Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2006 3:53 PM
I am a licensed insurance professional and variable product salesperson. I sell life insurance, variable annuities and mutual funds in the course of doing financial planning with my clients. I do a complete needs analysis prior to making recommendations and sell the product that is appropriate for the situation. I am writing to you concerning the suitability standard and principal review requirements pertaining to the sale of variable annuities contained in NASD proposed Rule 2821. I realize that the latest NASD proposal includes several amendments made to earlier versions of the proposal, the proposed rule's requirements are redundant, unnecessary, will provide no meaningful additional protection to customers and will adversely impact my business. I urge the SEC to disapprove the proposal.
I firmly believe that punishment should happen to those who abuse the trust of their clients. 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. NASD rules already do not allow misuse and are against the law. 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.
If regulators really want to protect consumers, appropriate enforcement of the existing suitability rule rather than adopting a new rule is the answer.
In addition, the requirement for review by a principal found in the proposed rule deviates in several significant ways from the general supervision requirements found in Rule 3010. This requirement appears to present a bias against these products, and will lead to constant second guessing of my advice and recommendations (based upon less first hand information than was available to me).
The NASD proposal is a solution in search of a problem that could ultimately harm consumers by making these products less available to people who could benefit from them. For these reasons, I urge the SEC to disapprove NASD proposed Rule 2821. Thank you for your consideration of my views on this matter.