by Structured Settlement Watchdog
As I've previously opined "Secondary Market Annuity" is a scam label for an investment of a sum of money in structured settlement payment rights, which is indisputably not an annuity and which brings more risk and a lack of regulatory oversight than a real annuity, that brings suitability for injury victims into question.
There have been two attempts to trademark the term "secondary market annuities" first by an individual and then an entity out of the Portland Oregon area and the descriptions filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in those failed applications are most interesting.
The first was by Thomas B Hamlin of Somerset Wealth filed 04/10/2012 USPTO File #85593963
Annuity services, namely, account and investment administration; Annuity services, namely, account and investment administration and the investment and distribution of annuity funds; Annuity underwriting; Financial services, namely, providing an investment option available for variable annuity and variable life insurance products; Investment management of and distribution of annuities; Investment management of and distribution of variable annuities; Issuance and administration of annuities; Underwriting, issuance and administration of annuities. The USPTO denied the registration
An identical submission was filed by jointly by Tyson Wright and SMA Hub Inc. USPTO File # 86251800.
The USPTO rejected SMA Hub's attempt on similar grounds. In its July 23, 2014 office action rejecting SMA Hubs filing, the USPTO cites Marketwatch "Here, the attached definition from Marketwatch.com shows that the wording “secondary market annuity” refers to a type of investment in which an investor purchases “the right to receive the contractual guarantees (typically in payment form) from the original annuity policy.”
The USPTO office action in response to the SMA Hub filing appears to question the tie-in between the description in the filing with what is actually being sold.
"The applicant must respond to the following questions for the application record:
- Do applicant’s services feature or relate to secondary market annuities?
- If so, please explain.
- Do applicant’s promotional materials mention secondary market annuities?
- If so, please explain and provide a copy of such materials. This may take the form of a fact sheet, an instruction manual, and/or advertisements or promotional materials. If such materials are not available, the applicant must submit a detailed description of the investments and annuities features by applicant’s services or which are the subject matter of applicant’s services".
SMA Hub never responded and the filing was abandoned.
Exhibits attached to the USPTO office action had this to say about "secondary market annuities" (the un-annuity)
"My bottom line: Steer clear of the product. The time-honored insight holds: A higher yield means greater risks. I don't see anything "safe" about a secondary market annuity for the average retiree". The Skinny on Secondary Market Annuities Chris Farrell Economics editor Marketplace, February 10, 2012, in response to a retiree who asked "I am retired and would like to safely increase income. What is a secondary market annuity? Is it a suitable vehicle for putting a portion of retirement funds to safely increase guaranteed retirement income?"
"But as is so often the case when investments are promoted on the basis of high yield, these deals are unsuitable for most investors. Even in the rare situations when they might make sense, you must proceed with extraordinary caution" Jason Zweig Wall Street Journal. Another Can't-Miss Deal That Can Miss Spectacularly