Investors Heritage MYGA Rates are Dropping January 26th

Investors Heritage MYGA Rates are Dropping January 26th

Investors Heritage MYGA Rates are Dropping January 26th





Investors Heritage Life Insurance Company – HERITAGE BUILDER ANNUITY

On January 26th the Heritage Builder 3, 5 and 7-year annuity rates will be reduced as follows:

3 Year 2.90%
5 Year 3.50%
7 Year 3.60%

The current rate will be honored on all applications dated on or before January 25th and received, in good order, in the home office by February 8th.

Current Interest Rates: IHLIC Heritage Builder Rates 12-1-18

Bankers Life Insurance Company

Bankers Life will suspend all new sales of BLIC products effective October 1, 2018

Bankers Life will suspend all new sales of BLIC products effective October 1, 2018

Bankers Life Insurance Company




Important Field Announcement

Click here for the original Field Announcement

Originally received via email on Thu 9/27/2018 10:46 PM

Dear Valued Agents,

As you know, just over 18 months ago Bankers Life Insurance Company became part of Global Bankers Insurance Group (Global Bankers), an international family of insurance and reinsurance companies focused on life insurance and annuities. We discussed this relationship and its potential to grow our organization as well as to create strategic and operational efficiencies to bring BLIC to the next level in terms of superior technology, improved product offerings and premier customer service.

Bankers Life Insurance is one of many insurance entities under Global Bankers, which manages a diverse portfolio of insurance companies in the U.S. and abroad. In order to take advantage of higher ratings, a diverse product portfolio and more efficient processes, we will be consolidating all future annuity sales into Global Bankers’ flagship company, Colorado Bankers Life Insurance Company (CBLife). CBLife has invested a tremendous amount of time and resources in perfecting a state-of-the-art digital platform featuring enhancements such as policy eDelivery and eApplications. We feel trying to replicate this effort across multiple companies is not prudent.

Therefore, at this time we will suspend all new sales of BLIC products effective October 1, 2018. As in the past with similar situations, we will honor all annuity applications in the pipeline. However, BLIC will accept no new business annuity applications after October 1st.

Please note: There will be no interruption in service to your clients and/or contract owners. The customer service quality they are accustomed to receiving will continue uninterrupted.

For more than 40 years Bankers Life Insurance Company has provided quality deferred and immediate annuity products, services and support to our policyholders across America. You have been an integral part of our history. On behalf of every member of the BLIC team, I wish to thank you for your loyalty and all that you have done to make what Bankers Life Insurance Company is today.

John Muscolino

Introducing Retirement Plus MultiplierSM Annuity with the First Thematic Based Index available in a fixed indexed annuity!

A-CAP and Saybrus Partners Launch New Thematic Indexed Annuity Based on the Goldman Sachs Motif Aging of America Dynamic Balance Index

A-CAP and Saybrus Partners Launch New Thematic Indexed Annuity Based on the Goldman Sachs Motif Aging of America Dynamic Balance Index


September 7, 2018 by A-CAP and Saybrus Partners

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A-CAP and Saybrus Partners today announced the launch of Retirement Plus Multiplier Annuity, a single premium fixed indexed annuity. The annuity is the latest addition to a wide breadth of products issued by two of A-CAP’s insurance subsidiaries, Sentinel Security Life Insurance Company and Atlantic Coast Life Insurance Company. The product is available through Saybrus Partners and a select group of independent distributors. Annuity holders will have exclusive access to the Goldman Sachs Motif Aging of America Dynamic Balance Index (“Thematic Index”).

The Retirement Plus Multiplier Annuity features four crediting strategies, a fixed interest account, principal protection from loss, and a choice of accumulation or income enhancing benefits to create a customized solution for retirees’ individual goals. The uniqueness of the Retirement Plus Multiplier Annuity, which is the first of its kind, is its exclusive access to the Thematic Index. The Thematic Index provides exposure to equities and fixed income, with targeted exposure to companies in the healthcare and real estate sectors that may benefit from the growth in the older population in the United States.

The Thematic Index coupled with the A-CAP insurance platform and the Retirement Plus Multiplier Annuity will allow seniors to grow their retirement returns based on a unique formula tailored to the needs of the aging senior market.

“Client financial needs in retirement are a delicate balance of opportunity and risk,” said Doug George, Head of Life and Annuity for A-CAP. “Our team has been working hard to bring to market a compelling planning vehicle that offers clients a way to reap the rewards of long-term growth trends while achieving a level of security and reliability for their hard-earned savings. Retirement Plus Multiplier Annuity delivers on those objectives in a package that can be customized based on the client’s personal goals and priorities. This launch marks a pivotal moment for the retirement industry.”

Additionally, annuity holders will have the unique flexibility to tailor their contract by choosing from a Growth Benefit or Income Multiplier Benefit. The Growth Benefit provides enhanced crediting rates on the annuity’s indexed accounts, improving the contract’s ability to participate in positive market performance. The Income Multiplier Benefit provides a Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) that offers an income enhancing bonus of up to 60+ percent of the contract’s accumulation value depending on when the client will need income.

“Baby Boomers are reshaping the face of retirement in many ways,” said Andrew Sheen, Managing Director, Product Development for Saybrus Partners. “The impressive size and lifestyle focus of this group is driving expansion and demand for new offerings in sectors like healthcare and real estate. With the unique index crediting strategies offered within Retirement Plus Multiplier Annuity, contract holders can participate in the potential growth of the companies that serve their own demographic.”

To learn more about Retirement Plus Multiplier Annuity and the Goldman Sachs Motif Aging of America Dynamic Balance Index crediting strategy, agents and financial advisors can visit and, or contact Saybrus Partners at 888-794-4447.


A-CAP is a holding company owning multiple insurance and financial businesses on its unique and synergistic platform. These businesses include primary insurance carriers, an SEC registered investment adviser, an administrative services provider, reinsurance vehicles, and marketing organizations. With broad knowledge across the insurance and investment sectors, A-CAP’s management team has diverse experience and provides comprehensive services to policyholders, insurance company clients and capital partners. Launched in 2013, A-CAP is a privately held company with offices located in New York, Charleston, Chicago, Salt Lake City and Omaha. For more information, visit

Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of Sentinel Security Life and Atlantic Coast Life.


Saybrus Partners represents the life and annuity portfolios of select carriers in key channels including independent marketing organizations, insurance agents, broker dealers and financial institutions. Saybrus Partners offers solutions-based sales support and strategies for income planning and other retirement needs, as well as simplified issue life insurance.

It is a subsidiary of Nassau Re. For more information, visit and

Saybrus does not provide tax or legal advice. In California dba Saybrus Partners Insurance Agency, CA license #0G81229.


This fixed indexed annuity is not sponsored, endorsed, sold, guaranteed, underwritten, distributed or promoted by Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC or any of its affiliates with the exception of any endorsement, sales, distribution or promotion of this product that may occur through its affiliates that are licensed insurance agencies (excluding such affiliates, individually and collectively, “Goldman Sachs”). Goldman Sachs makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, regarding the suitability of annuities for your financial situation generally, or fixed indexed annuities or the investment strategy underlying this fixed indexed annuity particularly, the ability of the Goldman Sachs Motif Aging of America Dynamic Balance Index to perform as intended, the merit (if any) of obtaining exposure to the Goldman Sachs Motif Aging of America Dynamic Balance Index or the suitability of purchasing or holding interests in this fixed indexed annuity. Goldman Sachs does not have any obligation to take the needs of the holders of this fixed indexed annuity into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Goldman Sachs Motif Aging of America Dynamic Balance Index. GOLDMAN SACHS DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE ACCURACY AND/OR COMPLETENESS OF THE GOLDMAN SACHS MOTIF AGING OF AMERICA DYNAMIC BALANCE INDEX OR OF THE METHODOLOGY UNDERLYING THE INDEX, THE CALCULATION OF THE INDEX OR ANY DATA SUPPLIED BY IT FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH THIS FIXED INDEXED ANNUITY. GOLDMAN SACHS EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL LIABILITY FOR ANY SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGE EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

The Goldman Sachs Motif Aging of America Dynamic Balance Index (the “Index”) is a Goldman Sachs owned index. “Motif” is a registered trademark of Motif Investing, Inc. (“Motif Investing”) and has been licensed for use by Motif Capital Management Inc. (“Motif Capital”) and sublicensed for certain purposes by Goldman Sachs. The Index and the FIA is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Motif Investing, Motif Capital or their respective affiliates or make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in the Index or the FIA. Motif Capital’s only relationship to Goldman Sachs with respect to the Index is the licensing of the Motif trademark.



Kristen King, 914-393-5472

Originally Posted at Business Wire on September 6, 2018 by A-CAP and Saybrus Partners.

The Life and Annuity Shop – Labor Day Weekend Holiday Hours

The Life and Annuity Shop – Labor Day Weekend Holiday Hours

The Life and Annuity Shop – Labor Day Weekend Holiday Hours







The Life and Annuity Shop Office will close at 1:00pm EST this Friday, August 31st and remain closed on Monday, September 3rd in observance of Labor Day.

We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, September 4th. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

It's official: DOL fiduciary rule is dead

It’s official: DOL fiduciary rule is dead

It's official: DOL fiduciary rule is dead





The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a mandate Thursday making its March 15 decision to strike down the regulation effective

By Mark Schoeff – InvestmentNews – June 21, 2018

After a long delay, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed Thursday a March decision to strike down the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule.

The court issued a mandate making effective the March 15 split decision that vacated the DOL regulation. The court majority held that the agency exceeded its authority in promulgating the rule, which would have required brokers to act in the best interests of their clients in retirement accounts.

In the mandate, the court also said the Labor Department has to pay the financial industry plaintiffs the costs related to the appeal.

“It is ordered and adjudged that the judgment of the District Court is reversed, and vacate the fiduciary rule in toto,” the mandate states. “It is further ordered that appellees pay to appellants the costs on appeal to be taxed by the clerk of this court.”

The 5th Circuit overturned a decision by a Dallas federal court that had upheld the DOL rule, representing the first win by industry opponents in several lawsuits that were filed against the measure.

The mandate was supposed to have been filed May 7. It was delayed for several weeks, as AARP and three states tried to intervene in the case to defend the rule after the Department of Justice, acting on behalf of the DOL, declined to appeal the March 15 decision.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is now firmly in the lead on the effort to reform investment advice standards. The agency’s proposal, which would subject brokers to a best interest standard, is open for public comment until Aug. 7.

Consumers Comfortable, Yet Terrified Of Risk

Consumers Comfortable, Yet Terrified Of Risk

Could an annuity help soothe those anxious consumers?
By Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet – June 12, 2018

Americans seem more comfortable with market volatility, but recoil at the thought of a downturn that could devastate their retirement savings, a new survey has found.

Can these contradictory strands really exist at the same time?

“Yes, people can be both,” said Paul Kelash, vice president of Consumers Insights for Allianz, which published the 2018 Market Perceptions Study.

“It is 100 percent true, especially for baby boomers that are close to or entering retirement,” said Scott Bishop, executive vice president, financial planning, at STA Wealth Management in Houston.

Survey Findings
The Allianz study also found that:
• 35 percent of Americans said they are comfortable with market conditions and ready to invest – up from 26 percent in 2015.
• 37 percent admit that recent volatility is making them anxious about their nest egg, (New question in this year’s survey.)
• 57 percent are willing to give up potential gains for a product that protects a portion of their retirement savings – up from 48 percent in 2015.
• 67 percent said they would feel better about their retirement savings if they knew some of it was protected from market loss.

“Volatility matters, and while we see some increasing comfort with volatility, it is driving a simmering anxiety in many Americans,” Kelash said.

The nervousness is reflected in the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, a measure of market volatility, which is higher this year than last.

In February, VIX spiked 115 percent in one day due a market selloff, though the index has since returned to levels closer to long-term norms.

Market watchers say it’s not unusual for anxiety to peak in anticipation of a market drop following a period of long economic expansion – yet the expansion keeps on rolling with few immediate signs of slowing down.

Financial planner Steve Branton with Mosaic Financial Partners in San Francisco even has an expression for it.

He likens the contradictions to a “barbell” syndrome.

That’s where the client, looking to capture gains before the window closes and the market falls, has too much exposure to individual stocks, but also keeps a cash hoard as a hedge against collapse.

“The person is in the middle and on either side are uneven elements,” he said.

Bishop uses the popular fear-and-greed analogy.

Greed makes investors not want to miss out on a “hot” market and overstay their market welcome, but fear makes them not want to lose out in a “cold” market so they sell too low or at the wrong time.

Anxiety just below the surface is very real and the preference for a balanced financial product was even more pronounced for wealthier Americans, the Allianz survey found.
• 78 percent of respondents with $200,000 or more in investable assets said it is important have some of their savings in a product that protects from market loss.
• 68 percent said they are willing to give up some potential gains for a product that protects a portion of their retirement savings.

The divide may explain the recent success of a new product category known as buffered or index-linked annuities.

These annuities are built to offer some protection from downturns in exchange for limits on the gains.

“As market volatility becomes a more constant part of our financial landscape, Americans are recognizing the value of options that provide both opportunity and a level of protection,” Kelash said.

Some index-linked annuities come with a buffered structure where the insurer takes on a percent of market loss before the client assumes the rest.

Others work in the opposite way where investors hold the risk up to a threshold before the insurance company assumes the loss beyond the threshold.

Sales of index-linked VAs rose 25 percent last year to $9.2 billion compared with 2016.

SEC fiduciary rule ... is not a fiduciary rule

SEC fiduciary rule … is not a fiduciary rule

SEC fiduciary rule … is not a fiduciary rule

By Kenneth Corbin – FinancialPlanning – April 20, 2018

SEC fiduciary rule ... is not a fiduciary rule

For years, the common shorthand in describing any SEC move to set new regulations for brokers was a “uniform fiduciary standard” that would “harmonize” the rules for broker-dealers and investment advisors.

Nearly a decade after the debate began in earnest, the SEC on Wednesday issued a set of proposed rules that would neither impose a fiduciary standard on brokers nor fully align the standards for all wealth managers serving retail clients.

Instead, the SEC is backing a standard that would require brokers to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own, giving it a name that some investor advocates say is fundamentally misleading.

“I think what we see here falls well short of where we need to be to really get to a best interest standard,” says Knut Rostad, president of the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard.

The SEC voted to begin consideration on what it’s calling Regulation Best Interest, which would require brokers to make disclosures about conflicts of interest, take on a client-care obligation and set policies and procedures to keep conflicts of interest in check.

The commission is accepting comments on the proposal for 90 days.

It’s in the final component of the best interest proposal concerning conflict policies and mitigation that some consumer advocates see the greatest shortfall. Though the rule would require brokers to “disclose and mitigate” conflicts, if not eliminate them altogether, it still sounds only like a slightly more muscular version of the current suitability standard that governs brokers, according to Andrew Stoltmann, an attorney and president of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association.

“Right now, this standard shades far left towards the suitability standard, and is light years away from the fiduciary standard,” Stoltmann says in an interview, adding the current proposal is “somewhat disappointing.”

RIAs are still bound by their longstanding fiduciary obligation, though Stoltmann worries that that standard could get watered down in light of the interpretive guidance for advisors that the SEC is considering as part of the proposals put forward yesterday.

 “I think it’s clear that an RIA can’t recommend a proprietary product,” Stoltmann says. “The question I have is whether the SEC when it’s proposing parameters will say it’s okay for a fiduciary to do certain activities ― like recommending proprietary funds ― so long as the conflicts are disclosed.”

Others are more sympathetic to the brokerage model and take issue with a characterization that equates commissions with pernicious conflicts. When most brokers evaluate whether a product or strategy is suitable for their client, they weigh much the same information as a fiduciary advisor, including the cost of the product and a client’s risk tolerance and investment objectives, among other factors, according to Brendan McGarry, a financial-services attorney with the firm Kaufman

Dolowich & Voluck.

“The considerations are largely the same,” McGarry says in an interview. “I would argue that if you really look at the analysis that goes into determining if something is suitable or in the best interest or what goes into the fiduciary responsibility, when you break it down they’re really not all that different.”

Rostad, who says that “the immutable law is conflicts of interest are inherently harmful,” probably wouldn’t buy that.

Though Rostad grants that the SEC’s proposal was a “step forward” for improving investor protections, the best interest standard leaves much to be desired, given that the ambiguity over the term “mitigate” leaves open room for continued conflicts of interest, he says.

“Unless the best interest standard is truly is very, very akin to the fiduciary standard, then it is potentially ― probably ― misleading,” Rostad says. “There’s no such thing as three-quarters of a best-interest standard. You’ve either made it or you haven’t. This is pass-fail.”

So if the new broker standard isn’t a fiduciary standard, and it’s not as stringent as the rules governing the advisor camp, the SEC could have gone the other way, and acknowledged that brokers and advisors operate on separate tracks.

“If we’re not going to make material changes, let’s call it what it is ― and it is a broker standard,” Rostad says. “Never mind harmonization. Let’s go back to demarcation, and that is to separate them.”

Thanks in large part to the Department of Labor’s fiduciary proposal, that term ― “fiduciary” ― has gained currency among investors. But even as the SEC’s proposal seeks to elevate standards of care, by conferring on brokers a best-interest label, it could chip away at what had been a point of distinction for RIAs, according to Stoltmann.

“Under Regulation Best Interest, were seeing those lines blurred and crossed,” he says. “Think about that ― the average retail stock broker can say, ‘Well, yeah, a fiduciary has to act in your best interest, but so do I. Here’s the SEC saying it.’ And unless the client is a securities attorney, they’re going to say that sounds about right to me. So it sows the seeds of confusion.”

SEC fiduciary rule ... is not a fiduciary rule

What’s Next for the DOL Fiduciary Rule?

What’s Next for the DOL Fiduciary Rule?

March 16, 2018 by John Hilton

The Department of Labor fiduciary rule does not exist anymore after a late-Thursday court ruling. That court decision opens the door for the Securities and Exchange Commission and state insurance departments to take over rulemaking.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2-1 decision stunned the industry and has many asking the same question this morning: What now?

Click HERE to read the full story via INN; subscription required.

Originally Posted at InsuranceNewsNet on March 16, 2018 by John Hilton.

SEC fiduciary rule ... is not a fiduciary rule

Gibson Dunn: No ‘Circuit Split’ on DOL Rule; Decision Applies Nationwide

Gibson Dunn: No ‘Circuit Split’ on DOL Rule; Decision Applies Nationwide

Gibson Dunn: No ‘Circuit Split’ on DOL Rule; Decision Applies Nationwide

Gibson Dunn: No ‘Circuit Split’ on DOL Rule; Decision Applies Nationwide

March 20, 2018 by Nick Thornton

Gibson Dunn, the law firm that successfully argued to vacate the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, says the 2-to-1 decision in favor of industry opponents of the rule applies “nationwide.”

Citing the Administrative Procedure Act, the law that governs federal agency rule making, and Black’s Law Dictionary, attorneys for the firm said the ruling has the effect of the removing the fiduciary rule from the books.

Click HERE to read the original story via ThinkAdvisor.

“Under the APA, ‘vacatur’ is a remedy by which courts ‘set aside agency action’ that is arbitrary and capricious or otherwise outside of the agency’s statutory authority,” wrote attorneys for Gibson Dunn, including Eugene Scalia, in a client update.

The consequence of the 5th Circuit’s decision is to delete the fiduciary rule. “Because the effect of vacatur is, in essence, to remove a regulation from the books, its effect is nationwide,” wrote Mr. Scalia and a team of Gibson Dunn attorneys.

Since the decision was released last week, some attorneys in press reports have speculated that the fiduciary rule is still in effect. Other reports have suggested the decision may only impact investment and insurance providers and distributions within states under the 5thCircuit’s jurisdiction.

But the impact of the decision is not as ambiguous as some reports claim, according to Gibson Dunn.

By May 7, when the 5th Circuit is scheduled to issue a final order under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the fiduciary rule will effectively be erased from the Federal Register, “without geographical limitation,” the attorneys say.

No circuit split

Gibson Dunn’s client update also sets out to clarify the existence of a so-called circuit split over the fiduciary rule.

Days before the 5th Circuit released its ruling, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a more narrow ruling upholding the fiduciary rule’s treatment of fixed indexed annuities.

But the 10th Circuit decision did not address the larger question of the Labor Department’s authority to write the fiduciary rule as it did.

“Because the 5th Circuit vacated the rule on grounds the 10th Circuit did not address, no ‘circuit conflict’ is presented by the two decisions,” say the Gibson Dunn team.

The question of whether a circuit conflict, or split, exists has ramifications on a potential Supreme Court review of the fiduciary rule case.

“We commented on the scope of the 10th Circuit decision to correct apparent misperceptions about it,” said Jason Mendro, a partner at Gibson Dunn, in an email. “We had seen commentary incorrectly suggesting that it conflicts with the 5th Circuit’s decision, so we wanted to clarify that it does not.”

The odds of a Supreme Court review of any case are “always very low,” said Mr. Mendro, who was part of the litigation team that appealed to the 5th Circuit. According to the Supreme Court’s website, up to 8,000 petitions for review are requested each term. The High Court typically grants full review in about 1 percent of cases.

“The absence of a circuit split further reduces the likelihood of such review,” added Mr. Mendro.

NAFA expected to drop its appeal in D.C. Circuit

Last November, oral arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals were delayed in a case brought by the National Association for Fixed Annuities.

NAFA was granted a delay of its hearing until after the 5th Circuit issued its decision. The original hearing in the D.C. Circuit had been scheduled for December 8, 2017.

Now that the 5th Circuit has vacated the fiduciary rule in its entirety, NAFA can be expected to drop its appeal, removing the potential for a split with the D.C. Circuit.

“When the (5th Circuit) court issues the mandate, vacatur will become effective, and the appellants (NAFA) in the D.C. Circuit case will have obtained the full measure of relief they sought in their appeal,” explained Mr. Mendro. “They should, therefore, dismiss their appeal.”

Originally Posted at ThinkAdvisor on March 19, 2018 by Nick Thornton.

SEC fiduciary rule ... is not a fiduciary rule

DOL Fiduciary Rule Struck Down by Appeals Court

DOL Fiduciary Rule Struck Down by Appeals Court

DOL Seeks 18-Month Delay of Fiduciary Rule

March 16, 2018 by Melanie Waddell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit voted 2-1 Thursday to vacate the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule.

The nine plaintiffs in the 5th Circuit case included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the Financial Services Institute.

The ruling comes one day after Labor won a case in federal court brought against its fiduciary rule by Market Synergy Group, an insurance distributor.
The appeals court struck down the entirety of the fiduciary rule.

Click HERE to read the original story via ThinkAdvisor.

Labor’s next move is to decide whether to ask the full appeals court to rehear the dispute, or take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit still has an active case. That court will not be bound by how the 5th Circuit ruled.

In a joint statement, FSI, SIFMA and Chamber said that “the court has ruled on the side of America’s retirement savers, preserving access to affordable financial advice. Our organizations have long supported the development of a best interest standard of care and the Securities and Exchange Commission should now take the lead on a clear, consistent, and workable standard that does not limit choice for investors.”

According to the 5th Circuit ruling, Labor’s “new definition dispenses with the ‘regular basis’ and ‘primary basis’ criteria used in the regulation for the past 40 years. Consequently, it encompasses virtually all financial and insurance professionals who do business with ERISA plans and IRA holders. Stockbrokers and insurance salespeople, for instance, are exposed to regulations including the prohibited transaction rules. The newcomers are thus barred, without an exemption, from being paid whatever transaction-based commissions and brokerage fees have been standard in their industry segments because those types of compensation are now deemed a conflict of interest.”

Judge Says Rule Has ‘Woke’ Financial Services
Judge Edith Jones, who wrote the decision for the majority, stated that “DOL has made no secret of its intent to transform the trillion-dollar market for IRA investments, annuities and insurance products, and to regulate in a new way the thousands of people and organizations working in that market.”

Large portions of the financial services and insurance industries, Jones wrote, “have been ‘woke’ by the Fiduciary Rule and BIC Exemption. DOL utilized two transformative devices: it reinterpreted the 40-year-old term ‘investment advice fiduciary’ and exploited an exemption provision into a comprehensive regulatory framework.”

The court wrote in the ruling that President Donald Trump has directed Labor “to re-examine the Fiduciary Rule and prepare an updated economic and legal analysis” of its provisions, noting that the effective date of some provisions has been extended to July 1, 2019.

“The case, however, is not moot,” the ruling states. The fiduciary rule, the court said, “has already spawned significant market consequences, including the withdrawal of several major companies, including MetLife, AIG and Merrill Lynch from some segments of the brokerage and retirement investor market. Companies like Edward Jones and State Farm have limited the investment products that can be sold to retirement investors.”

The ruling continued: “Confusion abounds — how, for instance, does a company wishing to comply with the BICE exemption document and prove that its salesman fostered the ‘best interests’ of the individual retirement investor client? The technological costs and difficulty of compliance compound the inherent complexity of the new regulations.”

Labor’s rule also “contradicts the text of the ‘investment advice fiduciary’ provision and contemporary understandings of its language,” the ruling states.

Dissenting Judge Says DOL Acting ‘Within Its Authority’
The judge voting in favor of Labor’s fiduciary rule, Chief Judge Carl Stewart, wrote in his dissent, that: “I conclude that the DOL acted well within the confines set by Congress in implementing the challenged regulatory package, and said package should be maintained so long as the agency’s interpretation is reasonable.”

“DOL has acted within its delegated authority to regulate financial service providers in the retirement investment industry — which it has done since ERISA was enacted — and has utilized its broad exemption authority to create conditional exemptions on new investment-advice fiduciaries,” Stewart wrote. “That the DOL has extended its regulatory reach to cover more investment-advice fiduciaries and to impose additional conditions on conflicted transactions neither requires nor lends to the panel majority’s conclusion that it has acted contrary to Congress’ directive.”

Micah Hauptman, financial services counsel for the Consumer Federation of America, told ThinkAdvisor that the “case was wrongly decided. The industry opponents went forum shopping and finally found a court that was willing to buy in to their bogus arguments. This is a sad day for retirement savers.”

The opinion, Hauptman added, “is extreme by any measure. It strikes at the essence of the DOL’s authority to protect retirement savers under ERISA. It’s not only an attack on the rule, it’s an attack on the agency.”

— Mike Scarcella contributed reporting.

Originally Posted at ThinkAdvisor on March 15, 2018 by Melanie Waddell.

A.M. Best Upgrades Credit Ratings of Atlantic Coast Life Ins. Co

A.M. Best Upgrades Credit Ratings of Guaranty Income Life Insurance Company

November 1, 2017 by Best’s News Service


A.M. Best has upgraded the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) to B++ (Good) from B+ (Good) and has upgraded the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) to “bbb+” from “bbb-” for Guaranty Income Life Insurance Company (Guaranty) (Baton Rouge, LA). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.

The rating upgrades reflect the strong operating improvements over the last several years, including premium growth in its key Annuicare product, improved risk-adjusted capitalization, significant distribution expansion and stable operating profile with favorable operating returns. The rating upgrades also acknowledge Guaranty’s new parent, Kuvare Holdings LP, and the explicit financial support it provides to Guaranty, along with Kuvare Holdings LP’s expertise and the potential for additional financial flexibility as Guaranty expands its business profile.

Offsetting rating factors include execution risk as Guaranty enters new annuity markets and the impact of new business strain on operating results. Additionally, Guaranty’s reserve book is heavily weighted in interest sensitive reserves with a concentrated product profile. In A.M. Best’s view, risk-adjusted capitalization is qualitatively diminished due to a high percentage of surplus notes and deferred tax assets. Finally, the investment portfolio, despite some improvement in diversification, has a high concentration of non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities that A.M Best deems as higher risk relative to traditional prime agency-backed securities.

Positive rating action could occur if Guaranty were to see a trend of profitable premium growth leading to an organic increase in risk-adjusted capital. Negative rating action could occur if the quality of Guaranty’s capital were to deteriorate or if operating performance underperforms and leads to excessive underwriting losses on core product lines. A negative rating action also could occur if there was a material decline in risk-adjusted capital.

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on A.M. Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see A.M. Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Understanding Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best press releases, please view Guide for Media – Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best Rating Action Press Releases.

A.M. Best is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source



Originally Posted at AM Best on November 1, 2017 by Best’s News Service.

A.M. Best Upgrades Credit Ratings of Atlantic Coast Life Ins. Co

A.M. Best Upgrades Credit Ratings of Atlantic Coast Life Ins. Co.; Affirms Credit Ratings of Sentinel Security Life Ins. Co.

October 31, 2017 by Best’s News Service

Introducing Our Newest Annuity - Safe Anchor Market Guarantee Sentinel Secuirity Life Logo


A.M. Best has upgraded the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) to B++ (Good) from B+ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) to “bbb” from “bbb-“ of Atlantic Coast Life Insurance Company (ACLI) (Charleston, SC). Additionally, A.M. Best has affirmed the FSR of B++ (Good) and the Long-Term ICR of “bbb” of Sentinel Security Life Insurance Company (Sentinel) (Salt Lake City, UT). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. Both companies are collectively referred to as A-CAP Group (A-CAP). A-CAP’s ultimate parent is Advantage Capital Holdings, LLC (ACH), which is domiciled in Delaware.

The rating upgrades of ACLI recognize the improved balance sheet and operating profile trends over the past several years, as well as the enhanced financial flexibility, operating synergies and management expertise derived as part of its affiliation with the A-CAP group. The rating affirmations of Sentinel reflect its continued balance sheet and earnings stability, and new premium growth in the annuity product segments under the new ownership of A-CAP. A-CAP markets final expense whole life, Medicare supplement, Medicare select and preneed insurance plans, along with fixed annuities, through well-established non-captive general and associate general agent distribution networks, as well as through a growing broker channel. The ratings recognize improved capitalization, significant distribution expansion and premium growth in core business lines, as well as additional capital support in the near term from ACH to support anticipated strong business growth.

These strengths are partially offset by heavy reliance on reinsurance, which is secured by collateral, to relieve statutory strain within A-CAP. Furthermore, A-CAP has purchased reinsurance from some unrated reinsurance entities that create a contingent reinsurance counterparty risk at A-CAP if there is a failure of the reinsurer that is not covered by collateral held. Additionally, although Sentinel has reduced its reliance on structured products, such as collateralized loan obligations, this type of investment may have liquidity pressure during stressed economic scenarios, and accordingly, remains a potential rating concern. The fixed income portfolio is primarily investment-grade securities and is performing well, with some exposure to below investment grade securities.

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on A.M. Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see A.M. Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Understanding Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best press releases, please view Guide for Media – Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and A.M. Best Rating Action Press Releases.

A.M. Best is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source.



Originally Posted at AM Best on October 3, 2017 by Best’s News Service.

Where to Turn When Bonds Aren’t the Investment They Used to Be

Where to Turn When Bonds Aren’t the Investment They Used to Be

Where to Turn When Bonds Aren’t the Investment They Used to Be

October 24, 2017 by Andrew M. Costa

Bonds have long been viewed as a great alternative for people who were in search of a good—and relatively conservative—investment.

They provided a nice way to balance the portfolio, so that a steep drop in the stock market—like we experienced in 2008—wouldn’t do quite as much damage to your overall financial picture as it would if you owned nothing but stock.

But times may be changing, and bond investors could be about to discover that every investment vehicle—bonds included—has a downside.

For a long time, we’ve been in a low interest rate environment; so low, in fact, that rates really couldn’t go any lower.

Now it appears that interest rates may be headed in the opposite direction, and as they rise, bonds can lose market value. Here’s why: When you buy a bond, you are essentially lending money to a company or a government entity for a fixed term at a fixed interest rate.

That sounds simple enough. But if your bond is paying a low interest rate—say 2%—and new bonds being issued are paying higher than that, then no one may want to buy your bond if you want or need to sell it before the maturity date. And so the price of that bond can fall.

That seemingly conservative investment maybe wasn’t a conservative as so many people thought.

So that’s the bad bond news. The question then becomes: What do you do about this? Where do you go to find a reasonably (though not completely) safe place for your money that could still provide a decent return?

One possibility to explore is annuities. Of course, annuities come in various forms, but there’s a type of fixed-index annuity that can provide competitive interest credits without the interest-rate risk associated with bonds.

With one of these annuities, an investor is able to take advantage of market-linked interest credits and when in retirement, receive a steady income stream that cannot be outlived. These insurance products are tied to a specific market index that allows consumers to receive a limited level of interest credits based on market gains. And because the money is never actually invested in the market, their principal is protected from downside market risk.

Are there drawbacks? Absolutely. These products often have a cap that limits the interest earnings that you can enjoy. If the index’s return is negative, no loss is posted to your account. If the index’s return is positive, interest is credited to your account—but with a cap. It can only go so high and no higher.

As with any financial product, you should know what you’re getting. Here are some questions to ask before buying:

  • What is the guaranteed minimum interest rate?
  • Which index will determine the amount of my interest credits?
  • Will the interest credits be calculated annually, quarterly or for some other length of time?
  • What are the surrender penalties and tax implications of an early exit from the contract?
  • Will the insurance company have the right to lower the cap at some point in the future, and by how much?

Finally, be sure to talk with your financial professional and a tax adviser about how a fixed-index annuity might fit with your overall retirement plan, particularly with regard to taxes and inflation.


Ronnie Blair contributed to this article.

Securities offered through Madison Avenue Securities, LLC (MAS) Member FINRA & SIPC. Advisory services offered through Global Wealth Management Investment Advisory (GWM) a Registered Investment Advisor. MAS and GWM are not affiliated entities.

Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Insurance and annuity product guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

Andrew M. Costa is managing director and co-founder of Global Wealth Management in Fort Lauderdale. He co-authored the book “SuccessOnomics” with Steve Forbes and is co-host of The Global Wealth Show, a financial radio show on 610 WIOD and Costa, a recognized professional in the investment management business, also has provided financial insight in “The Wall Street Journal,” “USA Today” and “Newsweek,” and has appeared on CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox.



Originally Posted at Kiplinger on October 2017 by Andrew M. Costa.

Hurricane Irma

Our Office will be CLOSED Monday and Tuesday Sept 11th and 12th due to Hurricane Irma

Due to Hurricane Irma, the safety of our staff and their families is our top priority. For this reason, Our office will be closed on Monday and Tuesday Sept 11th and 12th. We will re-open Wednesday September 13th albeit with a reduced staff as some of our staff is still dealing with the effects of the storm.

Thank you all for your understanding.

Hurricane Irma

Our Office will be CLOSED Friday, Sept 8 due to Hurricane Irma

Our Office will be CLOSED Friday, Sept 8 due to Hurricane Irma

As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, the safety of our staff and their families is our top priority. For this reason, Our office will be closed on Friday, Sept. 7. Our Disaster Response Team will continue to monitor the path of the hurricane. This may result in our office being closed on Monday September 11, 2017 as well.

Our Office will be CLOSED Friday, Sept 8 due to Hurricane Irma

Our Office will be CLOSED Friday, Sept 8 due to Hurricane Irma

It's official: DOL fiduciary rule is dead

OMB Approves 18-Month Fiduciary Rule Delay, With ‘Change’

AUGUST 29, 2017

Originally published by ThinkAdvisor.

The delay must now be finalized by Labor Department

The Office of Management and Budget approved on Monday the 18-month delay for the more onerous provisions of the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule.

The OMB approval, which usually takes 90 days, took less than a month.

The office listed its action as “Consistent with Change,” which means OMB “had to make some changes as a result of the review, but not with the length of the extension because the title is the same,” says Fred Reish, partner in Drinker Biddle & Reath’s employee benefits and executive compensation practice group in Los Angeles. OMB likely had to “make changes to the economic analysis and maybe the length of the comment period.”

The delay must now be finalized by Labor.

Steve Saxon, partner at Groom Law Group, said that with the OMB review finalized, Labor will now release a proposed rule in the Federal Register with a comment period of no longer than 30 days.

“We do expect the delay to go through,” Saxon told ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday. “We think [Labor is] going to propose the extension and do a very short comment period and then approve it.”

And firms are waiting eagerly for that approval.

“People need confirmation that the delay will go through so they can hold off on the buildout of their systems and software and the like, which is very expensive,” Saxon said. “They don’t want to do that if there are going to be changes to the rule … recordkeepers and other retirement service providers are desperate for confirming of the delay.”

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta told a Minnesota court on Aug. 9 that Labor had filed with OMB to delay the applicability date on three of the rule’s exemptions from Jan. 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019.

Labor proposed amendments to three exemptions, which were all approved by OMB:

  • The best-interest contract exemption, which opponents of the rule argued is the contract that would spark a slew of class-action lawsuits;
  • Class exemption for principal transactions in certain assets between investment advice fiduciaries and employee benefit plans and IRAs; and
  • Prohibited Transaction Exemption 84-24 for certain transactions involving insurance agents and brokers, pension consultants, insurance companies, and investment company principal underwriters.

“DOL is cognizant that the industry needs certainty on whether the deferred requirements will commence on Jan. 1,” said George Michael Gerstein, a lawyer with Stradley Ronon, a law firm in Washington that helps financial firms deal with regulators, in an email. “At this point, clarity is paramount.”

It's official: DOL fiduciary rule is dead

DOL Seeks 18-Month Delay of Fiduciary Rule

DOL Seeks 18-Month Delay of Fiduciary Rule

DOL Seeks 18-Month Delay of Fiduciary Rule








By John Hilton – InsuranceNewsNet – August 9, 2017

The Department of Labor moved today to delay phase two of the controversial Obama-era fiduciary rule by 18 months.

Documents (ß Notice of Administrative Action)were filed today with the Office of Management and Budget to delay phase two from Jan. 1, 2018, until July 1, 2019. The OMB will review the submission for publication in the Federal Register, which, barring any complications, makes the delay official.

Phase one of the DOL rule took effect June 9. It requires advisors and agents to act as fiduciaries, make no misleading statements and accept only “reasonable” compensation.

Still, opponents are far more concerned with phase two rules that establish a class-action right to sue under the Best Interest Contract Exemption. The BICE will be required to sell fixed indexed and variable annuities beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

In addition, the DOL said the delay will apply to two other exemptions, PTE 84-24 and PTE 2016-02. The latter exemption applies to advice to individual retirement accounts and employee benefit plans.

Potential Changes

As for potential changes during the delay, Bradford Campbell said last month that the BICE is likely to be weakened. Counsel at Drinker Biddle & Reath. Campbell previously led the DOL department responsible for the fiduciary rule during the Bush administration.

The BICE requires significant disclosures, and a signed contract with the client. That contract forms the basis of litigation liability.

Removing the class-action lawsuit from the BICE is a good possibility, Campbell said, basing his opinion on statements the DOL has made so far. If the class-action right isn’t scratched, it will cause problems in the courts, he predicted.

A delay will make even more likely the DOL and the Securities and Exchange Commission end up working together on a fiduciary standard the industry can live with, Campbell added.

It's official: DOL fiduciary rule is dead

Who Is Winning With the Fiduciary Rule? Wall Street

Who Is Winning With the Fiduciary Rule? Wall Street

Who Is Winning With the Fiduciary Rule? Wall Street








For now, the rule is setting money in motion

By Lisa Beilfuss – The Wall Street Journal – August 11, 2017

The brokerage business fiercely fought the new retirement advice rule. But so far for Wall Street, it has been a gift.

The rule requires brokers to act in the best interests of retirement savers, rather than sell products that are merely suitable but could make brokers more money. Financial firms decried the restriction, which began to take effect in June, as limiting consumer choice while raising their compliance costs and potential liability.

But adherence is proving a positive. Firms are pushing customers toward accounts that charge an annual fee on their assets, rather than commissions which can violate the rule, and such fee-based accounts have long been more lucrative for the industry. In earnings calls, executives are citing the Department of Labor rule, known varyingly as the DOL or fiduciary rule, as a boon.

“Primarily because of DOL” and market appreciation, assets are growing in fee-based accounts, said Stifel Financial Corp. Chief Executive Ronald Kruszewski, on a call in July. In an interview, he said such accounts can be twice as costly for clients.

Morningstar Inc. has said $3 trillion in tax-advantaged retirement savings are at stake, but some firms say even more is in play, as policies and marketing filter to nonretirement accounts.

For some consumers, a fee-based account could make economic sense. Such accounts can also come with more services, and they theoretically align a broker’s interest with that of the client. Some customers are negotiating discounts on the fees they pay, and some are moving to lower-cost firms, data suggests and industry executives say.

“Whether it’s in clients’ best interest is unclear,” said Steven Chubak, an analyst at Nomura Instinet. But the fiduciary rule is ”incentivizing firms to accelerate conversions“ to fees from commissions, he said, and “certainly the amount charged on a fee-based account versus a [commission-based] brokerage account is higher.” The push is speeding up an industry trend toward fees, which offer more predictable revenue that commission-based accounts.

“They are crying crocodile tears,” said Phyllis Borzi, a former Obama administration official who was an architect of the rule, referring to complaints from financial firms on the rule. That administration had said conflicted advice was costing individuals $17 billion a year and 1% in annual returns, figures that critics dispute.

The full effect of the rule remains to be seen. It has only partially gone into effect, with the Trump administration considering significant changes, including adjustments designed to lower compliance costs. Earlier this week, the Labor Department proposed delaying the rule’s compliance deadline by 18 months, a move that experts say suggests revisions are in the offing.

Even some benefiting from it still fault it, including Mr. Kruszewski from Stifel, whose business is largely based on commissions and who has said the rule limits choice.

For now, the rule is setting money in motion.

Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch has embraced the rule, even running an ad campaign around the idea of fiduciary advice. The firm, which for years has promoted fee-based accounts, last year gave its more than 14,000 brokers more flexibility to cut fees for clients moved onto its advisory platform without a reduction in their own pay. A big investment in adviser technology several years ago has aided the process by making it easier for advisers to convert brokerage accounts to fee-generating advisory accounts.

At Bank of America’s global wealth unit, which includes Merrill Lynch, fee-based assets rose 19% from a year earlier to $991 billion in the second quarter, or to 38% of client assets. More than two-thirds of Merrill’s advisers now have at least half of their client assets under a fee-based relationship, the firm said. The firm is also moving some clients to its online, commission-based “Merrill Edge” platform.

Morgan Stanley , meanwhile, has taken a different tack. Unlike Merrill, which has largely eliminated commissions in retirement accounts, Morgan Stanley has lowered commission costs to aid compliance with the regulation’s “reasonable compensation” standard. It, too, is rolling out a new computer-driven “robo” advisory tool.

For Morgan Stanley, fee-based assets grew 17% from a year earlier to $962 billion in the quarter, representing 43% of overall money in the wealth unit. On Morgan Stanley’s earnings call in July, finance chief Jonathan Pruzan credited the rule in part for gains in fee-based assets. “The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule has contributed to these fee-based flows,” he said, and “revenues continue to grow with fee-based assets.”

Observers also note that market performance has helped drive assets higher, regardless of account type.

Discount brokers, which traditionally have catered to investors seeking to manage their own investment accounts and pay per transaction, also may gain business.

TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. said net new client assets in the latest period climbed to a record $22 billion from $13.6 billion a year ago. “The DOL fiduciary rule is driving a lot of momentum,” said Chief Executive Tim Hockey.

At Charles Schwab & Co., clients in the first half of the year brought roughly $2 to Schwab for every $1 that they moved from Schwab to a competitor, including traditional brokerage firms, the company has said. In dollar terms, that is about an 86% improvement from a year earlier. In the latest quarter, Schwab’s new retail brokerage accounts climbed 36% from a year earlier.

The fiduciary rule also is supporting the shift to lower-cost index funds that seek to match market moves instead of beat them, observers say, due to the rule’s requirement that brokers justify an investment’s costs.

Laurence Fink, chief executive of indexing giant BlackRock Inc., on the most-recent earnings call attributed “accelerated” flows partly to the fiduciary rule.

Other changes stemming from the fiduciary rule could hurt over the longer term. Aside from compliance costs and increased potential liability, products such as higher-cost mutual funds face pressure from lower-cost passively managed funds, said Devin Ryan, a JMP Securities analyst. The move away from such products could bring down the profitability of fee-based accounts over time, he said.

For now, though, the growth in these accounts have been another positive for Wall Street’s advisory businesses.

“The wealth-management business is almost like a yield stock,” James Gorman, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive, said on the firm’s latest earnings call. “So you can imagine the dividend coming out of wealth-management earnings.”

It's official: DOL fiduciary rule is dead

Best interest is in the eye of the beholder…

Best interest is in the eye of the beholder in debate over DOL fiduciary rule

Best interest is in the eye of the beholder in debate over DOL fiduciary rule

July 18, 2017 by Mark Schoeff Jr.

The term “best interest” is subjective it seems in the debate over the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule. The phrase is used by both critics and supporters of the measure to describe what they’re trying to do for the average investor.

The latest example of the fluidity of the term was seen in a July 13 hearing of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities and Investments. Lawmakers on the panel debated draft legislation offered by Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., that would kill the DOL rule and replace it with a regulation written by the Securities and Exchange Commission that would “establish standards of conduct for brokers and dealers that are in the best interest of their retail customers,” according to the preamble of the measure.

Click HERE to read the full story via InvestmentNews; registration required.

Originally Posted at InvestmentNews on July 14, 2017 by Mark Schoeff Jr..

Professional Liability Insurance (E&O)

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Prepare yourself for the DOL road ahead.

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We have invested heavily in developing the right resource for independent agents, agencies and other marketing firms. Our unique platform puts you in position to document your recommendations are in the best interest of the client.

It's official: DOL fiduciary rule is dead

DOL Resources

Valuable Resources To Help You Navigate The DOL-Rule!

Prepare yourself for the DOL road ahead.