One of the many remarkable things about being an American is the simple fact that we all have the freedom to speak out. This is one of the few nations in the world where you can sit before the government, give your opinion and try to influence legislation. And that is just what CreativeOne is trying to do.
Several of our CreativeOne executives, including myself, traveled to Washington, D.C., where NAFA held its fourth annual Annuity Leadership Forum. The Leadership Forum gives NAFA’s leaders the opportunity to meet face-to-face with members of Congress and their staffs. It’s a tremendous experience to tell the story of fixed annuities to the senators and representatives who create the legislation that would impact the products we sell.
While there are many organizations, trade groups and government agencies loudly speaking out against fixed annuities, there is only one trade group lobbying on behalf of the industry. That’s NAFA, of which I am proud to serve as Chairman of the Board for 2014.
Keynoting this year’s Annuity Leadership Forum was Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a seven-term senator and the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance. Sen. Hatch spoke at length about a bill he introduced last year called The Secure Annuities for Employee (SAFE) Retirement Act. NAFA was the first lobbying organization to support the legislation. The bill is designed to reform the nation’s public and private pension benefit system, much of which is highly underfunded. A provision of his bill would provide state and local agencies the ability to outsource pension obligations to private annuity carriers.
Chris Conroy, CreativeOne Vice President of Advanced Markets, and I visited the offices of Kansas legislators, including Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts, and Rep. Kevin Yoder. Our lobbying focus was on NAFA’s opposition to the Democrats’ proposed tax reform plan, which would negatively impact annuity sales.
We also discussed concerns with the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary duty rule for annuities sold in qualified plans. The industry has successfully operated under a state-based regulatory system that uses the suitability standard of care. Imposing a fiduciary standard on annuity producers would result in less consumer access to products and fewer producers and distributors to offer them.
The industry cannot afford to have only one side of the story heard in Washington. That’s why CreativeOne is so passionately involved in NAFA. By joining with other IMOs and carriers and pooling our resources into a unified effort – including our own Political Action Committee (PAC) – we can better fight against unnecessary legislation that could harm your business. CreativeOne will continue these efforts so that you can earn a living and your clients can have unfettered access to these valuable retirement income products.
It is important to CreativeOne that we visit our representatives in Congress periodically to build and maintain relationships. We need to exercise our voice and do everything we can to properly influence decisions.
And we can use all the help we can get in this endeavor, so I encourage you to consider becoming a NAFA member.
For more information on NAFA membership visit www.nafa.com or contact your CreativeOne sales team at 800.992.2642.