out a electronic system to simplify the distribution of insurance products. The system, due to be available by the end of the year, would connect banks and brokerages that distribute insurance products with insurance companies and clearing agents, said Charles E. Naddaff, president of First Connect. Both the carriers and clearing agents would ultimately be part- owners, said Mr. Naddaff. The Windows-based system would eventually carry products from multiple carriers, enabling brokers to transact and clear annuities sales in one sweep. The Boston-based insurer New England Financial has a 50% stake in the company. First Connect is also in discussions with BHC Securities Inc., a clearing firm in Philadelphia, about taking an equity stake in the firm, Mr. Naddaff said. The aim is to create access to multiple providers, which many regional broker-dealers and some banks do not have, he added.++ Phase 1 will involve sales and distribution of variable annuities, and phase 2 will add fixed annuities and variable life products to the mix.

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