Information About Annuities
Under North Carolina law, annuities are considered to be insurance products and are therefore specifically exempted from regulation as securities. The regulation of annuities falls under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Department of Insurance. Federal law, however, treats variable rate annuities as securities, and regulation falls to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In North Carolina, only stock brokers registered with the Securities Division may lawfully sell variable annuities.
This page is designed to give consumers who are considering buying annuities information that will help them make informed decisions about whether an annuity is right for them. It cannot be emphasized enough: Annuities are not one-size-fits-all financial products. They can be good products for some people, but they are very complex financial instruments and are not suitable for everyone, especially the elderly. If you are thinking of purchasing an annuity, we suggest that you first speak with a registered investment adviser who has no interest in the financial arrangement, and who can give you an objective, unbiased opinion as to whether an annuity is right for you given your financial circumstances, needs and goals. As a service, we have provided links below to other non-commercial sites that discuss the various types of annuities in greater detail and free from advertisements so that consumers can make an informed decision when considering whether to purchase an annuity.
The information offered here is intended for educational use only and should not be relied upon as legal interpretations or as statements of policy by the Department of the Secretary of State. Questions of a legal nature should be directed to an attorney specializing in securities and/or insurance law.
- DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE
- Follow this link to read or order a copy of the Department of Insurance’s “Consumer Guide to Annuities.” Also available is their “Consumer Guide to Viatical Settlements.”
- US SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
- Learn important information anyone considering buying an annuity should know. Included is Information about equity-indexed annuities, a favorite product pitched at so-called “free meal” seminars.
- NORTH AMERICAN SECURITIES ADMINISTRATORS ASSOCIATION (NASAA)
- NASAA is the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection. NASAA’s membership consists of the securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Read what NASAA has to say about annuities.
- FINANCIAL INDUSTRY REGULATORY AUTHORITY (FINRA)
- FINRA is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. Read their Investor Alert concerning variable rate annuities. Included is a link to information about equity-indexed annuities.