From: John Thigpen, CLU, ChFC, LLIF
August 4, 2005
Jonathan G. Katz
Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission
Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549-9309
I have been in the insurance and Financial Services industry since 1972.
During that period I have sold and been involved in selling VAs and other variable products.
I am writing to you because the principal review requirements and redundant suitability standards contained in NASD proposed Rule 2821 are unnecessary, will provide no meaningful additional protection to consumers and will adversely impact my business. I urge the SEC to disapprove the proposal.
I firmly believe that people who engage in misleading sales practices should be aggressively prosecuted and subject to appropriate sanctions.
However, proposed Rule 2821 duplicates requirements that are already in place. NASD rules already contain suitability requirements that apply to all sales of securities, including variable annuities. If regulators really want to protect consumers, appropriate enforcement of the existing suitability rule rather than adopting a new rule is the answer.
Furthermore, the requirement for review by a principal found in the proposed rule appears to present a bias against these products. In addition, these requirements will lead to constant second guessing of professional advice and recommendations (based upon less first hand information than was available to the agent) as well as significant increases in merit -less litigation.
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 adequately responded to the concerns raised by the vast majority of commentators. For these reasons, I urge the SEC to disapprove NASD proposed Rule 2821.
The misdeeds of the few have had a deleterious effect on those who try to be client centered, and the resulting "legislation" doesn't appear to have helped the general public as continued abuse hasn't gone away.
This is an ethics issue and should be dealt with as such . . . by dealing with the abusers.
Thank you for your consideration of my views on this matter.
John Thigpen, CLU, ChFC, LLIF