I am a licensed insurance professional and variable product salesperson. 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. Although 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 consumers and will adversely impact my business.
People who engage in unscrupulous or misleading sales practices should be aggressively prosecuted and subject to appropriate and meaningful sanctions. Imposing a specific suitability requirement for the sale of variable annuities, however, would duplicate requirements currently found in the NASD's general Suitability Rule 2310, which applies to all sales of securities. If regulators believe there are abusive practices in the VA marketplace, appropriate enforcement of the existing NASD suitability rule is the solution. I urge the SEC to disapprove the proposal.
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.
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.