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DOL Fiduciary News: January 20, 2017

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Sen. Warren Questions Firms on Their DOL Fiduciary Prep Ahead of Possible Delay

ThinkAdvisor; January 19, 2017

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent a letter on Thursday to 33 financial firms asking them whether they support delaying and rolling back the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, as the rule could suffer such a fate Monday.

The letter ( — which was sent to such firms as Morgan Stanley, Raymond James, Charles Schwab & Co., Fidelity, BlackRock and TD Ameritrade — comes on the heels of reports that the incoming Trump administration will seek to delay the rule, Warren said.

Executive actions ready to go as Trump prepares to take office

Reuters; Fri Jan 20, 2017 | 7:39am EST

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump is preparing to sign executive actions on his first day in the White House on Friday to take the opening steps to crack down on immigration, build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and roll back outgoing President Barack Obama's policies.

Trump, a Republican elected on Nov. 8 to succeed Democrat Obama, arrived in Washington on a military plane with his family a day before he will be sworn in during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

Aides said Trump would not wait to wield one of the most powerful tools of his office, the presidential pen, to sign several executive actions that can be implemented without the input of Congress.

IMOs Call DOL Fiduciary Exclusion Unworkable 

InsuranceNewsNet; January 19, 2017

Regulatory thresholds proposed for independent marketing organizations (IMOs) to participate in the sale of fixed indexed annuities are so high as to be virtually worthless and unworkable for the bulk of the IMO industry, industry experts said.

Department of Labor regulators on Wednesday proposed that IMOs must have generated an average of $1.5 billion in annual fixed annuity premium over each of the three previous fiscal years as one of the threshold requirements to be issued a “financial institution” exemption under the DOL's fiduciary rule.

NAFA responds to the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule exemption; January 19, 2017

The National Association for Fixed Annuities is scoffing at a new U.S. Department of Labor proposal for letting some independent marketing organizations that distribute indexed annuities serve as financial institutions under the DOL fiduciary standard.

“This is the classic case of too little too late,” NAFA Executive Director Chip Anderson said in a statement Wednesday. “It’s too little because it comes attached with strings and conditions that still make the rule unworkable for most of the fixed annuity industry.”

Life insurers find relief in DOL rule exemption as insurance stocks edge down; Thursday, January 19, 2017 5:44 PM ET

It was a short and relatively quiet week for insurance stocks, but some life insurers got clarity around a Department of Labor rule exemption.

The SNL Insurance Index declined 0.56% to 855.83 for the week ended Jan. 19, and the S&P 500 fell 0.48% to 2,263.69.

Sandler O'Neill + Partners analyst John Barnidge said the most notable development in the life insurance space this week was the Department of Labor's proposal of an exemption for certain independent marketing organizations, which can now use a best interest contract exemption from the DOL rule when selling certain annuity products. The rule is not applicable to all such marketing organizations, however. Insurance intermediaries must have annual fixed-annuity contract sales that average at least $1.5 billion in premiums over the last three years in order to qualify.

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