The directors of the American Council of Life Insurers have voted to support efforts by the National Association of Securities Dealers and the New York Stock Exchange to merge their regulatory operations.

Frank Keating, president of the ACLI, Washington, says the ACLI board agreed to endorse the merger Jan. 11 “after careful deliberation.”

“Regulatory efficiency is a top priority for life insurers and their affiliated broker-dealers,” Keating says in a statement about the proposed combination. “We see this proposed merger as a positive step in that direction.”

The ACLI “looks forward to working with the new organization to ensure the interests of life insurers and their policyholders are thoroughly addressed,” Keating says.

Votes on the proposed self-regulatory organization combination are due Jan. 19.

The NASD, Washington, has been urging its members to support the deal, saying consolidation will save it time and money, streamline compliance for large member firms that also belong to the NYSE, and enable it to pay each member firm $35,000.

One sweetener for the insurance industry is a provision in the agreement that would guarantee “independent dealer/insurance affiliated firms” at least 1 seat on a new 23-seat SRO board.

The NASD has been asking members to support the deal after learning that some organizations have been making what the NASD called “misstatements regarding the regulatory consolidation plan and member vote.”