RETIREMENT PRODUCT INNOVATION BILL INTRODUCED IN SENATE

Posted on November 5, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – A bill to lower barriers to innovative retirement income products by requiring the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revise its rules regarding the development and offering of certain annuity products was introduced in the Senate this week. The measure is similar to a House bill introduced in July.

The Registration for Index-Linked Annuities Act directs the SEC to devise a new form for annuity issuers to use when filing registered index-linked annuities (RILAs). Under current SEC rules, these and other innovative new products must be registered using forms designed primarily for equity offerings and therefore require extensive information that is not relevant to prospective annuity purchasers. These forms also require disclosure of financial information prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), which many insurers are not otherwise required to produce.

The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) supports the bill and commended the bipartisan leadership of Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who introduced the measure.

IRI says the legislation will address the misalignment between the current registration forms used for RILAs and the information needed by investors who might benefit from purchasing these products. This was among several priorities included in IRI’s 2021 Federal Retirement Security Blueprint, released earlier this year.

A registered index-linked annuity can bring balance to retirement portfolios by allowing participation in market growth while reducing exposure to market loss, helping savers reach retirement goals.

“We see solid momentum to address an issue that is limiting consumer choice to innovative retirement planning products,” said Wayne Chopus, IRI President and CEO. “The current rules and processes to register RILAs stymies innovation, creates a barrier to entry into this growing market for insurers that do not produce GAAP financials, and impedes consumer comprehension and choice with excessive and confusing information. “A new registration form more closely tailored to the particular products being offered would ensure that consumers have access to the pertinent information they need to make an informed investment decision.”

He added, “This regulatory structure ultimately impairs consumer choice without any corresponding benefit to consumers or the SEC. The modernized approach contemplated by this legislation will encourage innovation and ensure investors can easily find the information they need about RILAs and other innovative products without having to wade through irrelevant, excessive, and confusing disclosure documents.”  

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Contact: Dan Zielinski