Regardless of the outcome of the 2012 elections, Congress and the future president are likely to settle on a permanent estate tax in 2013 because of the need to bring the burgeoning budget deficit under control.
This was the consensus of a panel of experts during "Washington Report Live," a highlight of the annual meeting the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU), being held in Washington, D.C. April 29-May 2nd. The panelists--AALU Counsel members Jeff Ricchetti, Ken Kies and Bill Archer; Chris Morton, AALU vice president of legislative Affairs; Justin Brown, an assistant vice president of legislative affairs; and the moderator, Marc Cadin, a senior vice president of legislative affairs--prognosticated on a range of tax and regulatory issues that the AALU will seek to influence through advocacy efforts in the year ahead.
Also of continuing concern to the AALU's legislative team, said Morton, are the pending recommendations of an SEC study respecting the creation of a harmonized fiduciary standard of care that would apply to both registered investment advisors and broker-dealers. Such a harmonized standard, he warned, would potentially "undermine the viability of our industry," much as a similar standard of care has negatively impacted the life insurance community in the U.K.
He touted the AALU's success to date in halting the imposition of a single standard but cautioned that producers and insurers need to remain vigilant on the issue.