Monday, June 07, 2010


Joan Aragone: Be careful of direct mailings

It's nice to be popular. Or is it?

I recently received at my home an innocuous-looking postcard mailing — one of those tear-off-and-mail-the-attached-card formats — announcing itself as an update on California long-term care.

Printed in black and white with a prepaid postage return, it looked official, as though the state were sending me information I needed to know.

An anonymous message — no name or government agency was identified — said that new legislation would limit my access to government-paid long-term care. Thus, I needed to provide long-term care insurance for myself. For more information, all I had to do was provide my signature and phone number and birth dates for myself and my spouse...

Mercury News: Joan Aragone: Be careful of direct mailings

Friday, June 04, 2010


A look at how people pay for retirement

Retirement planning isn't about "the number," but the numbers -- your assets, liabilities, expenses, and income. The more you know about those numbers, the more likely your retirement plan will become a reality instead of a pipe dream.

And a new report will help you get a better handle on at least one of those numbers: income. The average retiree depends on four sources of income in retirement, according to the latest study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute...

MarketWatch: A look at how people pay for retirement


I-Team: Annuity Lawsuit Update (Video)

A judge has dismissed some claims against a Cranston lawyer involved in a controversial annuities program...

Turn to 10: I-Team: Annuity Lawsuit Update (Video)


New York Eyes Annuity Withdrawal Disclosures

The New York State Insurance Department is drafting advice that would encourage annuity sellers to warn consumers about the dangers of taking early excess withdrawals.

Insurers that are selling annuities with guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit features should provide disclosure “in the sales presentation before the contract is issued and again at the time an excess withdrawal is requested,” Michael Maffei, chief of the New York department’s Life Bureau, writes in a draft circular letter posted on the department’s website...

National Underwriter: New York Eyes Annuity Withdrawal Disclosures

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Franklin investor William Spencer pleads guilty in Ponzi scheme

The former Franklin investment advisor accused of mail and wire fraud in connection with an alleged $1.5 million “Ponzi” scheme is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in federal court.

William W. Spencer, 68, entered his guilty plea May 28 before Judge William Haynes, according to court documents. The U.S. Attorney’s office for Middle Tennessee initially charged Spencer in April with six counts of mail fraud and five counts of wire fraud, alleging that from 1997 to 2009 he borrowed or solicited nearly $1.9 million from about 100 friends, clients and investors...

Nashville BizJournals: Franklin investor William Spencer pleads guilty in Ponzi scheme


Judge Lets Claims Stand in Annuity Case

A federal judge in Rhode Island let stand some civil legal claims by two insurance companies against an estate-planning attorney and others who used newspaper ads to recruit dozens of terminally ill people for purchases of variable annuities.

The judge, in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I., in a Wednesday ruling let stand fraud, conspiracy and other claims against the estate-planning attorney, Joseph Caramadre, and others involved in the alleged scheme. But he dismissed other claims, ruling the insurers couldn't void the annuity contracts...

WSJ: Judge Lets Claims Stand in Annuity Case


Live long and prosper with annuities

With the right genes, longevity insurance a plus

Among the many risks retirees face is living too long and outliving their money.

Of course, the first part is a risk many would welcome. It beats the alternative.

Fortunately, there is a solution in longevity insurance, better known as annuities or life annuities. These are contractual arrangements between an "annuitant" -- yourself -- and a life insurance company. In exchange for a chunk of capital paid to the insurer, a life annuity guarantees you payments for life -- even if you live to be 120 or more...

Montreal Gazette: Live long and prosper with annuities

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


We Need A Fiduciary Standard For All

Brokers and registered investment advisors don't treat their clients the same way. Investors should end "buyer beware."

All advisors should be held to the same code of conduct. Most investors assume that they can trust their financial advisors to act in their best interest. What they don't know is that some advisors are legally required to act for them while others are not. The financial reform act is giving us the first chance since 1940 to plug this loophole and make all advisors act according to the fiduciary standard...



DOL should not regulate generally accepted investment theories, employer groups say

Employer groups, responding to the Labor Department's proposed investment advice regulations on May 5, 2010, said that the DOL should not attempt to regulate what constitutes "generally accepted investment theories."

In the proposed investment advice rules, which were issued in March 2010, the DOL made a request for public comment on the conditions applicable to investment advice arrangements that use computer models. Specifically, the DOL sought comments on whether final regulations should: require (or proscribe) the use of specified investment theories and practices; specify minimum standards (e.g., minimum number of years of experience) for historical data that is taken into account in determining a model's expectation for the future performance of asset classes and specific investment alternatives; or expressly designate the criteria that are appropriate and objective bases for asset allocation...

CCH: DOL should not regulate generally accepted investment theories, employer groups say


Advisors Expanding Retirement Income Offerings, Survey Finds

Polarized attitudes toward annuities remain; more focus on risk

A new survey further confirms the growth opportunity for advisors from focusing on retirement income products and strategies. However, the report also notes heightened concern among brokers and RIAs with managing investment risk for investors.

The Continued Evolution of Retirement Income Delivery: An Analysis of Leading Practices in Advisor Support was released Tuesday, June 1, from consulting and research firms GDC Research and Practical Perspectives. It finds that 63% of advisors have experienced net growth in the past year in serving retirement income clients. Advisors are also finding baby boomer clients receptive to consolidating relationships. Moreover,while 91% of advisors believe they have the abilities to effectively serve new retirees, practitioners across channels are increasingly wary of how to manage investment risk for retirement income clients...

Investment Advisor: Advisors Expanding Retirement Income Offerings, Survey Finds


Living And Death Benefit Riders: How Do They Work

The annuity contracts that were first offered by insurance carriers over a century ago were relatively simple instruments. They were designed to insure the risk of superannuation, or outliving one's income, and provided a guaranteed income stream to annuitants in return for either a lump-sum or periodic investment. But annuity contracts have become increasingly complex over the years...

SF Gate: Living And Death Benefit Riders: How Do They Work

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Answers on Credit Ratings Are Long Overdue

Raise your hand if you can explain why anyone still believes in credit ratings.

One of the enduring questions of the financial crisis is how the credit ratings establishment got so much so wrong for so very long. How could century-old institutions like the Moody’s Investors Service give their triple-A blessings to subprime junk?

It is time — in fact, past time — for Washington to get some answers. Because despite talk of a shake-up, the companies that dominate the ratings business hope to avoid the radical overhaul their critics are calling for...

Yahoo! Finance: Answers on Credit Ratings Are Long Overdue


Northwestern Mutual's next CEO gets it

Schlifske's mandate: Keep doing the right thing, don't mess with success

With the company he's poised to run already financially sound and top-rated in its industry, John E. Schlifske knows there's no need to come in and shake things up.

"I view my emergence as the new CEO as just another chapter in the same book," said Schlifske, who officially was elected last week to succeed Edward J. Zore as chief executive of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. on July 1...

JS Online: Northwestern Mutual's next CEO gets it


Pension funds bet on death through life settlements

Allegheny and Westmoreland counties are trying to reduce their pension funds' exposure to the volatile stock market through a relatively new type of investment based on life insurance policies.

The two governments' modest investments in life settlements -- buying and selling the rights to the death benefits paid by life insurance policies covering wealthy individuals -- is not common in the pension fund world, where real estate, hedge funds, private equity and other alternative investments have been mainstays for years...

Post-Gazette: Pension funds bet on death through life settlements


Planners claim small victory in financial-reform legislation

GAO planning study would bring recognition on Hill, they say

A small provision buried in both the House and Senate versions of financial-reform legislation is being hailed by some as a modest but important step for the financial planning industry.

That provision calls for the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to conduct a study on the oversight of financial planning. Although many planning advocates are pushing for regulation of their profession, the call for a study — and recognition on Capitol Hill that would go with it — is viewed by many as a step in the right direction...

Investment News: Planners claim small victory in financial-reform legislation

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