On October 30, 2018 the Securities and Exchange Commission announced amendments to rules and forms designed to improve disclosures made to clients regarding variable annuities and variable life insurance contracts. According to the SEC, the purpose of the proposed amendments is to assist investors in comprehending the characteristics of variable annuities and variable life insurance contracts and the risks associated with those investment products. The proposed amendments would allow financial institutions who offer variable annuities and variable life insurance contracts to give a summary prospectus to investors, which would satisfy the financial institutions’ disclosure obligations. The SEC has invited the public to comment on both the proposed amendments and the hypothetical summary prospectus samples created and included in the proposed rule. The comment period will run through February 15, 2019. Continue reading
Last month at the American Law Institute’s Conference on Life Insurance Company Products, the chief of the SEC’s Office of Compliance, Inspections, and Examinations (“OCIE”) informed attendees that the agency will increase its focus on variable annuities during 2015. Also attending the conference was the Director of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management (“DIM”), who discussed his views on how to address concerns created by new trends in variable annuities and the recent growth of alternative mutual funds.
One of the reasons for the increased focus on variable annuities is that broker-dealers are beginning to sell more and more of these products to their clients, said the SEC’s chief of OCIE. As a result, OCIE exams will include discussions with broker-dealers about what the insurance companies are telling them about the products they provide to make sure broker-dealers understand the products they are selling and are accurately explaining the products to their clients.