January 14, 2008
The proposed delay relating to implementation of FINRA rule 2821 sub-paragraph C is most disconcerting. While a delay in enacting the rule 2821 would be welcome by most firms to allow for system upgrades (our firm included), a delay while FINRA re-thinks sub-paragraph C will in effect cause greater problems.
The Investment Center, Inc. (along with all other firms that sell variable annuity products) has been evaluating various electronic systems in an effort to comply with sub-paragraph C. The costs associated with implementation of these systems is no small number and to have FINRA wait until August to decide what it wants to do with the seven day approval process could cost the industry millions of dollars of unnecessary expenditures if FINRA alters this rule (i.e. we dont want to pay for a system that may not be needed if FINRA alters the rule sufficiently that we may not need an electronic order system – like Blue Frog or Finetre/EbixExchange).
The most critical part of Rule 2821 that requires, in our opinion, employing electronic order entry systems is the seven day principal approval mandate. With FINRA re-evaluating sub-paragraph C, specifically the seven day approval process, firms cannot make a rational decision on how to proceed.
The prudent thing to do is if FINRA wants further time to re-evaluate rule 2821, then come August (or whenever FINRA decides what rule to enact) give firms until the end of the year to comply with the rule (or minimum 3 months).
Please feel free to contact me to discuss further.
Very truly yours,
The Investment Center, Inc.