Representatives from the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) have told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the SEC ought to keep an eye on buffer annuities.
Barbara Roper, the CFA’s director of investor protection, and Micah Hauptman, the financial services counsel, mention buffer annuities briefly in the CFA comment on the SEC’s new best interest sales standard proposal, and related proposals.
Issuers’ ads make buffer annuities sound perfect, and the products have been selling well, the reps write.
But the reps note that a FINRA executive said in 2017 that even FINRA variable annuity analysts have had a hard time understanding buffer annuity product filings.
“To value these products and their potential payoffs, an investor would need to know how to value embedded derivatives,” the reps write.
Some buffer annuities “are virtually impossible for economists and quants, much less ordinary retail investors, to understand or value,” the reps write.
The CFA reps write that a varied population of investors needs access to a wide array of products, but they argue that the SEC may be using product diversity as an excuse for letting products that could hurt consumers stay on the market.