Senator Elizabeth Warren conducted an investigation of fifteen leading annuity providers to determine whether they offered their sales agents non-cash incentives and other perks to promote their products. The resulting report, titled Villas, Castles, and Vacations: How Perks and Giveaways Create Conflicts of Interest in the Annuity Industry, asserts that 13 of the 15 companies - or 87% - offered sales bonuses to selling agents whose customers were often unaware of these incentives. According to the report, these sales incentives typically included all-expense-paid trips to vacation destinations, sports event tickets, theatre tickets and jewelry. The report also found that none of the fifteen companies offered its customers a "clear, accessible, specific, and easy to understand explanation" of its agent reward system, third-party marketing organizations, or specific encouragements offered to agents as incentives to sell certain products.
The report concluded that these hidden compensations cost American citizens $17 billion every year.
The purpose of the report is to gain support for the adoption of the Department of Labor's proposed fiduciary rule.