SEC OKS RULE ON DEFERRED VARIABLE ANNUITIESThe Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a rule from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority that would crack down on abusive sales of deferred variable annuities, particularly to senior citizens.

While the rule applies to all investors, the SEC is looking to protect older investors in particular, because investments like deferred variable annuities are often marketed to senior citizens at "free lunch" investment seminars offering them advice on securing their retirement. The SEC examined 110 securities firms and branch offices that offered the seminars and found most of them to be sales presentations, often featuring exaggerated or misleading claims. The SEC and the State of Hawaii have already charged one company, Senior Resources of Hawaii, and its owner with securities fraud.

The rule imposes a suitability obligation to make sure the deferred variable annuity makes sense for the customer. It also requires the principals to review transactions before a customer's application is forwarded to the issuing insurance company for processing. In addition, FINRA members have to establish supervisory procedures to comply with the standards in the rule.

The rule requires FINRA members to develop and document training policies or programs for salespeople to make sure they understand the rule and the features of deferred variable annuities.

On top of the FINRA rule, the SEC also required FINRA members to hold customer funds for no more than seven business days while they complete the principal review.


Influential accounting profession veteran Mark Tibergien has been named chief executive officer of Pershing Advisor Solutions LLC, an affiliate of Bank of New York Mellon subsidiary Pershing LLC.

Tibergien was formerly a principal at the accounting firm of Moss Adams and has been named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People by Accounting Today for the past eight years. He has also shown up in Financial Planning magazine's list of movers and shakers. Tibergien has co-authored two books, Practice Made Perfect and How to Value, Buy or Sell a Financial Advisory Practice.

At Pershing, he will help the firm deliver new products, services, practice management support and technology for registered investment advisors.


Fiserv Investment Support Services, an operating group of Fiserv Inc. and Greenwood Capital Associates LLC, has launched a new series of Emerald Funds for retirement plan professionals. Fiserv Trust Co.'s Emerald Funds are collective investment funds designed for tax-qualified, employer-sponsored retirement plans. The funds are available through the Fiserv Trust custody platform and are traded through the National Securities Clearing Corp.

The Emerald Strategic Allocation Fixed Income Fund uses fixed-income securities, while the Emerald Large Cap Conservative Growth Fund invests in well-capitalized companies with a history of strong earnings growth.

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