The Securities and Exchange Commission has voted to propose rule changes designed to improve disclosure for investors about variable annuities and variable life insurance contracts. The proposal is intended to help investors better understand these contracts’ features, fees, and risks, and to more easily find the information that they need to make an informed investment decision.
“This proposal is another important step in the Commission’s efforts to provide Main Street investors with better information to make informed investment decisions. I have participated in many roundtables with retail investors over the last several months, and investors have emphasized their preference for clear and concise disclosure,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “Providing key summary information about variable annuities and variable life insurance contracts to investors is particularly important in light of the long‑term nature of these contracts and their potential complexity.”
The proposal would newly permit these contracts to use a summary prospectus to provide disclosures to investors. This document would be a concise, reader‑friendly summary of key facts about the contract. More‑detailed information about the contract would be available online, and an investor also could choose to have that information delivered in paper or electronic format at no charge.
Mutual funds have been permitted to use a similar layered approach to disclosure—with investors receiving a summary prospectus, and more-detailed information available on request—since 2009.
The Commission has requested public comment on the proposed rule changes, as well as on hypothetical summary prospectus samples that it has published. The Commission has also published a Feedback Flier that it will use to seek investor input about what improvements would make the summary prospectus easier to read and understand, and what information investors would like to see included.
The public comment period will remain open through February 15, 2019.
Use the Commission’s Internet comment form (https://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed/2018/im-variable-annuity.html); or
Send an email to email@example.com. Please include File Number S7-23-18 on the subject line; or
Use the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov). Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
Send paper comments to Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549-1090.