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Variable Annuities and Variable Life Insurance Regulation (Second Edition)

Author(s): Clifford E. Kirsch
Practice Area: Insurance, Insurance products, Variable annuities
Published: Nov 2012
Supplement Date: Jun 2018 i Other versions can be found in the Related Items tab.
ISBN: 9781402418990
PLI Item #: 38879

At a time when the SEC, FINRA, and state authorities are putting increasing regulatory pressure on the securities industry, Variable Annuities and Variable Life Insurance Regulation remains today’s most comprehensive and accessible guide to the many federal and state rules governing these instruments. Every key area is addressed to clarify professional duties and compliance responsibilities, from product design, approval, administration and distribution, to marketing, inspections, and special investment products, including private placements and offshore investment products.

This treatise includes discussion of:

  • The expanded definition of an investment advice fiduciary by the DOL, and the challenges posed by this change to the ability of insurance companies and broker-dealers to market asset allocation programs within variable insurance products;
  • the new “Best Interest Contract Exemption” or “BIC Exemption” issued by the DOL that is intended to provide some relief to entities that are deemed to be fiduciaries under the Fiduciary Rule; and
  • tax treatment of hedges that variable contract issuers use to manage liabilities for minimum guaranteed income, cash value, or death benefits under variable contracts.
Updated at least once a year, Variable Annuities and Variable Life Insurance Regulation is a vital reference for securities professionals and attorneys, compliance officers, federal and state regulators, general practitioners, and investors.
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Cliff Kirsch began his career at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), became chief legal officer for one of the country’s largest dually- registered broker-dealer/advisers and then joined Sutherland (now Eversheds Sutherland) in 2006. He relies on his regulatory and in- house background and an up-to-date knowledge of regulatory developments to provide practical and innovative counsel to broker-dealers and investment advisers in the areas of securities regulation and compliance.

With more than 25 years of experience, Cliff regularly counsels clients on the design and distribution of investment products including wrap-fee programs and other advisory products, mutual funds, bank collective investment funds and insurance products. He also focuses on issues related to the design and implementation of compliance programs at financial services firms.

While at the SEC, Cliff received the Manuel F. Cohen Award, which recognizes younger lawyers who have displayed outstanding legal ability, integrity and judgment and he served as assistant director of the SEC's Division of Investment Management.

Cliff is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and is the author and editor of two of the leading treatises in the broker-dealer and adviser arena: Broker-Dealer Regulation and Investment Adviser Regulation (published by the Practising Law Institute).

Cliff is also co-founder of the Julia Anne Kirsch Foundation, which seeks to serve the needs of disabled individuals and their families.


Eversheds Sutherland counsels a coalition of major life insurance companies on evolving state and federal regulations and other legal developments.

Eversheds Sutherland represents a coalition of major life insurance companies, which collectively account for more than 80% of the annuity business in the United States, in their efforts to affect the direction and details of various SEC, FINRA, CFTC, NAIC and state rule proposals and initiatives.

Eversheds Sutherland serves as outside counsel on broker-dealer and adviser regulatory issues for one of the largest independent broker-dealer networks in the country.  Eversheds Sutherland serves as regular primary outside counsel on broker-dealer and adviser regulatory issues for one of the largest independent broker-dealer networks in the country.

Eversheds Sutherland represents coalition of collective trust fund sponsors, advisers and other service providers.

Eversheds Sutherland serves as counsel to the Coalition of Collective Trust Funds. Among other things, Sutherland monitors and reports on legal and regulatory matters affecting collective trust funds.

Professional Activities

Member, New York City Bar Association

Faculty, FINRA Compliance Institute at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Former Chair, FINRA Variable Products Committee

Former Board Member, National Society of Compliance Professionals