Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Breakfast Briefing: GMAC, Tiger, Credit Chargeoffs, BofA, Appraisals

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Breakfast Briefing: Gordon Brown, 12 Highest Paid People, Fannie Mae

Monday, December 28, 2009


Breakfast Briefing: Amazon, Housing, Save Money in 2010, Credit Writedowns...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Progressive Launches Pay As You Drive Program in South Carolina

Progressive Insurance (Mayfield, Ohio) has announced availability of its MyRate insurance program, which uses the carrier's patented telematics-based technology, to auto insurance customers in South Carolina. Progressive describes MyRate as a behavior-based insurance program that gives drivers a customized rate based on how, how much and when their car is driven...

Drivers who choose to sign up for MyRate receive a device that plugs into a port in their car and measures how, how much and when the car is being driven. Cars driven less often, in less risky ways, and at less risky times of day can receive a lower premium. To cover the cost of the device and data transmission, Progressive will add a $30 technology expense to the customer's premium for each policy term that the customer is enrolled in the program...



Lunch Linkage: Lending, Credit Unions, Bailouts, AIG Bonus Money, Win Insurance, Mortgage Apps, 12(b)-1...


Seniors who bought inappropriate annuities from Great American Life Insurance Co. may be eligible for refunds

Minnesotans who were 65 or older and purchased a deferred annuity from Great American between Jan. 1, 2001, and Aug. 1, 2008, will get a letter with the information... Seniors who bought inappropriate annuities from Great American Life Insurance Co. may be eligible for refunds, the Minnesota attorney general's office said Tuesday.

About 2,000 policies with an estimated value of $50 million may be eligible for the refund claims, according to the AG's office... It said the Ohio company was deceptive in how it sold the annuities, some of which were not suited for the customers to whom they were sold. Some wouldn't give people in their 70s and 80s access to their investments without sizable penalties for at least 12 years. In some cases, annuities locked up all of the seniors' liquid assets or charged them hefty penalties to get access to their principal...

Star-Tribune: Seniors who bought inappropriate annuities from Great American Life Insurance Co. may be eligible for refunds


Loans at 0.57% to Family Members Could Save Millions on Taxes

Estate planner Richard Behrendt helped his client make $5 million loans to each of his children this year, avoiding gift taxes of 45 percent and saving the kids as much as $837,000 apiece in interest... Rates for so-called intra-family loans have declined as much as 53 percent since 2008... BusinessWeek: Loans at 0.57% to Family Members Could Save Millions on Taxes


USAA earns strong financial, debt ratings

Oldwick, N.J.-based A.M. Best assigned a rating of A++ superior to the insurance company and its subsidiaries. Concurrently, A.M. Best has affirmed the debt rating of “aaa” on the company’s medium-term note program and the AMB-1+ on the commercial paper program of USAA Capital Corp... BizJournals: USAA earns strong financial, debt ratings


Breakfast Briefing: Existing home sales jump, VCs see opportunity, estate tax, mortgage apps fall....


Whole Life Dominates Cash Value Insurance Sales

When it comes to cash value insurance, whole life sales are picking up steam. Annual sales of whole life insurance were up 12 percent in third quarter of 2009, compared with the same period of 2008, according to LIMRA International.

By contrast, annual sales of universal life and variable universal life insurance dropped 14 percent and 64 percent, respectively, over the same period. And term insurance sales, after several years of strong growth, have been flat...

Registered Rep: Whole Life Dominates Cash Value Insurance Sales

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Lunch Linkage: Fitch hikes its outlook on Prudential, cites cash from Wachovia Securities sale


Equity-Indexed Annuities on Roll at Banks, with SEC's Help

Regulators have agreed to delay plans to treat equity-indexed annuities like securities, but many bank-affiliated brokerages are already doing so... At First Bank in Creve Coeur, Mo., the annuities cannot be sold by licensed bankers, only by full-time financial consultants, said Bruce Stava, the director of advisory sales at First Bank Wealth Management Group. And sales at the $10.8 billion-asset bank are scrutinized much the same way securities transactions are, he said.

Insurance Networking: Equity-Indexed Annuities on Roll at Banks, with SEC's Help


More Employers Consider Annuities for 401(k) Plans

A growing number of employers are planning to incorporate annuities into their 401(k) plans as companies look for ways to provide workers with steady benefits in retirement, according to a survey by Watson Wyatt... Nearly 22% of employers with defined contribution plans currently offer an annuity as an option and 10% more are considering adding it, the survey found...

Financial Planning: More Employers Consider Annuities for 401(k) Plans


Breakfast Briefing: Mortgage Mods, Banks, Fed, Bribery, SPY, Housing Prices Fall

Lower modified mortgage payments means fewer redefaults - money.cnn
Ahead of Meeting, Small Banks Advise Obama on Lending Opportunities - foxbusiness
The Peoples' Revolt in Iran - online.wsj

Tracking Vital Signs With a Smart Phone - online.wsj
U.S. stocks seen rising in early part of 2010 - marketwatch
Study: "Bailoutability" Of Crappy Banks Depends Most on Federal Reserve Ties - zerohedge

S&P 500 on the cusp of its first-ever down decade - investmentnews
OPEC to Leave Output Unchanged: President - cnbc
Bribery in the U.S. Senate sets a new low point - ritholtz

Beware the Taxpayer Bailout of Underfunded Teamsters Pension Funds - globaleconomicanalysis
LoanPerformance: House Prices Fall 0.7% in October - calculatedriskblog
Master Chart Of Airlines Fees - consumerist

The Death of the Second (Third?) Golden Age of Private Equity? - zerohedge
China Does Not Expect Rapid Export Rebound for 2010 - cnbc
Bond prices fall as Dow rises 100 points, yield curve widens - Dec. 21, 2009 - money.cnn

Dubai Financial Markets to buy Nasdaq Dubai - marketwatch
F for Effort - online.wsj
At 281 bps, 2s10s Hit Another All Time Record Wide - zerohedge

House Price Indices: Case-Shiller and LoanPerformance - calculatedriskblog
The Healthcare Bill Does Nothing To Solve The Looming Medicare-Induced Fiscal Crisis - businessinsider
A Simple Recipe for Making Money - smartmoney


AIG trying to distance itself from its past: Insurance giant to release VA riders under another name

Hoping to overcome distributors' suspicions and gain traction in the variable-annuity market, embattled insurance carrier AIG next month will introduce two VA benefit riders from a subsidiary that took its tainted name off the stationery.

But it may take more than a name change for people to ignore the parent company's past...

Investment News: AIG trying to distance itself from its past: Insurance giant to release VA riders under another name


Brittany Murphy Leaves Will

TMZ has learned Brittany Murphy had a will when she died -- a will she executed before she met husband Simon Monjack... Sources say the will left her estate to her mother, Sharon Murphy...

TMZ: Brittany Murphy Leaves Will

Monday, December 21, 2009


Lunch Linkage: In-store credit cards, Don Pitti, pay raises


The Misadventures of Moody's: Touting The Hartford, Mangling MetLife

Most analysts don’t have the access to the company financial records that Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch do when they formulate their credit ratings. Theoretically that should make them smarter than the rest of us.

But only theoretically. Each of the three big rating agencies got a black eye from its failure to understand, predict or provide insight into the real estate market crash that led to the recession. While the raters narrowly missed increased federal regulation, insurance regulators went after them with a vengeance, and now use Pimco as their rating agency of choice on the $145 billion portfolio of residential mortgage-backed securities that insurers currently hold.

So one can only wonder about Moody’s latest prognostication: downgrading the largest and arguably the healthiest U.S. life insurer, MetLife, by one notch to the fourth lowest credit rating...

BNet: The Misadventures of Moody's: Touting The Hartford, Mangling MetLife


Breakfast Briefing: Asia, Bank of China, IBM subprime, Case-Shiller...


Without Broker Education Clause, Reform Bill Falls Short

Late last week, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill intended to rein in Wall Street’s worst excesses. The bill is designed to protect the rest of the economy from the big banks’ enormous appetite for risk. Some of the proposed changes are systemic, and the banks are now furiously lobbying to defeat those measures.

In addition, the bill has some provisions aimed at helping retail investors. For example, the bill would impose a fiduciary duty on brokers, requiring them to recommend only suitable investments and to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. This step is long overdue since brokers, just like their investment advisor counterparts, typically offer products and services that go well beyond the simple purchase and sale of stocks and bonds-giving advice on mortgages, insurance, college tuition and retirement planning. In light of these wide-ranging responsibilities, many of which go to the heart of investors’ financial well-being, it only makes sense that brokers should be held to this higher standard...

Seeking Alpha: Without Broker Education Clause, Reform Bill Falls Short


Consider Conseco

Conseco sells health insurance and other products, but until recently most investors considered it an ailing company. Tucked away in the quiet corner of Carmel, Indiana, Conseco bounced from misadventure to bankruptcy. Although it always paid its claims, if ever there was an insurer that looked like its pockets were empty, it was this one.

But that might not hold true anymore...

BNet: Consider Conseco


The Individual Mandate: An Unconstitutional Exercise Of Congressional Power

It is generally agreed, by both proponents and opponents of the Administration’s health reform bill, that the lynchpin of the legislation is the individual mandate requiring uninsured Americans to obtain health insurance, or pay a penalty on their tax return for failing to do so. Without the mandate, even the Administration’s wildly exaggerated cost savings estimates simply cannot work. The whole plan is predicated on enlarging the risk pool by bringing in younger, healthier people who currently lack the means or the incentive – or both – to purchase health insurance.

Given the centrality of the mandate, it is somewhat surprising that little attention has been paid to the critical legal question of whether Congress has the constitutional authority to require Americans to purchase a commodity from a private, for-profit corporation...

CounterCurrents: The Individual Mandate: An Unconstitutional Exercise Of Congressional Power


Why you shouldn't buy a variable annuity with living benefits

If you're about to make the plunge into a variable annuity with living benefits, I'd like to make a suggestion.


Just as people were once urged to buy term life insurance and invest the difference rather than buy cash value life insurance, today's living benefits buyer would be better off buying a life annuity and investing the difference...

Dallas News: Why you shouldn't buy a variable annuity with living benefits

Friday, December 18, 2009


Editorial: House Democrats' punitive proposals prompt three states to lobby for Michigan insurers' employment

Other states are licking their chops as Michigan Democratic lawmakers continue to demagogue home-based auto and home insurance carriers. While our Legislature is bristling with unfriendly proposals toward insurers, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa are among the states courting them and their well-paying white-collar jobs.

The contrast was especially prominent this week, when Ohio's development department circulated invitations to the launch of a new strategic plan for growing its insurance companies and financial institutions.

At the same time, Michigan's Democratic lawmakers were pushing legislation to increase government intrusion into the insurance business. Last summer, they also sponsored bills that would open the floodgates to lawsuits against insurers by creating new causes of legal action, fines and penalties to settle disputes over claim payments...

Detroit News: Editorial: House Democrats' punitive proposals prompt three states to lobby for Michigan insurers' employment


Lunch Linkage: Tiger Woods, Saab, TIPS, Credit Cards...

GM's Saab brand to wind down - money.cnn
The European AIG: How Moody's Downgrade Of Greece Can Start The Avalanche - zerohedge
How Tiger Woods Bribed National Enquirer To Quash Early Sex-Scandal Story - businessinsider

TIPS Derived Expected Inflation: About 2% - mjperry
Interactive: Life cycle of a delinquent credit card account - foxbusiness
Hedge fund trade group bans reporters from big conference - investmentnews

Scaling Up: Women-Owned Businesses Can Recharge The Global Economy - forbes
U.S. Hurting in Wallet -- and Spirit - online.wsj
36 states reporting declining unemployment - Dec. 18, 2009 - money.cnn

Unemployment Fell in Most US States in November - cnbc
Fannie, Freddie suspend evictions for holidays - marketwatch
Six More Months of Carry Trade: Roubini - cnbc

Have you seen M3 lately? - ritholtz
Euro-area banks may see $269 billion in write-offs - marketwatch
Cramer Defends His Citi Call, Says He "Has No Idea Really How Citi Is Doing" - zerohedge

Gold futures dip on tension between Iran and Iraq - marketwatch
The Economist: The Recession Was Nothing, Here Comes The Real Pain - businessinsider
Little-Known Government Agency Says Everything Is A-OK - dealbreaker

Bonus Watch '09: Morgan Stanley - dealbreaker
SIPC's legal tab for Madoff liquidation now up to $37M -- and counting - investmentnews
LA Area Port Traffic in November - calculatedriskblog


Breakfast Briefing: Credit Cards, BofA, Witching Hour, T-Bills


Northwestern Mutual: Named "Best Place to Work" in the insurance industry

Northwestern Mutual is the “Best Place to Work” in the insurance industry in 2010 and is the 11th-best place to work in America overall, according to survey results from®, an online career and workplace community. The Milwaukee-based financial security company stands alone as the only company in its industry that ranks in Glassdoor’s Top 50 “Best Places to Work in 2010.”

In addition, Northwestern Mutual Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edward J. Zore ranks as the most popular insurance company CEO in America, receiving an 89% approval rating from Northwestern Mutual home office employees and independently contracted financial representatives...

WisBusiness: Northwestern Mutual: Named "Best Place to Work" in the insurance industry


22% of DC plans have annuity as distribution option

Twenty-two percent of employers that sponsor defined contribution plans offer an annuity as a plan distribution option, according to a Watson Wyatt Worldwide survey...

Pensions & Investments: 22% of DC plans have annuity as distribution option


Annuity Services Insurance Center Fined $15,000

The California Department of Insurance has fined Annuity Services Insurance Center $15,000 for deceptive advertising practices targeting senior citizens in California, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said.

Beginning in August 2004, Investor’s Union LLC, doing business as Annuity Service Insurance Center, sent out at least 235,000 unsolicited mailers to California residents, CDI said. The notices stated that recipients, "… may have an annuity that has reached the end of its surrender period," and told them to contact the Annuity Service Insurance Center. Those who responded were asked questions about their investments and assets. Those who qualified were then scheduled to meet with salespeople for an annuity/life insurance sales pitch...

Claims Journal: Annuity Services Insurance Center Fined $15,000


SEC tightens rules on investment advisors

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted rules designed to reduce the possibility of fraud or theft of client assets by an investment advisor.

The SEC said that the rule changes will substantially increase protection for investors who turn their money and securities over to an investment advisor that maintains physical custody of those assets. Most advisors don’t retain custody of their clients’ assets, the SEC says, but over the past year, it has brought a series of enforcement cases against advisors who had access to their clients’ assets and misused them...

Investment Executive: SEC tightens rules on investment advisors

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Wells Fargo to Pay $4.5 Billion for Prudential Stake in Joint Venture

Shares of Prudential Financial (PRU) rose nearly 4% on Wednesday, a day after it was announced that Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) would purchase Prudential’s minority stake in a joint venture through a cash payment of $4.5 billion... The transaction is expected to close by Dec. 31... The joint venture, which was originally launched by Wachovia Corp. with Prudential, became property of Wells Fargo after it acquired Wachovia...

Fox Business: Wells Fargo to Pay $4.5 Billion for Prudential Stake in Joint Venture


Lunch Links: Bernanke, Stimulus, Citi and Moynihan


Breakfast Briefing: Fed, Citi, TARP, Sovereign Debt and Innovation


TIAA issues $2 billion in notes to bolster capital

The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America has issued $2 billion in 30-year notes to reinforce its capital position, the association said Wednesday... The surplus notes will pay an annual interest rate of 6.85 percent and mature in December 2039, TIAA said in a statement. They are subordinate to policyholder obligations...

AP: TIAA issues $2 billion in notes to bolster capital


MetLife Downgraded by Moody’s on ‘Elevated’ Investment Losses

MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, had its credit rating cut by Moody’s Investors Service after three straight quarterly losses... “Elevated levels of investment losses” will weigh on the New York-based insurer, Moody’s said in a statement yesterday as it cut the senior debt rating one level to A3, the fourth lowest of 10 investment grade ratings, from A2.

MetLife is bracing for losses on its $50 billion in commercial real estate loans and commercial mortgage-backed securities. The insurer, which used derivatives to maintain profits last year as markets slumped, has posted $2.57 billion in losses this year as stocks and bonds recover...

Bloomberg: MetLife Downgraded by Moody’s on ‘Elevated’ Investment Losses


The 75 Best Business Blogs

BusinessPundit: The 75 Best Business Blogs

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Missed a few spots: 'Sweeping' financial reforms don't clean house

When it comes to protecting consumers from rogue financial advisers, politicians just can't get out of their own way. The result is sound and fury, accomplishing nothing... As part of the sweeping financial services reforms that passed in the House this week, there was a requirement for the Securities & Exchange Commission to write rules that would establish a "fiduciary duty" for brokers who provide investment advice. While most people were focused on the broader aspects of regulatory reform, this was the one element most likely to hit home for financial consumers... MarketWatch: Missed a few spots: 'Sweeping' financial reforms don't clean house


Breakfast Briefing: Debt Ceiling, Dubai, Mortgage Modifications, Citi, Bernanke


Benelli: SEC chickens out on annuity rule

Last week, in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) agreed to a two-year delay in the implementation of it’s controversial Rule 151A which would have required so-called “indexed” annuities to be regulated in the same manner as securities... Under the SEC “capitulation” to the insurance industry rule 151A will be shelved until January of 2013, giving that industry another 3 years to push an unregulated product that has sometimes been called the AK-47 of senior abuse — the indexed annuity... Times-Herald: Benelli: SEC chickens out on annuity rule


Sun Life unit racks up $1B in variable annuity sales

The U.S. division of Sun Life Financial Inc., which is based in Wellesley, Mass., said third-quarter variable annuity sales totaled $1.08 billion, a 30.4 percent increase from the previous three months... Sun Life’s U.S. division said it captured 3.5 percent market share in the quarter as other insurers scale back their variable annuity operations... BizJournals: Sun Life unit racks up $1B in variable annuity sales

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Evening Education: Credit Cards Chargeoffs, Trustcash, TARP, Euro

Credit Card Charge-Offs Increase - calculatedriskblog
Trustcash Completes Testing of Money Transfer Technology - money.cnn
Tables Turn on the Euro - online.wsj

Lewie Ranieri wants to fix the mortgage mess - Dec. 9, 2009 - money.cnn
Determine What To Charge as a Consultant - businessweek
Ratigan Dissects TARP Repayments - zerohedge

For Second Time In A Row, One Month Bill Auction Closes At 0.000% - zerohedge
Fannie Freddie May Need Another $400 Billion Taxpayer Assistance - globaleconomicanalysis
Holiday Cheer From The Obama Administration: The 12 Months Of Default - zerohedge

What's in a financial advisory firm's name? - investmentnews
Citi, Goldman and Morgan chiefs no-shows at White House meet - investmentnews
Is Barney About To Spoil The Banker Party (Retail Banks Discount Window Access)? - zerohedge

Roth IRAs: To convert, or not to convert? New tech helps answer the question - investmentnews
Wholesale prices rise more than expected in November - Dec. 15, 2009 - money.cnn
The Secret Language of Money - tipd

Futures Fall; Fed Meeting Eyed - online.wsj
Macmillan to Sell Enhanced E-Books - online.wsj
Adviser groups blow tops over House bill's 'hat-switching' clause - investmentnews

How Cons Steal Your ATM Card - consumerist
Why This Speculative Investment Could Ruin Your Savings - fool
The Fed will hike rates -- in 2011 - money.cnn


Breakfast Briefing: Wells Fargo to repay $25 billion government bailout


Annuity Process Needs Streamlining

Automation and standardization will be the keys to success for advisors and broker-dealers who handle annuities for retirees in the near future, say experts from The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), based in New York City.

A surprising amount of work is still done by paper and it may take a push from outside the industry to change that, says Adam Bryan, DTCC managing director of insurance and retirement services. That push could be forthcoming in the state and federal regulation changes that are to be considered in the coming months. DTCC provides money settlement and information services for the financial industry...

FA Mag: Annuity Process Needs Streamlining


Scammers scrape RAM for bank card data

Forget keyloggers and packet sniffers. In the wake of industry rules requiring credit card data to be encrypted, malware that siphons clear-text information from computer memory is all the rage among scammers, security researchers say.

So-called RAM scrapers scour the random access memory of POS, or point-of-sale, terminals, where PINs and other credit card data must be stored in the clear so it can be processed. When valuable information passes through, it is uploaded to servers controlled by credit card thieves.

While RAM scrapers have been around for a few years, they are a "fairly new" threat, according to a report released Wednesday that outlines the 15 most common attacks encountered by security experts at Verizon Business. They come in the wake of Payment Card Industry rules that require credit card data to be encrypted as it passes from merchants to he processing houses.

SecurityFocus: Scammers scrape RAM for bank card data

Monday, December 14, 2009


Swindler pleads guilty, faces up to 45 years

Looking pale after nearly 10 months in federal detention, a Rockland-based financial adviser accused of stealing at least $133 million from more than 400 investors pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges.

James Nicholson, 43, a Haverstraw native who lived a jet-set life from a multimillion-dollar mansion in Saddle River, N.J., faces a maximum of 45 years in prison when sentenced April 30 by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Sullivan.

As part of his plea agreement, Nicholson also faces at least $6 million in fines and possibly paying restitution to his investors. He will forfeit all his properties and his share in a jet airplane — financial investments topping $37 million...

LoHud: Swindler pleads guilty, faces up to 45 years


U.S. watchdog asks why Lincoln got rescue funds

The government's Troubled Asset Relief Program watchdog wants to know: Why did the U.S. Treasury assign Radnor-based Lincoln National Corp. nearly $1 billion in TARP rescue money, when Lincoln's business has "little to do with lending to consumers and businesses"? Philly: U.S. watchdog asks why Lincoln got rescue funds


Breakfast Briefing: Citigroup strikes deal to repay TARP


Plan to place B-D advisers under Finra scrapped

Hours before passing the most significant financial-reform package in nearly 80 years, the House Friday killed an amendment that would have given the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. the authority to regulate investment advisers at broker-dealers... The massive bill, which was passed by a vote of 223-202, would create a financial services oversight council to monitor the financial markets and potential threats to the nation's economic system... Investment News: Plan to place B-D advisers under Finra scrapped


Why Japanese Bonds Yielding 1.3% Offer Highest Return

Nowhere are yields as low as in Japan’s debt market and nowhere are returns higher as Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s government fails to stop deflation... The combination of the fastest drop in consumer prices in five decades and the yen trading at about a 14-year high has turned Japanese government bonds into the past month’s best performers among the 26 markets tracked by Bloomberg and the European Federation of Financial Analysts Societies. The debt returned 3.6 percent in dollar terms and 5.6 percent in euros. So-called JGBs rose 0.83 percent this year in local currency... Bloomberg:

Friday, December 11, 2009


Lunch Linkage: House scraps amendment to place B-D advisers under Finra


Brunch Briefing: Remember How We Bailed Out The Banks So They Could Keep Lending?


Shhh: AIG back on top in fixed annuities

American International Group has anonymously climbed back to the top spot in fixed annuity sales, a private U.S. research firm said... Research firm Kehrer-Limra said Western National Life, an AIG subsidiary, was the top seller of fixed annuities in the third quarter, while the previous leader, New York Life, dropped to third and Transamerica fell to fourth place.

But many customers are no longer aware the annuities they buy are backed by bailed out insurer AIG where sales slid until Western National and another subsidiary, First SunAmerica, dropped references to AIG on their contracts, The New York Times reported Thursday...



For Now, SEC Shifts Gaze From Indexed Annuities

When a federal push to curb investor risk put certain annuities under the eye of financial industry regulators, the move drew complaints from insurers who insisted their products worked different than traditional securities and independently of the stock market.

On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission took the insurers’ protest to heart and issued a two-year stay on a rule that would have brought indexed annuities under the jurisdiction of the SEC and the eyes of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority...

SmartMoney: For Now, SEC Shifts Gaze From Indexed Annuities


Insurers' Bank Deals Under Fire

A special inspector general faults the U.S. Treasury for allowing life insurers to buy tiny savings and loans to qualify for bailout funds, saying doing so violated "the spirit" of the Troubled Asset Relief Program aimed at boosting lending by banks... The report, released Thursday, concludes that Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and Lincoln National Corp. used very little of the $4.35 billion they collectively received in TARP money for any activity tied to the little banks they acquired... WSJ: Insurers' Bank Deals Under Fire


Presidential Life Alleges Possible Self-Dealing By Chairman

A battle over the control of a Nyack, N.Y., life insurance company has evolved into accusations of improprieties by the company's chairman and chief financial officer, both of whom were removed from their roles as the company and the New York Insurance Department launch investigations... WSJ: Presidential Life Alleges Possible Self-Dealing By Chairman

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Late Lunch Linkage: Venture capitalists sounding hopes of IPO rebound


Breakfast Briefing: Translating Nest Eggs Into Retirement Income


Canadians not confident that they have enough life insurance: survey

A third of Canadians feel that they do not have enough life insurance for their family’s needs, a recent RBC Insurance survey reveals... Of more than 1,000 Canadians polled by Ipsos Reid in early November, only 68% said they feel like they have enough life insurance for their family’s needs... The survey found that adults with children are particularly concerned about the effects of a death or disability. Of parents surveyed, 76% said they worry about what would happen to their family if their income dropped because of death or illness... Investment Executive: Canadians not confident that they have enough life insurance: survey


New York Life Broadens Its Fund Distribution

New York Life Investments is expanding its lineup of stand-alone, stable-value offerings by adding products and increasing distribution to include third-party channels... The unit of New York Life Insurance Co. announced Monday that it would make its two stable-value products—the Guaranteed Interest Account, which was introduced in July and has accumulated $400 million of assets, and the New York Life Insurance Company Anchor Account, which was started in 1995—available to third-party advisers and financial planners... INN: New York Life Broadens Its Fund Distribution

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


SEC targets rating agencies' role in meltdown

The Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement chief says his staff is targeting Wall Street rating agencies and their role in the financial meltdown... The three dominant agencies -- Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings -- have been widely criticized for failing to give investors adequate warning of the risks in subprime mortgage securities, whose collapse touched off the financial crisis... Yahoo! Finance: SEC targets rating agencies' role in meltdown


Evening Education: MS says Fed to Raise Rates in 2nd Half of 2010


Lowered Expectations: The New Retirement Reality

As investors emerge from a “lost decade” financially, the AARP says investors need to work with a financial advisor as part of a program to get back on track to get individuals back on track... Financial Planning: Lowered Expectations: The New Retirement Reality


Breakfast Briefing: American Funds top choice for marketing materials


Financial planners tell House: Don't put us under Finra

More than 1,000 financial planners contacted members of the House to oppose a provision in financial-reform legislation that could put many advisory firms under the jurisdiction of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc... Investment News: Financial planners tell House: Don't put us under Finra


Recession Increases Demand For Retirement Advice

Investors are changing their lifestyle and some are delaying retirement as a result of the financial crisis, according to study released Tuesday by the Financial Planning Association... The annual survey of financial advisors’ perceptions of the retirement income distribution market, which was conducted by Diversified Services Group, polled financial planners with clients who are in or near retirement and found that 40% of clients had to change their lifestyles this year, most likely as a result of the economic downturn... Bank Investment Consultant: Recession Increases Demand For Retirement Advice


Playing the New 'Roth' Angle

Thanks to a new rule, high-income investors have a chance to save a bundle on taxes in retirement. And financial advisers are scrambling to help them do it... Starting Jan. 1, all investors will be allowed to transfer retirement assets from traditional individual retirement accounts to Roth IRAs—which means paying taxes now but then enjoying tax-free investment gains and withdrawals. Currently, only people with modified adjusted gross income under $100,000 can make the switch... WSJ: Playing the New 'Roth' Angle

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Lunch Linkage: Government 'Out of Bullets,' Consumers in Trouble


Breakfast Briefing: No Escape From TARP for Banks Choking on RE Loans


Accounting Change to Boost Insurers' Books by $11 Billion

State insurance regulators approved an accounting change tied to income taxes expected to add more than $11 billion in capital to life insurers' balance sheets at year-end... The change represents one of the biggest single capital-relief items sought by the life-insurance industry in a package of overhauls presented by a major trade group late last year... WSJ: Accounting Change to Boost Insurers' Books by $11 Billion


MetLife Expects to Report First Net Income in Year

MetLife Inc., the biggest U.S. life insurer, expects to report its first profit in a year in the fourth quarter as investments in private equity, hedge funds and other holdings recover... Net income in the period will probably fall to $340 million to $485 million from $954 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, the New York-based company said today. MetLife, which used hedges to post profits last year as markets declined, accumulated $2.57 billion in net losses in the first nine months of 2009 as stock and bond indexes recovered... Bloomberg: MetLife Expects to Report First Net Income in Year


Commercial MBS Delinquencies Rise in Third Quarter

While residential foreclosures get most of the publicity, delinquency rates for mortgages in the commercial sector are also rising according to data released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA)... MBA's Commercial/Multifamily Delinquency Report tracks commercial delinquencies among five investor groups, each of which reports its delinquencies in its own way. Therefore, rates are not comparable from group to group... Mortgage News Daily: Commercial MBS Delinquencies Rise in Third Quarter

Monday, December 07, 2009


Fidelity variable annuity charges a high cost for a guaranteed income

Fidelity Investments has joined the rush to "living benefits." Partnering with Metropolitan Life, it now offers a variable annuity that guarantees 4 to 6 percent distributions from your original investment each year for life — regardless of what happens to the stock and bond markets... Unfortunately, living benefits aren't as good as they seem. The basic problem is simple... Statesman: Fidelity variable annuity charges a high cost for a guaranteed income


Lunch Linkage: MetLife outlook better than average expectations

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