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Broker-Dealers And Insurers Ask Feds For More Time

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Large financial services groups want the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to give them 2 extra months to comply with a new rule dealing with the sale of variable life and variable annuity products through financial planners.

The Securities Industry Association, Washington, and the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, have asked the SEC to push the date for compliance back to March 31.

The original compliance date for the full variable products sales regulation was supposed to be Oct. 24, 2005. In September 2005, the SEC agreed to push the compliance date back to Jan. 31, 2006.

One part of the new rule deals with sales of variable products to discretionary brokerage accounts, and the other part deals with sales of the products through financial planners.

The industry can comply with the provisions regarding discretionary brokerage accounts by Jan. 31, but it needs more time to comply with the financial planning provisions, according to the SIA extension request.

Under the new regulations, a broker-dealer that provides investment advice and delivers a financial plan to a customer as part of a financial plan or as part of financial planning services must follow the SEC rules governing investment advisors when working with that customer.

The ACLI simply filed a brief petition asking for a compliance extension.

The SIA says its members need more time to comply with a provision that states that “a broker-dealer holding itself out as providing financial planning services or delivering a financial plan to a customer is not engaging in services that are solely incidental to brokerage.”

SIA members need more time because the SEC did not provide necessary guidance on implementing the new rules until Dec. 16, 2005, the SIA says.

“Because the interpretive guidance was released so close in time to the Jan. 31, 2006, extended compliance date, we believe that an additional extension of time is necessary to enable firms to comply with the rule on the compliance date,” the SIA says.