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Waddell & Reed case helps spotlight pitfalls of the 1035 exchange

May 9, 2005

NEW YORK - The recently announced $18 million settlement of variable-annuity-switching charges involving Waddell & Reed Inc., NASD and state regulators serves as a warning about the care required when advising clients to change annuity insurers....

Bankruptcy law will protect 529-plan assets

May 9, 2005

NEW YORK - Executives in the 529 college savings plan industry are praising an unheralded provision in the new bankruptcy law that protects assets in college-savings accounts. As it turns out, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection...

NAIFA opposes creating association health plans

May 2, 2005

WASHINGTON - Insurance advisers are at odds with much of the small-business lobby over legislation that would pave the way for the creation of association health plans. The plans would allow small-business groups to band together to get more...

SEC broker rule wins support

May 2, 2005

WASHINGTON - Two fiduciary organizations support a controversial new regulation that exempts fee-based brokers from registering as investment advisers in some circumstances. In early April, a spinoff group of the Society of Fiduciary Advisors...

Merrill hits funds with another fee

May 2, 2005

NEW YORK - Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. is hitting the mutual funds it supports with an omnibus-account double whammy. In addition to already charging fund companies for omnibus subaccounting, the industry giant sent letters to them late last year...

SEC unlikely to alter how it rations sanctions against fund firms

May 2, 2005

NEW YORK - The Securities and Exchange Commission is unlikely to change how it goes after fund companies that it suspects of wrongdoing, merely because it partially lost one court case, according to legal experts. The case involves a ruling...

Merrill transition policy said to be complicated by issues of gender

May 2, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO - Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.'s current program for transitioning books of business - allowing brokers with an eye on retirement to make quiet deals at the branch level - has been described by one industry observer as "conflict avoidance."...

NASD drops other shoe on Raymond James

May 2, 2005

NEW YORK - At a meeting in Salt Lake City last summer with registered representatives affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services Inc., Richard G. Averitt III, the firm's chief executive, said he was stumped as to why NASD was looking at...

Planners prep for new bankruptcy law

April 25, 2005

NEW YORK - Now that President Bush has signed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 into law, professional associations and businesses are gearing up to provide financial planners with information and resources...

Battle over Merrill rule still on, say FPA, NAPFA

April 25, 2005

DETROIT - With the dust still settling around the 117-page broker-dealer-exemption action that the Securities and Exchange Commission issued two weeks ago, the financial planning industry is already considering its next move. According to legal...

Raymond James criticizes SEC penalties

April 25, 2005

NEW YORK - Raymond James Financial Services Inc. fired back against the Securities and Exchange Commission last week in a continuing dispute that could cut into the firm's efforts to recruit top brokers. In a brief filed with the SEC, the St....

Death-tax repeal could be deadly, some fear

April 25, 2005

WASHINGTON - As Senate negotiations over permanent estate tax repeal get under way following approval by the House for the second time, estate planners and some financial planners are growing more concerned over the loss of stepped-up capital...

WorldCom case opens up can of worms for fund directors

April 25, 2005

NEW YORK - If mutual fund directors find themselves on the losing end of a lawsuit, they could be asked to dig into their own pockets. That is the message some securities lawyers said fund directors should take away from settlements totaling...

SEC fires off deficiency letters

April 25, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO - The Securities and Exchange Commission fired off a wave of deficiency letters that recently landed in the mailboxes of mutual fund advisers and registered investment advisers alike, according to industry experts. The SEC is using...

Advisers bullish on Morningstar IPO

April 18, 2005

CHICAGO - Despite being under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York attorney general, Morningstar Inc. is going ahead today with its Dutch auction initial public offering of what some think could be a stock with...

New financial planning guide for disasters released

April 18, 2005

NEW YORK - Following a year that saw Florida battered by hurricanes, California devastated by mudslides and wildfires, and the Midwest damaged by tornadoes, financial planners have a new tool to help clients protect themselves fiscally and physically...

A state fund open to all comers?

April 18, 2005

BOSTON - In a move that could have broad implications for the mutual fund and financial advice industries, one state regulator is mulling the possibility of opening the state's pension fund to all residents. The plan, which is intended to give...

Bankruptcy reform unlikely to affect their biz, planners say

April 18, 2005

NEW YORK - Financial planners are skeptical that the bankruptcy reform bill passed by the House and sent to the White House last Thursday would have a tangible effect on their business. At first blush, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer...

Investing outside the U.S. is still Wild West experience

April 18, 2005

NEW YORK - New rules passed early this month that aim to reform the U.S. markets will have little effect on investing in non-U.S. securities. For Americans who seek exposure to foreign markets, investing will continue to be like living in the...

Suitability screens for VAs are undergoing an overhaul

April 18, 2005

NEW YORK - Determining which clients should be offered variable annuities is gradually changing from art to science. This stems from concern over countering negative publicity and avoiding the costs of disclosure to prospects who may later turn...

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