After filing over 80 disciplinary actions in the past two years, the National Association of Securities Dealers is tightening its noose on the variable annuities industry. Late last month, the regulator proposed new rules for variable annuity sales that would increase disclosure and make best-practice guidelines mandatory and enforceable.

These best-practice guidelines were put together with the involvement of the industry, said Herb Perone, a spokesman for the NASD. "But clearly, not everyone has adopted the guidelines, or we wouldn't have 80 enforcement cases." While the disciplinary actions were filed for violations of existing regulations, he said that due to the growing complexity of variable annuities, "the NASD felt it was necessary to heighten suitability, supervisory and disclosure requirements for the sales of this product."

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