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Life insurance execs focus on challenges

February 21, 2005

NEW YORK - Building on last year's modest growth and pursuing optimal scale through consolidation will be at the forefront of life insurance company agendas, according to executives who participated in Atlanta-based LOMA's 2005 industry forecast....

Push to link Social Security to tax reform seen

February 21, 2005

WASHINGTON - A movement is afoot in Washington to try to tie Social Security reform to overall tax reform, and some financial planners agree that the two issues ought to be tackled together. Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif., chairman of the powerful...

Reform efforts could mean boost for proprietary funds

February 14, 2005

NEW YORK - Proprietary funds offered by brokerage houses, banks and other distributors could see something of a resurgence if 12(b)-1 fees or mutual fund revenue-sharing agreements are compromised as a result of the fund reforms being debated....

Higher reserves debated for universal life

February 14, 2005

WASHINGTON - State insurance regulators are debating whether to impose higher reserve requirements for universal-life policies with secondary guarantees. The life and health actuarial task force of the Kansas City, Mo.-based National Association...

No-lapse guarantees seen threat to insurer solvency

February 14, 2005

NEW YORK - Insurers' goal of putting universal-life policyholders' minds at ease may have gone a little too far, raising a red flag at the New York State Insurance Department and among insurance industry analysts. The no-lapse guarantee in universal-life...

John Hancock unit aims to double sales force by 2010

February 14, 2005

NEW YORK - John Hancock Financial Network is embarking on an aggressive growth campaign intended to double its sales force to 3,000 advisers by the end of the decade. While Boston-based John Hancock's parent, Manulife Financial Corp. of Toronto,...

Budget proposes small-business tax credits

February 14, 2005

WASHINGTON - Small businesses could get refundable tax credits for contributions to employee health savings accounts under the proposed fiscal 2006 budget released Feb. 7 by President Bush. That was one of the more surprising proposals in the...

Employers fear medical-cost sharing might jeopardize employee health

February 14, 2005

NEW YORK - Medical-cost-sharing plans, such as high-deductible group health insurance coupled with health savings accounts, are causing some employers to question whether the cost benefits of the plans may be outweighed by deteriorating employee...

Breaking up may not be so hard to do after all

February 14, 2005

BOSTON - The future of Putnam Investments LLC may be in flux. Now that Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., Putnam's insurance brokerage parent, has reached an $850 million settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer on charges of bid...

Spitzer comes on strong at Waterhouse conference

February 7, 2005

SAN DIEGO - Eliot L. Spitzer isn't going away, despite a growing chorus of business and government interests that wish he would. The New York attorney general thundered home this message to the hundreds of financial advisers and other attendees...

TIAA-CREF changes concern some advisers

February 7, 2005

NEW YORK - Changes at TIAA-CREF in New York are causing some observers to question the firm's commitment to financial advisers. Chief among those changes is the departure of Michael F. Lane in September. He had been the director of TIAA-CREF's...

Insurers battle over fiduciary, dislosure regs

February 7, 2005

WASHINGTON - Insurance salesmen would legally become fiduciaries, and insurance brokers would have to disclose all quotes they receive, under proposals on which state insurance regulators may act in the next month. The proposals are being fiercely...

Pacific Select takes equity stake in newcomer Advanced Financial

January 31, 2005

NEW YORK - Pacific Select Distributors Inc. this month said it had made an equity investment in a new broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, Advanced Financial Solutions Inc. The deal gives Pacific Select, already a holding company...

Life insurers urged to get aggressive

January 31, 2005

NEW YORK - Life insurance companies need to compete more aggressively for the estimated $90 trillion in global personal financial assets. That is the conclusion of a report released last week by New York-based Mercer Oliver Wyman, a financial...

Some advisers tout unique flat-tax idea

January 31, 2005

WASHINGTON - As President Bush's newly appointed advisory panel on federal tax reform begins to consider how to revamp the tax system, several financial advisers have come to a surprising conclusion about one of the most pressing issues: the...

OppenheimerFunds to enter retirement income arena

January 31, 2005

CHICAGO - As part of the effort to attract and retain the assets of retiring baby boomers, OppenheimerFunds Inc. is poised to be the latest entrant into the retirement-income-planning arena. "We do anticipate that in late February, we will be...

Nursing home costs up in 2004, survey says

January 31, 2005

NEW YORK - The average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home was $65,200 in 2004 - a 13% increase over the amount in 2003 - according to a survey of 6,000 care providers released this month by Genworth Financial Inc.'s long-term-care-insurance...

Morningstar to let VARDS fly solo, for now

January 24, 2005

CHICAGO - Morningstar Inc.'s purchase of the Variable Annuity Research and Data Service earlier this month is likely eventually to spell the end of a familiar industry acronym. "We haven't set any date for this, but we may change the branding...

Another index of hedge funds, but this one has a new wrinkle

January 24, 2005

NEW YORK - The first index that tracks hedge funds used by insurers to invest premiums from insurance products targeting wealthy clients will be available in March. The index will give advisers a way to benchmark performance of the funds backing...

Dilemma: To 403(b) or not to 403(b)

January 24, 2005

CHICAGO - For the first time in nearly 40 years, the Internal Revenue Service has proposed major changes to the regulations governing 403(b) plans, and some think they could squeeze independent financial advisers out of the market. "Virtually,...

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