Regulators worry about fixed-annuity providers' investments

04/26/2013 | Bloomberg Businessweek

Some private equity firms have acquired life insurance companies that specialize in fixed annuities, and the investment strategies the firms have put in place are concerning to some regulators. The firms are replacing stable investments such as blue-chip stocks and government bonds with holdings in subprime mortgage-backed securities and professional baseball teams. "Their focus is on maximizing their immediate financial returns, rather than ensuring that promised retirement benefits are there at the end of the day for policyholders," said Benjamin Lawsky, New York's state superintendent of financial services.

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