Advisers need to proactively review clients’ annuities that are within individual retirement accounts to avoid “traps” by ensuring required minimum distributions are being taken properly, said Jeffrey Levine of Ed Slott and Co.

IRA or Roth rules trump annuity rules when an annuity is within an IRA, Levine explained Monday at the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors’ Career Conference and Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Roth conversions and required minimum distributions, or RMDs, are based on an annuity’s fair market value, which is a complex, “don’t-try-this-at-home” calculation, but an adviser can ask the provider to perform it, Levine said. (read more…)

It appears likely that a measure to create the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers will become law, and agents need to know what that means for their business, said Jill Hoffman, assistant vice president of federal government relations with the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers.

A NARAB amendment is attached to House and Senate legislation to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act backstop. The political consensus is that NARAB will pass along with TRIA, which must be renewed before it expires at the end of this year, Hoffman said.

The bill is designed to establish a national licensing body through which agents would pay a fee to get a NARAB license in the state or states where they want to be licensed, said Scott Sinder, outside counsel with Steptoe & Johnson.

NAIFA wants to have a seat on the NARAB board of directors, which would be appointed by the president and also would include regulators, Sinder said. (read more…)

CFTC regulations on trade reconstruction are changing the way firms need to think about compliance. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get started.

The Dodd-Frank Act unleashed an avalanche of new rules affecting the financial industry, chief among them the trade reconstruction requirement, which mandates that swap dealers are able to produce a complete reconstruction of a trade within 72 hours of a request by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). To solve for this complex challenge, swap dealers/firms must develop capabilities for correlating a broad range of structured and unstructured pre-trade, trade and post-trade data.

Bloomberg Vault recently hosted a webinar “Trade Reconstruction for Compliance Officers,” presented by Harald Collet, Global Head of Bloomberg Vault, and moderated by Mitch Avnet, Managing Partner, Compliance Risk Concepts, to help compliance officers understand the challenges and think strategically about the process.

“The endpoints of the reconstructed trade is to tie together the different elements: The structured data, including execution and post-execution confirmation and ledger data; unstructured data, such as sales and marketing; and finally communications data, the most complex data,” says Collet. (read more…)

The Milken Institute is working to give policymakers, media, and the academic community a deeper base of knowledge when it comes to global banking issues. The Institute’s recent launch of GlobalBanking.org offers users a new and unique way of accessing information on banking systems worldwide and their regulatory environment. The site aggregates World Bank data from 180 countries in addition to its own independent research and analysis on an open platform that is accessible to anyone.

“Never before has this kind of information been collected and presented in such an easy-to-use way,” said Staci Warden, executive director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets. “We are confident that it will be a tremendous resource for anyone working in this area.”

The aim of GlobalBanking.org is to build a database of international banking facts and figures, increasing transparency regarding the worldwide banking environment. Key features include ease of use and the ability to incorporate data into independent research by users; interactive charts and maps; up-to-date news and expert commentary, and global banking reports. (read more…)

In the past three decades the income inequality gap has exploded across the United States. We typically view rising inequality through the lens of class; focusing on the growing disparity between the top 5% or 1% of the population and the bottom 10% or quartile. But looking at income inequality from this vantage point misses a critical dimension: there are serious gaps between economic sectors and in particular, the financial sector of the economy has grown disproportionately wealthy compared to other sectors. This gap not only has profound consequences for the distribution of income but also has negative effects on the overall growth and development of the U.S. economy.

Beginning in 1980, financial sector deregulation began in earnest, encouraging investment in financial sector expansion and attracting a greater percentage of college and high-school graduates. This shift to the financial services sector has contributed both to the growing inequality of wages between workers in the “real” economy – which produces goods and non-financial services and drives most of the employment growth — and the “financial” economy – which has higher wages and is siphoning off talent from the real economy. (read more…)