July 23, 2009

EIAs: Your guess is as good as ours

Not exactly a trend (because we have no idea where it will end up). But we absolutely had to comment on the D.C. Court of Appeals decision to have the SEC revisit its Proposed Rule 151A on equity-indexed annuities. Great taste or less filing? Will it be the Red Sox or the Yankees? Are EIAs securities or insurance products? Seems like perennial arguments never to be settled. Just when we thought -- finally -- the SEC would answer the question, the Court called the ruling "arbitrary and capricious." Of course it was; it was instituted about an hour after Bernie Madoff's $50 billion Card Monty came to light. In a desperate attempt to appear forceful, the SEC handed down the ruling. It was more for the immediate PR than something they thought would actually hold up in court. The coalition of various industry lobbying organizations opposed to the rule appears to have been effective. Of course, the Court's order for the SEC to do a more thorough review of the rule could mean anything. The only sure thing is we'll be waiting a very long time for any kind of resolution.

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