17 CFR § 270.6e-2 - Exemptions for certain variable life insurance separate accounts.

§ 270.6e-2 Exemptions for certain variable life insurance separate accounts.

(a) A separate account, and the investment adviser, principal underwriter and depositor of such separate account, shall, except for the exemptions provided in paragraph (b) of this section, be subject to all provisions of the Act and this part as though such separate account were a registered investment company issuing periodic payment plan certificates if:

(1) Such separate account is established and maintained by a life insurance company pursuant to the insurance laws or code of:

(i) Any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia; or

(ii) Canada or any province thereof, if it complies to the extent necessary with § 270.7d-1 (Rule 7d-1) under the Act;

(2) The assets of the separate account are derived solely from the sale of variable life insurance contracts as defined in paragraph (c) of this section, and advances made by the life insurance company which established and maintains the separate account (“life insurer”) in connection with the operation of such separate account;

(3) The separate account is not used for variable annuity contracts or for funds corresponding to dividend accumulations or other contract liabilities not involving life contingencies;

(4) The income, gains and losses, whether or not realized, from assets allocated to such separate account, are, in accordance with the applicable variable life insurance contract, credited to or charged against such account without regard to other income, gains or losses of the life insurer;

(5) The separate account is legally segregated, and that portion of its assets having a value equal to, or approximately equal to, the reserves and other contract liabilities with respect to such separate account are not chargeable with liabilities arising out of any other business that the life insurer may conduct;

(6) The assets of the separate account have, at each time during the year that adjustments in the reserves are made, a value at least equal to the reserves and other contract liabilities with respect to such separate account, and at all other times, except pursuant to an order of the Commission, have a value approximately equal to or in excess of such reserves and liabilities; and

(7) The investment adviser of the separate account is registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

(b) If a separate account meets the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, then such separate account and the other persons described in paragraph (a) of this section shall be exempt from the provisions of the Act as follows:

(1) Section 7 (15 U.S.C. 80a-7).

(2) Section 8 (15 U.S.C. 80a-8) to the extent that:

(i) For purposes of paragraph (a) of section 8, the separate account shall file with the Commission a notification on § 274.301 of this chapter (Form N-6EI-1) which identifies such separate account; and

(ii) For purposes of paragraph (b) of section 8, the separate account shall file with the Commission a form to be designated by the Commission within 90 days after filing the notification on Form N-6EI-1; provided, however, that if the fiscal year of the separate account ends within this 90 day period the form may be filed within ninety days after the end of such fiscal year.

(3) Section 9 (15 U.S.C. 80a-9) to the extent that:

(i) The eligibility restrictions of section 9(a) shall not be applicable to those persons who are officers, directors and employees of the life insurer or its affiliates who do not participate directly in the management or administration of the separate account or in the sale of variable life insurance contracts funded by such separate account; and

(ii) A life insurer shall be ineligible pursuant to paragraph (3) of section 9(a) to serve as investment adviser, depositor of or principal underwriter for a variable life insurance separate account only if an affiliated person of such life insurer, ineligible by reason of paragraph (1) or (2) of section 9(a), participates directly in the management or administration of the separate account or in the sale of variable life insurance contracts funded by such separate account.

(4) Section 13(a) (15 U.S.C. 80a-13(a)) to the extent that:

(i) An insurance regulatory authority may require pursuant to insurance law or regulation that the separate account make (or refrain from making) certain investments which would result in changes in the subclassification or investment policies of the separate account;

(ii) Changes in the investment policy of the separate account initiated by contractholders or the board of directors of the separate account may be disapproved by the life insurer, provided that such disapproval is reasonable and is based upon a determination by the life insurer in good faith that:

(A) Such change would be contrary to state law; or

(B) Such change would be inconsistent with the investment objectives of the separate account or would result in the purchase of securities for the separate account which vary from the general quality and nature of investments and investment techniques utilized by other separate accounts of the life insurer or of an affiliated life insurance company, which separate accounts have investment objectives similar to the separate account; and

(iii) Any action taken in accordance with paragraph (b)(4)(i) or (ii) of this section and the reasons therefor shall be disclosed in the proxy statement for the next meeting of variable life insurance contractholders of the separate account.

(5) Section 14(a) (15 U.S.C. 80a-14(a)).

(6)

(i) Section 15(a) (15 U.S.C. 80a-15(a)) to the extent this section requires that the initial written contract pursuant to which the investment adviser serves or acts shall have been approved by the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the registered company; provided that:

(A) Such investment adviser is selected and a written contract is entered into before the effective date of the registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, for variable life insurance contracts which are funded by the separate account, and that the terms of the contract are fully disclosed in such registration statement; and

(B) A written contract is submitted to a vote of variable life insurance contractholders at their first meeting after the effective date of the registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, on condition that such meeting shall take place within one year after such effective date, unless the time for the holding of such meeting shall be extended by the Commission upon written request for good cause shown; and

(ii) Sections 15(a), (b) and (c) (15 U.S.C. 80a-15(a), (b), and (c)) to the extent that:

(A) An insurance regulatory authority may disapprove pursuant to insurance law or regulation any contract between the separate account and an investment adviser or principal underwriter;

(B) Changes in the principal underwriter for the separate account initiated by contractholders or the board of directors of the separate account may be disapproved by the life insurer; provided that such disapproval is reasonable;

(C) Changes in the investment adviser of the separate account initiated by contractholders or the board of directors of the separate account may be disapproved by the life insurer; provided that such disapproval is reasonable and is based upon a determination by the life insurer in good faith that:

(1) The rate of the proposed investment advisory fee will exceed the maximum rate that is permitted to be charged against the assets of the separate account for such services as specified by any variable life insurance contract funded by such separate account; or

(2) The proposed investment adviser may be expected to employ investment techniques which vary from the general techniques utilized by the current investment adviser to the separate account, or advise the purchase or sale of securities which would be inconsistent with the investment objectives of the separate account, or which would vary from the quality and nature of investments made by other separate accounts of the life insurer or of an affiliated life insurance company, which separate accounts have investment objectives similar to the separate account; and

(D) Any action taken in accordance with paragraph (b)(6)(ii)(A), (B), or (C) of this section and the reasons therefor shall be disclosed in the proxy statement for the next meeting of variable life insurance contractholders of the separate account.

(7) Section 16(a) (15 U.S.C. 80a-16(a)) to the extent that:

(i) Persons serving as directors of the separate account prior to the first meeting of such account's variable life insurance contractholders are exempt from the requirement of section 16(a) that such persons be elected by the holders of outstanding voting securities of such account at an annual or special meeting called for that purpose; provided that:

(A) Such persons have been appointed directors of such account by the life insurer before the effective date of the registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, for variable life insurance contracts which are funded by the separate account and are identified in such registration statement (or are replacements appointed by the life insurer for any such persons who have become unable to serve as directors); and

(B) An election of directors for such account shall be held at the first meeting of variable life insurance contractholders after the effective date of the registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, relating to contracts funded by such account, which meeting shall take place within one year after such effective date, unless the time for holding such meeting shall be extended by the Commission upon written request for good cause shown; and

(ii) A member of the board of directors of such separate account may be disapproved or removed by the appropriate insurance regulatory authority if such person is ineligible to serve as a director of the separate account pursuant to insurance law or regulation of the jurisdiction in which the life insurer is domiciled.

(8) Section 17(f) (15 U.S.C. 80a-17(f)) to the extent that the securities and similar investments of the separate account may be maintained in the custody of the life insurer or an insurance company which is an affiliated person of such life insurer; provided that:

(i) The securities and similar investments allocated to such separate account are clearly identified as to ownership by such account, and such securities and similar investments are maintained in the vault of an insurance company which meets the qualifications set forth in paragraph (b)(8)(ii) of this section, and whose procedures and activities with respect to such safekeeping function are supervised by the insurance regulatory authorities of the jurisdiction in which the securities and similar investments will be held;

(ii) The insurance company maintaining such investments must file with an insurance regulatory authority of a State or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia an annual statement of its financial condition in the form prescribed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, must be subject to supervision and inspection by such authority and must be examined periodically as to its financial condition and other affairs by such authority, must hold the securities and similar investments of the separate account in its vault, which vault must be equivalent to that of a bank which is a member of the Federal Reserve System, and must have a combined capital and surplus, if a stock company, or an unassigned surplus, if a mutual company, of not less than $1,000,000 as set forth in its most recent annual statement filed with such authority;

(iii) Access to such securities and similar investments shall be limited to employees of or agents authorized by the Commission, representatives of insurance regulatory authorities, independent public accountants for the separate account, accountants for the life insurer and to no more than 20 persons authorized pursuant to a resolution of the board of directors of the separate account, which persons shall be directors of the separate account, officers and responsible employees of the life insurer or officers and responsible employees of the affiliated insurance company in whose vault such investments are maintained (if applicable), and access to such securities and similar investments shall be had only by two or more such persons jointly, at least one of whom shall be a director of the separate account or officer of the life insurer;

(iv) The requirement in paragraph (b)(8)(i) of this section that the securities and similar investments of the separate account be maintained in the vault of a qualified insurance company shall not apply to securities deposited with insurance regulatory authorities or deposited in a system for the central handling of securities established by a national securities exchange or national securities association registered with the Commission under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or such person as may be permitted by the Commission, or to securities on loan which are collateralized to the extent of their full market value, or to securities hypothecated, pledged, or placed in escrow for the account of such separate account in connection with a loan or other transaction authorized by specific resolution of the board of directors of the separate account, or to securities in transit in connection with the sale, exchange, redemption, maturity or conversion, the exercise of warrants or rights, assents to changes in terms of the securities, or to other transactions necessary or appropriate in the ordinary course of business relating to the management of securities;

(v) Each person when depositing such securities or similar investments in or withdrawing them from the depository or when ordering their withdrawal and delivery from the custody of the life insurer or affiliated insurance company, shall sign a notation in respect of such deposit, withdrawal or order which shall show:

(A) The date and time of the deposit, withdrawal, or order;

(B) The title and amount of the securities or other investments deposited, withdrawn or ordered to be withdrawn, and an identification thereof by certificate numbers or otherwise;

(C) The manner of acquisition of the securities or similar investments deposited or the purpose for which they have been withdrawn, or ordered to be withdrawn; and

(D) If withdrawn and delivered to another person the name of such person. Such notation shall be transmitted promptly to an officer or director of the separate account or the life insurer designated by the board of directors of the separate account who shall not be a person designated for the purpose of paragraph (b)(8)(iii) of this section. Such notation shall be on serially numbered forms and shall be preserved for at least one year;

(vi) Such securities and similar investments shall be verified by complete examination by an independent public accountant retained by the separate account at least three times during each fiscal year, at least two of which shall be chosen by such accountant without prior notice to such separate account. A certificate of such accountant stating that he has made an examination of such securities and investments and describing the nature and extent of the examination shall be transmitted to the Commission by the accountant promptly after each examination; and

(vii) Securities and similar investments of a separate account maintained with a bank or other company whose functions and physical facilities are supervised by Federal or state authorities pursuant to any arrangement whereby the directors, officers, employees or agents of the separate account or the life insurer are authorized or permitted to withdraw such investments upon their mere receipt are deemed to be in the custody of the life insurer and shall be exempt from the requirements of section 17(f) so long as the arrangement complies with all provisions of paragraph (b)(8) of this section, except that such securities will be maintained in the vault of a bank or other company rather than the vault of an insurance company.

(9) Section 18(i) (15 U.S.C. 80a-18(i)) to the extent that:

(i) For the purposes of any section of the Act which provides for the vote of securityholders on matters relating to the investment company:

(A) Variable life insurance contractholders shall have one vote for each $100 of cash value funded by the separate account, with fractional votes allocated for amounts less than $100;

(B) The life insurer shall have one vote for each $100 of assets of the separate account not otherwise attributable to contractholders pursuant to paragraph (b)(9)(i)(A) of this section, with fractional votes allocated for amounts less than $100; provided that after the commencement of sales of variable life insurance contracts funded by the separate account, the life insurer shall cast its votes for and against each matter which may be voted upon by contractholders in the same proportion as the votes cast by contractholders; and

(C) The number of votes to be allocated shall be determined as of a record date not more than 90 days prior to any meeting at which such vote is held; provided that if a quorum is not present at the meeting, the meeting may be adjourned for up to 60 days without fixing a new record date; and

(ii) The requirement of this section that every share of stock issued by a registered management investment company (except a common-law trust of the character described in section 16(c)) shall be a voting stock and have equal voting rights with every other outstanding voting stock shall not be deemed to be violated by actions specifically permitted by any provision of this section.

(10) Section 19 (15 U.S.C. 80a-19) to the extent that the provisions of this section shall not be applicable to any dividend or similar distribution paid or payable pursuant to provisions of participating variable life insurance contracts.

(11) Sections 22(d), 22(e), and 27(i)(2)(A) (15 U.S.C. 80a-22(d), 80a-22(e), and 80a-27(i)(2)(A), respectively) and § 270.22c-1 (Rule 22c-1) promulgated under section 22(c) to the extent:

(i) That the amount payable on death and the cash surrender value of each variable life insurance contract shall be determined on each day during which the New York Stock Exchange is open for trading, not less frequently than once daily as of the time of the close of trading on such exchange; provided that the amount payable on death need not be determined more than once each contract month if such determination does not reduce the participation of the contract in the investment experience of the separate account; provided further, however, that if the net valuation premium for such contract is transferred at least annually, then the amount payable on death need be determined only when such net premium is transferred; and

(ii) Necessary for compliance with this section or with insurance laws and regulations and established administrative procedures of the life insurer with respect to issuance, transfer and redemption procedures for variable life insurance contracts funded by the separate account including, but not limited to, premium rate structure and premium processing, insurance underwriting standards, and the particular benefit afforded by the contract; provided, however, that any procedure or action shall be reasonable, fair and not discriminatory to the interests of the affected contractholder and to all other holders of contracts of the same class or series funded by the separate account; and, further provided that any such action shall be disclosed in the form required to be filed by the separate account with the Commission pursuant to paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

(12) Section 27(i)(2)(A) (15 U.S.C. 80a-27(i)(A)), to the extent that such sections require that the variable life insurance contract be redeemable or provide for a refund in cash; provided that such contract provides for election by the contractholder of a cash surrender value or certain non-forfeiture and settlement options which are required or permitted by the insurance law or regulation of the jurisdiction in which the contract is offered; and further provided that unless required by the insurance law or regulation of the jurisdiction in which the contract is offered or unless elected by the contractholder, such contract shall not provide for the automatic imposition of any option, including, but not limited to, an automatic premium loan, which would involve the accrual or payment of an interest or similar charge;

(13) Section 32(a)(2) (15 U.S.C. 80a-31(a)(2)); provided that:

(i) The independent public accountant is selected before the effective date of the registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, for variable life insurance contracts which are funded by the separate account, and the identity of such accountant is disclosed in such registration statement; and

(ii) The selection of such accountant is submitted for ratification or rejection to variable life insurance contractholders at their first meeting after the effective date of the registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, on condition that such meeting shall take place within one year after such effective date, unless the time for the holding of such meeting shall be extended by the Commission upon written request for good cause shown.

(14) If the separate account is organized as a unit investment trust, all the assets of which consist of the shares of one or more registered management investment companies which offer their shares exclusively to variable life insurance separate accounts of the life insurer or of any affiliated life insurance company:

(i) The eligibility restrictions of section 9(a) (15 U.S.C. 80a-9(a)) shall not be applicable to those persons who are officers, directors, and employees of the life insurer or its affiliates who do not participate directly in the management or administration of any registered management investment company described in paragraph (b)(14) introductory text;

(ii) The life insurer shall be ineligible pursuant to paragraph (3) of section 9(a) to serve as investment adviser of or principal underwriter for any registered management investment company described in paragraph (b)(14) of this section only if an affiliated person of such life insurer, ineligible by reason of paragraph (1) or (2) of section 9(a), participates in the management or administration of such company;

(iii) The life insurer may vote shares of the registered management investment companies held by the separate account without regard to instructions from contractholders of the separate account if such instructions would require such shares to be voted:

(A) To cause such companies to make (or refrain from making) certain investments which would result in changes in the sub-classification or investment objectives of such companies or to approve or disapprove any contract between such companies and an investment adviser when required to do so by an insurance regulatory authority subject to the provisions of paragraphs (b)(4)(i) and (b)(6)(ii)(A) of this section; or

(B) In favor of changes in investment objectives, investment adviser of or principal underwriter for such companies subject to the provisions of paragraphs (b)(4)(ii) and (b)(6)(ii)(B) and (C) of this section;

(iv) Any action taken in accordance with paragraph (b)(14)(iii)(A) or (B) of this section and the reasons therefor shall be disclosed in the next report to contractholders made pursuant to section 30(e) (15 U.S.C. 80a-29(e)) and § 270.30e-2 (Rule 30e-2);

(v) Any registered management investment company established by the insurer and described in paragraph (b)(14) of this section shall be exempt from section 14(a); and

(vi) Any registered management investment company established by the insurer and described in paragraph (b)(14) of this section shall be exempt from sections 15(a), 16(a), and 32(a)(2) (15 U.S.C. 80a-15(a), 80-16(a), and 80-31(a)(2), respectively), to the extent prescribed by paragraphs (b)(6)(i), (b)(7)(i), and (b)(13) of this section, provided that such company complies with the conditions set forth in those paragraphs as if it were a separate account.

(c) When used in this section, variable life insurance contract means a contract of life insurance, subject to regulation under the insurance laws or code of every jurisdiction in which it is offered, funded by a separate account of a life insurer, which contract, so long as premium payments are duly paid in accordance with its terms, provides for:

(1) A death benefit and cash surrender value which vary to reflect the investment experience of the separate account;

(2) An initial stated dollar amount of death benefit, and payment of a death benefit guaranteed by the life insurer to be at least equal to such stated amount; and

(3) Assumption of the mortality and expense risks thereunder by the life insurer for which a charge against the assets of the separate account may be assessed. Such charge shall be disclosed in the prospectus and shall not be less than fifty per centum of the maximum charge for risk assumption as disclosed in the prospectus and as provided for in the contract.

[85 FR 26102, May 1, 2020]

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