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Court vacates SEC Rule 151A

On July 12, 2010, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated SEC Rule 151A–a rule which would have classified fixed-indexed annuities as securities subject to SEC regulatory control (see blog entry of December 22, 2008 for detailed description of the Rule).

The Court’s action means that fixed-indexed annuities will continue to be governed by individual state’s regulations, and licensed insurance agents may continue to solicit the sale of fixed-indexed annuities without having a federal securities license.

While the Court’s decision does not prevent the SEC from reintroducing Rule 151A in the future, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, otherwise known as the new Financial Reform Bill, signed into law by President Obama on July 21, 2010, includes the Harkin Amendment which effectively exempts fixed-indexed (or equity-indexed) annuities from federal regulation as securities so long as they meet the standards described within the amendment (see Title IX, Section 989J).

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