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Bear Stearns Has Been Active In Life Settlement Finance

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A unit of the Bear Stearns Companies Inc. is one of the six members of the Institutional Life Markets Association.

The announcement that J.P. Morgan Chase & Company, New York, will be acquiring Bear Stearns, New York, an investment bank, for about $240 million in stock, or the equivalent of about $2 per share, will not affect the ILMA, according to Jack Kelly, ILMA government relations director.

Bear Stearns is one of a half dozen ILMA members, the company will continue as an ongoing entity, and life settlements are investments that are uncorrelated with other investments, thereby offering diversification in an institutional investor’s business portfolio, Kelly says.

Doug Head, executive director of the Life Insurance Settlement Association, Orlando, Fla., says the life settlement market continues to offer investors diversification and a chance to invest in non-correlated assets.

“The very fact that it is not related to [stock] market swings or the degree of vulnerability of other markets,” makes it a good investment, Head says.

The life settlements market should continue to be a profitable market, says Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., New York.

Eastport Capital Corp., New York, a Goldman Sachs affiliate, is a financing entity in the life settlements market.

DuVally declined comment on Eastport’s life settlement activities.

Representatives from Bear Stearns and J.P. Morgan were not immediately available for comment.