exist are not relevant; however, small broker/dealers are rarely exempt from these rules. I am 100% behind FINRA's motto of "Investor Protection/Market Integrity," but it is clear to me that more regulation does not mean better regulation. Increased regulation creates unnecessary burden and expense for regulators and small firms alike. As such, it is no surprise that broker/dealers are shutting down or being shut down at an alarming rate. The era of one-size-fits-all needs to end. 


Further, it seems that reform within the organization itself is justifiable and necessary. Recently, small firms have seen increased fees due to recent losses at FINRA. At the same time, FINRA executives continue to pay themselves seven-digit incomes. This apparent hypocrisy is not supportive of the motto cited above. In fact, these types of regulatory changes seem to undercut the organization's defining purpose. It was widely publicized that FINRA spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in a lobbying effort to attempt to convince Congress to award them with oversight of Registered Investment Advisors. How does this help a broker/dealer?  Let's return the "self" in "self-regulation".


 

Large Firm Representative Candidate

 

Aimee Blinder-Ullrich
VP Compliance, National Planning Holdings
SII Investments, Inc.

 

Biography

I am a compliance industry professional with over 14 years of experience in the BD/RIA independent contractor channel. My areas of expertise include FINRA and SEC Rule Interpretation, Anti-Money Laundering Programs, Advertising and Sales Literature Requirements, Field Examination Programs, Firm Element and Annual Compliance Meeting Development, Licensing and Registration Requirements, NASD 3012/FINRA 3130 Supervisory Control Programs, and Risk Management.


I am the current Chair of the Financial Services Institute's Compliance Council, with a term from 2008-2013.  I hold a Series 7, 24, 53, 66, 99, 3 and the following designations: CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist) and CRCP (Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional).


As Vice President, Compliance, for National Planning Holdings, Inc. (the holding company for SII Investments and its three sister firms) I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the NPH Compliance Department. The department consists primarily of the Compliance Support Unit (CSU) and the Supervisory Control Unit (SCU). The CSU is responsible for a range of support efforts, such as analysis of regulatory rule proposals and amendments, projects with a focus on compliance systems and assisting in the creation of compliance oriented forms, policies, and alerts. The SCU provides support and guidance to the network in relation to each firm's supervisory control program, annual AML audits, and investment advisory reviews.  

Statement
In recent years we have witnessed great change in the regulatory environment. Change without sufficient basis can be detrimental to the industry, representatives, and investors. The primary benefit of the FINRA District Committee structure is the collaborative forum it provides FINRA and industry liaisons to exchange information, ideas, and meaningful solutions. Ultimately, informed change is the goal. So ensuring that regulators and the industry can appreciate and understand each other's perspectives, allowing them to work together to form a reasonable path forward, is crucial.


I am fiercely dedicated to remaining current with the ever-changing regulatory landscape in terms of both regulatory rule assessment and real-life business application. As part of this commitment I am engaged in a number of industry roundtables, which allows me to participate in striving towards best practice standards and consensus building. I feel I possess a balanced combination of industry knowledge and instinct that will allow me to properly represent the voices of District 8 and the industry at large. 


I very much appreciate your consideration and will be devoted to ensuring my time on the committee is candid, purposeful, and productive.