Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2006 3:48 PM
I have been a licensed insurance professional and variable product salesperson for 13 years. I am writing to you concerning NASD proposed Rule 2821, what I call the "redundancy rule" which would require a new suitability standard and principal review requirements pertaining to the sale of variable annuities.
Not so well hidden in the latest NASD proposal includes rule's that are redundant, unnecessary, will provide no meaningful additional protection to consumers and will adversely impact my business. I urge the SEC to disapprove the proposal.
I have seen a proliferation of NASD and SEC rules and regulations come down the pike in the past year or so at an alarming rate which has already cost me, my firm and Broker Dealer tens of thousands of dollars in added costs for compliance, staffing to adhere to onerous protocols that have minimal positive effect on protecting my clients.
This is becoming like centralized government where the blanket statement is it is "for the good of the order" but in fact takes on a life of its own which is fed by incorprating layers of meaningless rules and regulations.
I firmly believe people who engage in misleading sales practices should be aggressively prosecuted and subject to appropriate sanctions. The NASD, however, has failed to adequately justify the need for the proposed rule. To the contrary, the available data does not support the NASD's claims that the level of sales problems in the variable annuity marketplace calls for the adoption of the proposed rule. Unsuitable variable annuity sales made up less than .50 percent of the NASD's disciplinary actions over the last five years, and complaints about mutual funds and individual securities far outnumber those concerning variable annuities.
Furthermore, the vast majority of the comments received by the NASD and SEC regarding the proposal opposed the new rule, and the NASD has not adequately responded to the concerns raised by the vast majority of commentators.
Furthermore, proposed Rule 2821 duplicates current supervision and suitability requirements that are already in place. NASD rules (including Rule 2310) already contain suitability requirements that apply to all sales of securities, including variable annuities.
You are making life more complicated, less effective and increasingly divisive by recommending Rule 2821. Please 'nix' it now! This issue in much like our border control issue--> rather than build a fence, wall or do other drastic or duplicative measures, simply apply the appropriate enforcement of the existing law. In this case utilize and exercise the existing suitability rule rather than adopting a new rule if regulators really want to protect consumers! It is simple! This NASD proposal is a solution in search of a problem. It will ultimately harm consumers by making these products less available to people who could benefit from them.
I urge the SEC to disapprove NASD proposed Rule 2821.
Thank you for your consideration of my views on this matter.