Carlo DiFlorio, the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), told attendees at the Insured Retirement Institute’s (IRI) annual government, regulatory, and compliance conference in Washington April 29, that of the 800 exams that the SEC has performed in the last year, 80 have been focused on the variable products area, with some of those cases being referred to the SEC’s enforcement division. Indeed, Amy Lynch, president of FrontLine Compliance, and a former SEC examiner, who also spoke at the IRI conference, says that the SEC is actually performing more variable product exams than FINRA. DiFlorio noted at the conference that the SEC is currently working with FINRA to update the two agencies’ 2008 joint report on effective practices for variable annuities. An updated report, he said, will be forthcoming.
Almost 40% fewer Americans expect to fully fund their IRAs this year than did in 2009, according to the results of a survey of 1,000 Americans released recently by Putnam Investments. Only one in seven (14%) survey respondents plan to fully fund their IRAs in 2010, versus 23% who fully funded an IRA in 2009. More than half of those who did not fund their IRA for 2009 said they either lacked the cash to invest or preferred to keep the cash available for other reasons, and another quarter were worried about market risk.