“1035 exchanges are about to get easier. Is that a good thing?”

This title is not original. It is the title of an article written by Greg Iacurci in InvestmentNews’ January 21, 2019 edition. It is an interesting piece about the effort to use technology to speed up the 1035 annuity-to-annuity transfer on a tax-free basis. Whenever I see 1035, I think replacement and when I think replacement, I think about Regulation 60 in NY. When I read this article, I kept thinking how likely it is to lead to Reg 60 violations and fines.

While not mentioned in the article, I am hopeful that those working on this streamlining effort are familiar with Reg 60 and its mandates. The article states “Annuity products are often derided as being expensive, complicated products, a criticism that’s compounded by cumbersome industry infrastructure that often creates a month-long exchange process. Technology can reduce the time line substantially, executives said, likely to within a week, start to finish.” That does not appear to be enough for all that is required by Reg 60.

Sheryl Moore, CEO of Moore Market Intelligence does point out that it is possible that “more bad actors would get missed” due to the streamlined process, and that is certainly true, but my concern is a compliance one. I do not see how it will be possible to comply with the disclosure requirements of Reg 60 within that process. So perhaps NY is outside the scope of these efforts? Perhaps once the rest of the country has successfully expedited the replacement process, pressure can be brought to bear on the NY DFS to revise Reg 60 to increase the speed of these transactions.

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However, that seems a long shot given recent experience with Reg 60 procedures filings. In most cases, if not all, an expedited process for replacements requires revisions to a company’s DFS-filed procedures. Those filings are reviewed in granular detail and changes are often requested along with every screen shot of an electronic process. If changes are also required to the application to accommodate a new process, the slowdown at DFS is dramatically increased. Both the policy form reviewers and Reg 60 reviewers hold these types of changes to an extremely rigorous scope of review, far in excess of anything that exists in the review of paper processes. The chance that 1035 exchanges will get easier in NY seems remote.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, except for . . .

Andy Williams had it right all those years ago. It is a wonderful time of the year. Great times and memories with family and friends, parties, presents, blessed and cherished holiday celebrations. Indeed, a most wonderful time. Except . . .

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‘Tis also the time of the year for year-end planning and budget meetings. Looking ahead to next year and determining your goals, your team’s goals, and just how you’re going to get there. Nothing like adding a bit of stress to your holiday shopping, eh? 

And if you’re in the compliance side of the insurance business, even more stress. Just how are you to keep up with the latest changes in suitability and other state driven regulations that are popping up across the country? How can you possibly submit all of those new product and form filings you’re expecting in 2019!? And what about advertising reviews!?! How can they possibly expect you to stay on top of all of those agents and their social media activities?!?! And with inadequate resources!?!?! Your answer:  Need to hire . . . need to hire . . . need to hire! But perhaps not. 

Why saddle yourself with the hiring process? The reviewing of countless resumes, interviewing potential candidates, choosing which one MIGHT be the right fit for you and your team. Senior management isn’t giving you enough money to hire someone with the right amount of experience. You’re trying to find that budding superstar. That diamond in the rough that you can pay as little as possible, and who will excel at every task you give them. The problem is, they aren’t easy to find.

What about instead of a new full time employee, you bring on a consulting firm that will be there when you need them? One with a team that has extensive compliance experience. Former regulators, actuaries, CCO’s, COO’s, years of extensive form filing and advertising review experience. Essentially everything you need to address your regulatory and operational compliance needs and right there when you need them without all of the hiring paperwork and hassles. And likely for less than you would spend hiring that elusive diamond in the rough. That’s precisely what you get when you engage with Currin Compliance Services (CCS). We hope you consider us your partner as you plan for 2019. Why not check the need to hire box off your holiday list? Turn to CCS instead. 

Wishing you the very best for this most wonderful time of the year, and for a happy and successful 2019!

Author: Pete Rock

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Regardless, We Can Still Give Thanks

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We often struggle with understanding our past. Times when we erred in judgement; times when we were wronged by those we trusted; times when our differences made conflict inevitable. Of course, the hope is that we learn from the past, and embrace and give thanks for the present and future. Sometimes we wonder about whether we have learned anything at all. As it seems we continue to make the same errors, suffer from the same injustices. Still, even in the darkest times, there can and should be gratitude. Gratitude for being given the opportunity to make a difference, to do the right thing, and to pave the way for a brighter future. 

In 1863, during one of the darkest times in our country’s history, President Lincoln set in motion the national observance of Thanksgiving. His proclamation follows. Certainly, despite our current political and social divisiveness, we can find time to give thanks. Melody Beattie once said, “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” May we all feel that peace and have a most joyous Thanksgiving!

Washington, D.C.  - October 3, 1863  - By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth. … By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Submitted by Pete Rock