TRADING FUTURES ON DEBT SECURITIES: The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have jointly proposed rules that would permit trading of futures on debt indexes in an effort to create a new class of tradable derivatives contracts.Futures contracts on debt indices that are allowed under the proposed rules would trade on futures exchanges subject to regulation by the CFTC. Securities futures on debt securities could be traded on futures exchanges and securities exchanges subject to regulation by the CFTC and the SEC. Under current regulations, trading futures on debt indices is essentially prohibited.

PRUDENTIAL PAPER WARNS ON TAX LIABILITIES: In a new white paper, Prudential Financial says that traditional approaches to tapping retirement assets might not be optimally tax-efficient. The document, "Tax Wise Retirement Distribution Planning," suggested that the conventional sequence for tapping such assets - access taxable accounts such as taxable savings accounts first, partially tax-deferred assets (stocks, mutual funds held outside of an annuity or qualified plan) second, and tax-deferred accounts (an IRA, annuity or qualified retirement plan) last - may not be the most economical course for asset longevity or maximum wealth transfer.

According to the paper, depending upon whether the goals of the client are asset longevity, wealth transfer or some balance between the two, financial planners can add a lot of value by taking a client-specific approach to determining which distribution or decumulation strategies best meet those needs. It said that individuals will need professional support to determine their optimal distribution plan to unlock tax liabilities and maximize their retirement assets for themselves and their heirs.

GENERATION X SAYS RETIREMENT SAVING IS UP TO THEM: Members of Generation X are aware that Social Security and pensions may disappear by the time they leave the workforce, and so they are looking to themselves to fund their retirements, according to a new poll conducted by Harris Interactive for the American Institute of CPAs.

More than half of the Gen Xers surveyed indicated that they would rely on savings and investments for retirement, while 65 percent of those polled said that they don't even expect Social Security to be a retirement option.

"The message is getting through to Generation X consumers (defined as those born between 1964 and 1980) about taking control of their own financial futures," said Carl George, chair of the AICPA's National CPA Financial Literacy Commission and chief executive of Peoria, Ill.-based Clifton Gunderson. "As a result, they intend to draw on personal savings and investments for retirement, unlike many of their Baby Boomer elders."

FIRST COMMAND LAUNCHES PORTAL: First Command, a Fort Worth, Texas-based provider of financial and retirement services, has launched OnTrack, a Web-based portal designed to help clients plot their financial paths and then compare their actual behaviors to the personal goals they have selected.

The company said that OnTrack allows clients to use the Web to keep track of their financial plans and compare current investment funding with recommendations from the recent update of their plan.

First Command also plans to introduce a new function that would allow clients to create various "what-if" scenarios to see how changes in their current situation may affect their overall financial plans.

POLYCOMP AND ROLLOVER SEAL ALLIANCE PACT: Polycomp, a California-based provider of customized retirement plan and benefit administration services, has partnered with RolloverSystems, a concern offering outsourced retirement plan rollovers for both financial institution service providers and plan sponsors, whereupon Polycomp will connect to Rollover's proprietary HQ platform.

Under the agreement, Polycomp will provide its financial advisors and plan-sponsor clients direct access to automated rollover services via RolloverHQ.

Using RolloverHQ, financial advisors who service retirement plans can avail themselves of automated participant communications and a self-service transaction platform that includes a choice of IRA products.

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