Earlier this week, I made a call out to our readers to sound off on who should make our Rogue’s Gallery list for 2012. The industry rogues are those people or forces who really have done a good job at derailing the industry from carrying out its appointed tasks. So far, the response has been fantastic. Here’s our current short list of candidates, in no particular order of importance. What do you think? Do you agree with our prospective Rogue’s Gallery? Or is there somebody who really needs to be on the list that isn’t? Be sure to write your comments below, or e-mail them to me at [email protected], or follow our conversation on this on Facebook, LinkedIn and on Twitter under the #rogue hashtag.
Versus Financial, LLC
Verus Financial, LLC for the mercenary way in which it went about selling its services to cash-strapped states, turning a legitimate regulatory issue into a cynical treasure hunt at the industry’s expense. Dishonorable mentions go to the attorney generals and controllers in the various states that went along with it, but especially those in California, Florida, New York and Delaware.
Therese Vaughn and the NAIC
Therese Vaughn and the NAIC for putting its own interests before the public, for obstructing a more efficient approach to regulation (FIO, Solvency II), and for a gut-busting budget that makes us all wonder: what does it really need with all that money?
Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services as the avatar for everything that’s troubling the industry over PPACA implementation. (Dis)Honorable mentions also go to her colleagues in PPACA implementation: Steven Larsen, head of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, and Phyllis Borzi, secretary of the Department of Labor.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) for his role in championing the Medical Loss Ratio provision of PPACA, perhaps the single most contentious portion of the legislation so far for the industry (even more so than the ideologically challenging individual mandate).
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) for spearheading the downsizing of the insurance office and financial services office into a single regulatory body, all while seeking to turn up the heat on insurers through issues such as unclaimed assets. You cannot do more with less on the regulatory front and expect the best results for both the industry and the public. But then again, should we expect anything less from somebody who used his position as AG to bash insurers and earn himself a ticket to the governor’s mansion?
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro for her role in pushing forward with an uneven fiduciary standard for brokers that even Barney Frank has problems with. This is from the same SEC that brought us the abortive Rule 151A in an ongoing effort to expand its regulatory footprint into an insurance industry that does not really need it. And even if it did, having yet another regulatory force overseeing insurers is only making all regulation that much more fractured and inefficient.
Barney Frank (D-MA)
Barney Frank (D-MA) for his role in Dodd-Frank, SIFI, and everything else he’s done to make the life and health industry such an interesting business lately. It seems unlikely that the industry will shed many tears when Frank retires.
The Belpointe Three
The Belpointe Three for giving financial advisors everywhere a bad name. Really, what do a bunch of wealthy financial advisors from Greenwich, Ct., need to play the lottery for? While the responsible manner in which they’ve handled their winnings is to be commended, it is more than offset by the messages they have sent to a public that is increasingly skeptical of all financial services professionals, especially those whose job is to show folks how to plan for the future, but whose own plans seem to include Hail Mary passes at instant fortune. That’s no way to lead by example.
Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Wall Street for fueling misperceptions about the financial services sector. The anger and angst of the protesters can be understood easily enough; with high unemployment and a global economy still trying to shake off damage done by the excesses of Wall Street subprime trading, there seems much to protest. But drum circles formed by college grads who seem to feel they were obligated to take on student loans does not elevate a much-needed conversation on how financial services need to be regulated. Instead, it only is adding an amorphous grassroots anger bound to be seized upon by presidential candidates in 2012, distracting us from getting any real work done.
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