From: Roger Whitaker
As a Life ,Health and Retirement plan broker, I believe that 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 object to detailed requirements regarding the review of all VA transactions by a principal of the firm. Such requirements will lead to constant second guessing of the salesperson's advice by someone with less first hand knowledge than the producer.
I am very tired of the NASD looking a "solution in search of a problem." The data simply does not support the NASD's claims that problems in the variable annuity marketplace require the adoption of this new rule. In recent years NASD disciplinary actions concerning variable annuities and the people who sell VAs have constituted a very small percentage of the NASD's total disciplinary actions, despite the fact that registered representatives working for broker/dealers affiliated with life insurers--i.e., variable products salespeople-- make up over 50% of the total population of registered representatives.