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DOL Fiduciary News: May 8, 2017

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Fiduciary rule-related confusion reigned in Q1 for some annuity writers; Friday, 05 May 2017 4:39 PM ET

Though a number of publicly traded producers of annuity products reported sharp year-over-year sales declines during the first quarter, at least two insurers posted favorable comparisons.

Confusion surrounding when and if the U.S. Department of Labor's fiduciary rule will be implemented, as well as heightened competition, provided headwinds for several companies. Recently reported measures of production ranged from a drop of 48.5% in total annuity deposits before coinsurance at American Equity Investment Life Holding Co. to an increase in total annuity sales of 21.8% in the second quarter of Fidelity & Guaranty Life's fiscal year. American Financial Group Inc. also posted a year-over-year increase in total annuity premiums of 0.4%.

Lincoln: Variable Annuity Sales Close to Bottoming Out

InsuranceNewsNet; May 5, 2017

The variable annuity market, which saw sales shrink by 21 percent last year over the previous year, is close to bottoming out, the top executive of one of the nation’s largest variable annuity sellers said Thursday.

The disappearance of defined benefit plans means more people are responsible for funding their own retirement. In that light, the guarantee of lifetime income will hold strong appeal for consumers, said Dennis R. Glass, president and CEO of Lincoln Financial.

The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which takes effect next June 9, requires that agents who choose to sell variable annuities do so under a best interest threshold.

ICI Calls on SEC to Move on Best Interest Standard

ThinkAdvisor; May 5, 2017

Chief among new SEC Chairman Jay Clayton’s priorities should be proposing a “harmonized best interest standard” for broker-dealers and bringing mutual fund disclosure into the 21st Century by allowing ETFs, funds and variable insurance products to deliver prospectuses online, Paul Schott Stevens, president and CEO of the Investment Company Institute, said Friday.

Speaking at the ICI Annual Meeting in Washington, Stevens said that ICI is “deeply disappointed” that the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule was only delayed by 60 days — with a compliance date of June 9 — “because the rule is already causing great harm.”

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