From: Jason Beckett
August 4, 2005
Jonathan G. Katz
Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission
Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549-9309
I am a licensed insurance professional and variable product salesperson. I am writing because the principal review requirements and suitability standards contained in NASD proposed Rule 2821 are redundant and unnecessary. It will provide no additional protection to consumers and will adversely impact my business. The A-rated companies that I represent have more than adequate suitability forms for consumers to sign. I I urge the SEC to disapprove the proposal.
I firmly believe that people who have misleading sales practices should be prosecuted and subject to appropriate sanctions. However, proposed Rule 2821 duplicates requirements, sometimes multiple forms are already required by A-rated carriers, that are already in place. NASD rules already contain suitability requirements that apply to all sales of securities, including variable annuities. To better protect consumers, regulators should enforce the existing suitability rule rather than adopting a new rule..
Furthermore, the requirement for review by a principal found in the proposed rule appears to present a bias against these products. Many field agents have more client interaction experience with annuities than a principa. The responsibility should remain with the field agent to follow proper guidelines when discussing annuities with consumers. In addition, these requirements will lead to constant second guessing of my advice and recommendations, which are based on the goals the client tells me (based upon less first hand information than was available to me) as well as significant increases in merit less litigation.
Furthermore, the proposed NASD rule could have a dangerous impact on consumers. If a consumer's goal, after careful consideration of literature and a litany of forms, is best met by a variable annuity, the consumer should be allowed to purchase one without having to read redundant forms.
Finally, I believe that the proposal is a "solution in search of a problem"—I do not think the available data supports the NASD's claims that the level of sales problems in the variable annuity marketplace calls for the adoption of the proposed rule. The NASD has not statistically quantified the scope of the problem it is allegedly seeking to solve with the proposed rule. Furthermore, over 95% of the comments received by the NASD regarding the proposal opposed the new rule, and the NASD has not sufficiently responded to the concerns raised by the overwhelming majority of commentators. For these reasons, I urge the SEC to disapprove NASD proposed Rule 2821. Thank you for time and consideration of my views on this matter.