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President Obama Hints at Cutting Tax Expenditures in State of the Union Speech

President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress in his annual State of the Union on Tuesday, January 25.  During his speech, the President proposed to “cut excessive spending…through tax breaks and loopholes.”  NAILBA interprets the President’s remarks to mean he will support cutting tax expenditures as a means to raise revenue.

Key Republicans such as House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) have likewise stated their desire to cut tax expenditures, increasing the possibility for bipartisan support over such a policy.  Tax expenditures such as tax-free inside buildup on life insurance and deferred annuities could be considered for elimination.

Congress is expected to discuss the future of tax expenditures when the FY2012 budget debate begins this coming spring.

SEC Recommends Uniform Standard of Care for Brokers

Last weekend, the Securities and Exchange Commission submitted the findings of its study of the standards of care used by brokers, dealers and investment advisors in providing investment advice to retail clients. The study was mandated by Section 913 of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

SEC staff recommends that the Commission consider 'rulemakings that would apply expressly and uniformly to both broker-dealers and investment advisers...a fiduciary standard no less stringent than currently applied to investment advisers.'

The study and recommendations were authored by SEC staff and do not carry the weight of law. The five SEC Commissioners still need to vote on a final rule, which may or may not reflect the recommendations made by the standards of care study.

SEC Commissioners Troy Paredes and Kathleen Casey issued a joint statement opposing the study's conclusions and expressing concern about the study's shortcomings.

No timeline has been set for the implementation of a rule.  NAILBA government affairs staff expects any rulemaking to be an extensive process and we will continue to work with our industry partners on this critical issue.

Questions? Contact Mark Valentini, Manager of Government Affairs at mvalentini@nailba.org or 703.383.3073.

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National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies         p: (703) 383-3081
11325 Random Hills Road, Suite 110, Fairfax, Virginia 22030          f: (703) 383-6942