H.R. 4173: The Indexed Annuity Amendment Lives
June 22, 2010 by Arthur D. Postal
WASHINGTON BUREAU — The conference committee responsible for reconciling the House and Senate versions of H.R. 4173 plans to vote Tuesday on an amendment that would limit the ability of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate indexed annuities.
Lawyers familiar with the arrangement who declined to be named said they have the votes in the conference committee to win support for language preempting SEC regulation but that some modification of the final language is likely.
The conference committee also appears to be close to making a decision about whether life agents and brokers will be subjected to a fiduciary standard when selling investment products to customers.
Indexed annuities are annuities backed by an insurer’s general account that offer minimum guaranteed returns along with a chance for the holder to earn extra returns based on the performance of a stock index or other investment index.
In connection with the indexed annuity issue, the Senate must first vote on whether its conferees will ask House conferees to accept a revised amendment that would allow indexed annuities to remain state-regulated if they are subject to the NAIC model laws that apply to indexed annuities.
To get permission for the Senate conferees to vote on the issue, lawyers for indexed annuity underwriters said they secured permission from the Senate parliamentarian. The parliamentarian ruled that the amendment is germane to the conference, one lawyer said.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, proposed the indexed annuity amendment Thursday.