September 6, 2005
I understand the comment period for the new variable annuity rule 2821 has been extended to September 19, 2005. Please accept the following comments regarding additional regulations for variable annuities.
Although I am very much aware that consumers must be well informed about investment products and that some registered representatives are motivated by commissions rather that providing services that are in the best interest of their clients, please DO NOT add to the already burdensome variable annuity regulations.
I have been a financial services representative for nearly 25 years. In that period of time, the compliance and regulation disclosures have increased substantially, but I don't believe those requirements have deterred representatives who are, by nature, imprudent or unethical. The increased requirements have simply burdened those of us who always "put the client first."
In my experience, the variable annuity product, especially now with the various enhancements that have been added by many insurance companies, is appropriate for many clients, no matter their age or income. For example, I recently had an older client who was requesting a rollover of retirement funds from her previous employer. The annuity was deemed appropriate because she needed a set amount of income for life, and she desired potential growth of her investment with principal protection. The variable annuity, with principal guarantee and income for life riders (and allocated in a well-diversified, moderate growth portfolio) was the only product which I am aware that could provide answers to all her concerns. The income this client will receive from this annuity is her only other source of retirement funds to supplement her meager Social Security monthly income. If there had been more strict age requirements, as I understand are proposed by rule 2821, in my opinion, we would not have been able to provide an adequate solution for this clients needs and desires. (This is one example of several.)
Again, I respectfully ask you NOT to make the variable annuity regulations more restrictive, as many consumers will be harmed because we can't properly address their needs. Rather, I urge you to enhance enforcement efforts of the current variable annuity rules and regulations. In other words, please do not penalize the majority of registered representatives who are properly serving their clients because of the inappropriate actions by a few imprudent and unethical representatives.
Thank you for consideration of my comments.
Lon E. Pishny, CFP®