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SEC 151A: A political non-issue in these tough times?

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It appears that a combination of strong industry response and the changing tides of election season may have helped change the course of this year’s biggest pre-economic meltdown controversy in the financial services sector: SEC Ruling 151A.

In coverage of the still-developing story, this December’s issue of Senior Market Advisor includes an interview with Jim Mumford, first deputy insurance commissioner with the State of Iowa’s insurance division.

Mumford, a strong advocate of state-level (and state-initiated) regulations regarding the industry, suitability and better products for seniors, says that the SEC’s recent decision to extend its commentary period on the 151A proposal mirrors the groundswell movement against the legislation.

“Since opening it up for comment, more than 2,600 people have responded, and it seems like the vast majority of people were against it,” Mumford says. “That’s a fantastic number, as it even includes comments from many different government groups.”

Mumford says the bigger issue looming over the whole SEC proposal is one of pure politics. With leadership change of one kind or another looming just a week away — and legislators’ focus shifted to dealing with the ongoing economic rollercoaster — 151A may move to the backburner, if it doesn’t disappear completely.

“By November, (SEC Chairman Christopher) Cox will probably be a very lame duck, and I’m not sure if he’s expressed interest in getting it taken care of in these last days. Then the question becomes, will even SEC staff take it on? Times have certainly changed since the whole proposal started.”


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