A fair and level playing field to compete on.

by John Russell, Franklin Templeton & STA Chairman

Hello, I am John Russell and I have the pleasure of serving as your STA Chairman for 2016. For those who do not know me, I work for Franklin Templeton in San Mateo, California, a firm I am proud to say is the only one I have worked at for my entire 22-year career in our business. STA has been a part of my life for a majority of those years albeit in different capacities at both the local level in San Francisco and now, at the national level.

The STA is a very diverse association as measured by geography and the wide range of business models which comprise its membership. Our diversity is both our strongest asset and greatest challenge when trying to formulate a consensus on specific issues relating to market structure. However, I think common ground does exist. Yes, many of us are competitors with conflicting agendas, but all of us have a broader interest in a fair and orderly market place that protects investors and fosters competition and investor confidence. Therefore, anything which contributes to a fair and level playing field for us to compete on is something I would imagine we would all agree to. We all want a market place where rules are adopted in a transparent process and decisions are based on empirical data. We all want a market place that strikes a balance between regulation and competition; and an opportunity to have our opinions heard. We want all these elements because we know having them will produce natural and healthy benefits to investors. STA believes in what I just described and it strives to contribute positively to the overall process.

As 2016 unfolds, I hope you allocate some of your time, which we all know is precious, to being involved with the STA. I remain optimistic that the coming year will be good for the STA and I hope that you will join me in being a part of it.

But there is more to STA than developing principle based rule making. We are an organization which represents and serves the individual. We are members serving members. So as 2016 begins and the question of “what does STA do for me?” gets asked, here are some of the value-adds STA returns to its members.

As individuals, we are all looking for education and unbiased information which we can use for a host of reasons in career development and business strategies. STA provides this through our regular Open Calls, Newsletters, Talking Points, Conferences and Dear Member Letters. STA prides itself on bringing subject matter experts and decision makers to our members.

As individuals we want well organized networking events which provide opportunities to meet new people in our industry and develop relationships that we can build as we navigate the financial markets together. Through STA’s affiliate organizations 2016 will bring over 20 conferences which attract a national audience and scores of intimate events based on fund raising and education to STA members across North America. Be sure to get on the email list of check the website for news on these events.

As individuals, we want a set of eyes and ears into the legislative process in Washington DC and to be involved in the process when the timing calls for it. STA provides these opportunities as many experienced during its 2015 annual conference held in Washington DC where over 100 regulators and legislators were in attendance.

STA supports new initiatives and services. For 2016, we have two new initiatives to mention. The first is the Women in Finance committee whose mission is to provide career development and networking services to women in our industry. Second, we have the Regulation & Compliance committee which is in the early stages of development. We look for interesting content to come from both these committees.

As 2016 unfolds, I hope you allocate some of your time, which we all know is precious, to being involved with the STA. I remain optimistic that the coming year will be good for the STA and I hope that you will join me in being a part of it.

Thank you,

John