For updates and guidance related to COVID-19 / Coronavirus, click here.
2320. Variable Contracts of an Insurance Company
This Rule shall apply exclusively (and in lieu of Rule 2341) to the activities of members in connection with variable contracts, to the extent such activities are subject to regulation under the federal securities laws.
(1) The term "purchase payment" as used throughout this Rule shall mean the consideration paid at the time of each purchase or installment for or under the variable contract.
(2) The term "variable contracts" shall mean contracts providing for benefits or values which may vary according to the investment experience of any separate or segregated account or accounts maintained by an insurance company.
(3) The terms "affiliated member," "compensation," "cash compensation," "non-cash compensation" and "offeror" as used in paragraph (g) of this Rule shall have the following meanings:
(A) "Affiliated Member" shall mean a member which, directly or indirectly, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with a non-member company.
(B) "Compensation" shall mean cash compensation and non-cash compensation.
(C) "Cash compensation" shall mean any discount, concession, fee, service fee, commission, asset based sales charge, loan, override, or cash employee benefit received in connection with the sale and distribution of variable contracts.
(D) "Non-cash compensation" shall mean any form of compensation received in connection with the sale and distribution of variable contracts that is not cash compensation, including but not limited to merchandise, gifts and prizes, travel expenses, meals and lodging.
(E) "Offeror" shall mean an insurance company, a separate account of an insurance company, an investment company that funds a separate account, any adviser to a separate account of an insurance company or an investment company that funds a separate account, a fund administrator, an underwriter and any affiliated person (as defined in Section 2(a)(3) of the Investment Company Act) of such entities.
(c) Receipt of Payment
No member shall participate in the offering or in the sale of a variable contract on any basis other than at a value to be determined following receipt of payment therefor in accordance with the provisions of the contract, and, if applicable, the prospectus, the Investment Company Act and applicable rules thereunder. Payments need not be considered as received until the contract application has been accepted by the insurance company, except that by mutual agreement it may be considered to have been received for the risk of the purchaser when actually received.
Every member who receives applications and/or purchase payments for variable contracts shall transmit promptly to the issuer all such applications and at least that portion of the purchase payment required to be credited to the contract.
(e) Selling Agreements
No member who is a principal underwriter as defined in the Investment Company Act may sell variable contracts through another broker-dealer unless (1) such broker-dealer is a member, and (2) there is a sales agreement in effect between the parties. Such sales agreement must provide that the sales commission be returned to the issuing insurance company if the variable contract is tendered for redemption within seven business days after acceptance of the contract application.
No member shall participate in the offering or in the sale of a variable contract unless the insurance company, upon receipt of a request in proper form for partial or total redemption in accordance with the provisions of the contract undertakes to make prompt payment of the amounts requested and payable under the contract in accordance with the terms thereof, and, if applicable, the prospectus, the Investment Company Act and applicable rules thereunder.
(g) Member Compensation
In connection with the sale and distribution of variable contracts:
(1) Except as described below, no associated person of a member shall accept any compensation from anyone other than the member with which the person is associated. This requirement will not prohibit arrangements where a non-member company pays compensation directly to associated persons of the member, provided that:
(A) the arrangement is agreed to by the member;
(B) the member relies on an appropriate rule, regulation, interpretive release, interpretive letter, or "no-action" letter issued by the SEC that applies to the specific fact situation of the arrangement;
(C) the receipt by associated persons of such compensation is treated as compensation received by the member for purposes of the FINRA rules; and
(D) the record keeping requirement in paragraph (g)(3) is satisfied.
(2) No member or person associated with a member shall accept any compensation from an offeror which is in the form of securities of any kind.
(3) Except for items as described in paragraphs (g)(4)(A) and (B), a member shall maintain records of all compensation received by the member or its associated persons from offerors. The records shall include the names of the offerors, the names of the associated persons, the amount of cash, and the nature and value of non-cash compensation received.
(4) No member or person associated with a member shall directly or indirectly accept or make payments or offers of payments of any non-cash compensation, except as provided in this provision. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (g)(1), the following non-cash compensation arrangements are permitted:
(A) Gifts that do not exceed an annual amount per person fixed periodically by FINRA1 and are not preconditioned on achievement of a sales target.
(B) An occasional meal, a ticket to a sporting event or the theater, or comparable entertainment which is neither so frequent nor so extensive as to raise any question of propriety and is not preconditioned on achievement of a sales target.
(C) Payment or reimbursement by offerors in connection with meetings held by an offeror or by a member for the purpose of training or education of associated persons of a member, provided that:
(i) the record keeping requirement in paragraph (g)(3) is satisfied;
(ii) associated persons obtain the member's prior approval to attend the meeting and attendance by a member's associated persons is not preconditioned by the member on the achievement of a sales target or any other incentives pursuant to a non-cash compensation arrangement permitted by paragraph (g)(4)(D);
(iii) the location is appropriate to the purpose of the meeting, which shall mean an office of the offeror or the member, or a facility located in the vicinity of such office, or a regional location with respect to regional meetings;
(iv) the payment or reimbursement is not applied to the expenses of guests of the associated person; and
(v) the payment or reimbursement by the offeror is not preconditioned by the offeror on the achievement of a sales target or any other non-cash compensation arrangement permitted by paragraph (g)(4)(D).
(D) Non-cash compensation arrangements between a member and its associated persons or a non-member company and its sales personnel who are associated persons of an affiliated member, provided that:
(i) the member's or non-member's non-cash compensation arrangement, if it includes variable contract securities, is based on the total production of associated persons with respect to all variable contract securities distributed by the member;
(ii) the non-cash compensation arrangement requires that the credit received for each variable contract security is equally weighted;
(iii) no unaffiliated non-member company or other unaffiliated member directly or indirectly participates in the member's or non-member's organization of a permissible non-cash compensation arrangement; and
(iv) the record keeping requirement in paragraph (g)(3) is satisfied.
(E) Contributions by a non-member company or other member to a non-cash compensation arrangement between a member and its associated persons, provided that the arrangement meets the criteria in paragraph (g)(4)(D).
1 The current annual amount fixed by FINRA is $100.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2016-026 eff. July 9, 2016.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2009-023 eff. Oct. 19, 2009.
Amended by SR-NASD-98-14 eff. April 1, 2000.
Amended by SR-NASD-97-35 eff. Jan. 1, 1999.
Amended eff. May 1, 1976.
Added eff. Feb. 8, 1971.
Selected Notices: 75-68, 88-17, 91-25, 91-68, 94-67, 95-56, 96-52, 96-86, 97-27, 97-48, 97-50, 98-75, 99-35, 99-55, 99-103, 00-44, 01-63, 09-50.
- Regulatory Notice 18-05February 06, 2018
- Regulatory Notice 16-29August 08, 2016
- Regulatory Notice 14-15April 08, 2014
- Regulatory Notice 10-05January 21, 2010
- Regulatory Notice 09-50August 17, 2009