Saturday, May 15, 2010


Strengthening standards? Or watering them down?

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, late Thursday introduced an amendment to the financial reform legislation being debated on the Senate floor that would extend a fiduciary standard to broker-dealers, but excludes people selling variable annuities.

The North American Securities Administrators Association and the Consumer Federation of American condemned the amendment because of the exclusion.

"This amendment removes the fiduciary duty precisely where it is needed most--where the conflicts of interest are greatest, the investors are least sophisticated, and the sales practices are most abusive. It paints a target on the backs of senior Americans who are most likely to be targeted with abusive variable annuity sales practices," said Barbara Roper, director of investor protection, Consumer Federation of America.

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