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Publication Date


Publication Title

Mercer Law Review


securities, retirement investments, Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, PSLRA, Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act, SLUSA


This Article highlights a harmful and far-reaching unintended consequence of two major pieces of securities litigation reform legislation that were passed as part of the Republican party's Contract with America in the mid-1990s. These reforms were justified, in part, on the grounds that they would benefit investors by improving disclosure of financial information by corporations. However, for many aggrieved investors, the effect of the legislation was just the opposite. Because of inadequate and misleading disclosures made by life insurance companies and their registered representatives, consumers were induced to purchase inappropriate investments carrying excessive fees that reduced the value of their retirement nest eggs. Had the purveyors of these variable annuities adequately disclosed the nature of the product and fully explained the complicated factors that go into a decision to purchase a variable annuity, most consumers would not have purchased variable annuities with tax-deferred moneys from their Individual Retirement Accounts (“IRAs”) and 401(k)s.