Differentiation matters when it comes to representing the industry in the face of regulators after the 2008 financial crisis, says a new trade organization representing 15 regional brokerages.

The American Securities Association formed this week to represent 15 regional B-Ds, including Raymond James, Stifel and Baird, and speak out against undifferentiated regulation that the firms should be aimed at big Wall Street firms that caused the crisis, the ASA said.

The ASA, which has set out to represent midsize and regional firms, is designed to unify Main Street investment banks and securities dealers, as well as their executive leadership, for the purpose of addressing industry issues that are unique to the group.

"Deep roots and knowledge of local markets allow ASA member firms to better serve their communities than larger Wall Street firms. It is why we are trusted sources of financial advice for individuals and families and the reason investors, schools, hospitals and companies rely on us, says Curt Bradbury, chief operating officer at Stephens and inaugural chair of the ASA in a prepared statement.

"Washington’s one-size-fits-all approach to industry regulation," Bradbury adds, "disproportionately harms our ability to drive economic recovery and job creation, which is vital to the regions we serve, and surely is not the intended purpose.”

Bradbury said the ASA's leadership offers a vision for "proscriptive change." The ASA also will act as an umbrella organization for two smaller groups: the Bond Dealers of America and Equity Dealers of America. “The BDA … helped to persuade FINRA to withdraw its CARDS proposal and crystalizing the underwriter exemption in the SEC’s final Municipal Advisor Rule, among many other achievements. This momentum sets the tone and approach for the ASA and EDA,” said Bradbury.

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