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Inside Washington (07/21/2008)
* WASHINGTON (7/22/08)--According to a recent Kehrer-Jackson bank annuity sales data report, annuity sales are up 53% from last year. Regulatory agencies, including the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission, are broadening their oversight of annuity sales and fraud, while banks such as SunTrust are working to document profiles of customers who purchase them. States such as Florida also have cracked down on annuity fraud. Florida recently enacted the John and Patricia Seibel Act, which penalizes sellers up to $250,000 for unfair annuities. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners created a Suitability of Annuity Sales Working Group in May to recommend standards for the annuity industry, modeled after Wisconsin’s annuity sales advisory committee (American Banker July 21) ... * WASHINGTON (7/22/08)--Bankers have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to extend a rule stopping short-selling so it would include holding companies and publicly traded banks. The American Bankers Association sent a letter to the SEC July 17 saying that the rule could cause problems for banks that aren’t included on the rule. The SEC has not commented on the letter (American Banker July 21). The rule took effect Monday ... * WASHINGTON (7/22/08)--The Federal Reserve Board is moving closer to filling a larger systemic role without input from members of Congress, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) noted at a hearing Wednesday. On July 13, the Treasury and the Fed proposed a plan to help Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The plan also would require that an agency oversee the enterprises--a role that some have suggested for the Fed. At Wednesday’s hearing, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson signaled his support for positioning the Fed as a systemic overseer, while Ben Bernanke, Fed chairman, said the central bank must be able to fulfill that responsibility before agreeing to it (American Banker July 21). The Fed also is consulting with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on oversight of investment banks. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said he was skeptical of that collaboration because banking agencies working together in the past missed the subprime mortgage mess ...


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