SunLife announced this week that it will be closing it’s variable annuity and individual life insurance businesses. Genworth closed it’s variable annuity business earlier this year. SunLife will focus it’s energies on more group focused insurance products and MFS Investment Management which it acquired in 1982. (Fun fact: MFS invented the mutual fund in 1924) Genworth’s attention is now placed on life insurance, long term care and other types of retirement income products.
With today’s market conditions, these companies feel that they cannot adequately hedge the risk they take on for the consumer given the fees generated by these annuity and life insurance products. Obviously they don’t see that the consumer would be willing to bear more cost within the products so they decided to exit the businesses altogether.
Financial products will continue to come and go. Products will also continue to evolve. Keeping up with it all will always be the challenge.
Starting 1/1/12, financial service firms will have to report cost basis information about your mutual funds and exchange traded funds to the IRS. The days of lack of tracking, lost information and trying to make a best guess all while paying your CPA to muddle through it with you will be behind us.
Each firm will likely have a default method of calculating your cost basis when you sell a position and you should have a choice of either following that default or using another method. This decision must be made at the time of the fund sale and cannot be changed after completing the transaction.
So, while there are a number of nice pieces to this change, it is quite important that you understand a bit about cost basis and how it affects your exact situation.
Sovereign Bank was sold in 2008 to Banco Santander. They haven’t been independent of outside authority or “sovereign” for years. The name is supposed to be changed to Santander in 2012, not for the purposes of truth in labeling, but to broaden the brand of it’s parent.
As a side note, Banco Santander placed over $3B of it’s clients money with Bernie Madoff.
The meaning within Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads is certainly open to interpretation. The coming and going of materialistic identifiers along with life’s constants represented by water, speak to me. As we build our lives, we work within things we can and cannot affect. Some things are of our own doing, while others happen anyway.
I do believe we can learn from our personal past and the past of those before us. The world we live in today has caused so many to reconsider what is important in their lives. Yet, to believe where we are today and the path we are following is some new journey is naive. The past has always repeated itself.
A link embedded within the attached Wall Street Journal posting brings you to an economists work published in 1936. The details are amazing. This is a time where the entire world lives within the most difficult of economic circumstances. The financial and political state of the time along with the preceding 75 years are highlighted.
The refrain, “same as it ever was”, is continually true regarding economic cycles and conditions. We must not only understand these markets but affect what we can while holding onto what’s truly important in our lives.