The American Securities Association and the Equity Dealers Association are being formed to advance the advocacy interests of middle market securities and investment companies. The Bond Dealers of America, which was launched eight years ago, has been tremendously successful in representing the interests of middle market firms active in U.S. fixed income markets. The new ASA and EDA will expand the representation to encompass entire organizations.
Members of the ASA and the EDA represent America’s Main Street investment companies, which have unique business, market and regulatory needs. The mission of the ASA is to provide more complete representation, a leadership platform and a voice for middle market investment companies and their leadership. The ASA will work to advance the financing of the nation’s infrastructure, the creation of jobs and increased prosperity through the promotion of free market capitalism and a low cost flow of capital. The ASA will also build upon the public’s trust and confidence in America’s middle market and regional investment companies by enhancing brand awareness and effectively communicating its importance.
The mission of the EDA is to represent the retail and institutional interests of middle market financial services firms in the U.S. equity capital markets through federal advocacy and public relations. Specifically, the EDA will work with its members, regulators, and policymakers to promote fair, efficient, and competitively balanced equity markets, to advance the creation of new jobs and increased prosperity on Main Street. EDA members represent the interests of the retirees, they provide main street businesses with access to capital, and they advise hardworking Americans how to create and preserve wealth. That is the powerful message which we believe will resonate deeply with Washington policymakers and regulators who represent almost every district across the country where EDA members and their professionals are located. The EDA will provide a platform for its members to shape and promote the Association’s advocacy efforts, as well as to develop best practices, surveys, and events that directly benefit its member firms and their clients.
The three organizations are closely aligned and will work together to represent the interests of America’s Main Street financial services firms. The ASA will serve as the umbrella organization drawing Board members from both the BDA and the EDA. The BDA will continue to function as it has, concentrating on the unique interests of fixed-income firms. The EDA will operate in the same manner, focusing on U.S. equity capital markets. Formation of the ASA and the EDA immediately provides more complete representation of U.S. headquartered middle market and regional investment firms.
Membership in the EDA is open to any financial services firm with a focus on the equity capital markets and/or private client wealth management. There are  founding members of the Association. They are BB&T Securities, Hilltop Securities, Janney Montgomery Scott, KeyBanc Capital Markets, Piper Jaffray, Raymond James Financial, Robert W. Baird & Co., Stephens Inc., Stifel Nicolaus & Company, William Blair & Company, and Wunderlich Securities.
Each association will have its own Board of Directors. The ASA will have 15 C-Suite executives as directors, five chosen by the BDA Board, five by the EDA Board and five at-large directors. The BDA’s Board has 20 directors, while the EDA will initially have  directors, one from each of the founding firms.
The EDA has announced it has hired Christopher Iacovella as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Iacovella has substantial experience in government affairs, public policy and market structure, and has served as Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services and Special Counsel and Policy Advisor to CFTC Commissioner Scott O’Malia.
The ASA will not be hiring new staff, its vision will be set by the Board and communicated to the boards of the EDA and the BDA.
The ASA and the EDA, along with the BDA, will provide a number of services to its members. Specifically, they will:
- Provide a tangible platform in Washington, D.C. for member firms to advance issues of unique importance to middle market and regional investment companies.
- Work to educate federal policy makers on the capital formation and job creating role of America’s Main Street investment companies.
- Act as a clearinghouse for industry information and issues.
- Provide educational opportunities for industry professionals through conferences, seminars and roundtables.
- Identify regulatory and compliance concerns and develop best practice documents.
- Survey members on specific issues of importance and issue white papers and other reports on these topics.