Money Odds & Ends

Wisconsin insurance commissioner urges caution regarding annuities
Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg is urging insurance consumers to be cautious about replacing or liquidating their annuities, particularly those that may be underwritten by the AIG insurance companies, despite the current volatility in financial markets.

"Consumers should understand the full impact of any decisions they may make to liquidate or replace annuities they already hold," Dilweg said. "If you liquidate or replace an annuity you currently own, you may be incurring significant surrender charges or experience adverse tax consequences. My office will be monitoring the suitability of annuity sales for activity that would appear to take advantage of the recent turmoil in financial markets."

Annuities are insurance products regulated by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI). OCI licenses both companies and agents and monitors their activities.

Dilweg said state law requires a suitability analysis before the sale or replacement of any annuity product. A suitability analysis should include an evaluation of a consumer’s financial position, income needs and cost of liquidating any assets.

Consumers are encouraged to discuss any changes to their financial plan with a trusted advisor or family member before altering their investments.

Consumers should be particularly cautious if they are approached to liquidate annuities issued by an AIG insurance company because of the recent activity concerning AIG Holdings Inc., Dilweg said.

"The AIG insurance companies are separately regulated by state insurance regulators and do not have the financial stress that AIG Holdings, Inc. is experiencing. They are meeting all their obligations to their policyholders. Consumers who feel pressured to replace annuities because of claims the insurer is under financial stress are encouraged to contact OCI," Dilweg said.

More consumer tips regarding annuities are in the Wisconsin Buyers Guide to Annuities, which can be found at http://oci.wi.gov/pub_list/pi-016.pdf or by contacting the OCI at 1-800-236-8517.

Native American tribes to form economic consortium
Representatives from several Native American tribes, including the Forest Band of Potawatomi Nation of Wisconsin and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, will gather at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian on Tuesday, Sept. 23, to announce the launch of the first-ever Native American economic consortium.

Called the Native American Group, initial participants also will include the Seminole Tribe of Florida; the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Connecticut; the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, California; the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Oregon; the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Colorado; the Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota; and the Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation, North Dakota.

The Native American Group will bring the most economically advantaged tribes – especially those with diverse business interests – together to leverage their collective buying power to benefit all of "Indian Country."

Through a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs, the consortium has enlisted the support of federal officials to help identify additional tribes to participate in consortium programs.

"Our overall goal is economic development for more than 500 Indian tribes," said Richard Bowers, president of the board of directors of the Seminole Tribe. "We want to spread economic opportunity in ‘Indian Country’ by encouraging more tribes to get into business and by offering more products and services to each other. The consortium offers a ready-made market for tribes with available products or the opportunity to develop them."

Baird advisors top ranked by Research magazine
A financial advisor team from R.W. Baird & Co. has been recognized as one of the "Top-Ranked Advisor Teams in America" in the September issue of Research magazine.

The team recognized includes managing directors and financial advisors Michael Klein, Gerald Gerndt, and James Schultz; and managing director and senior investment consultant Philip Dallman. The team manages assets for high net worth families and individuals with complex financial needs, as well as business owners and corporate executives. 

"We are very proud that Baird is home to some of the industry’s best financial advisor teams such as The Private Asset Management Group," said Mike Schroeder, director of private wealth management. "Teamwork is a key component of our comprehensive approach to financial planning and wealth management, enabling us to provide the best financial advice and service to our clients."

M&I employees volunteer with Habitat for Humanity
On Sept. 13, Marshall & Ilsley Corp. employees volunteered for the 7th annual M&I Community Day, when they painted, installed drywall and hung insulation at six Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity homes in the city of Milwaukee. The project was in conjunction with a grant from the M&I Foundation. "When we learned about Habitat for Humanity’s need for volunteers to work on several houses, we knew the project would be a good fit for our annual M&I Community Day activity," said M&I President and CEO Mark Furlong.

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