I am a licensed insurance professional and variable annuity salesperson. I write to you concerning the suitability standard and principal review requirements pertaining to the sale of variable annuities contained in NASD proposed Rule 2821. The latest NASD proposed rule's requirements 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 believe people who engage in misleading sales practices should be aggressively prosecuted and subject to appropriate sanctions. 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.
If regulators really want to protect consumers, appropriate enforcement of the existing suitability rules rather than adopting a new rule is the solution.
As well, 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 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 on this matter.