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NY regulator questions investment firms' ties to insurers: WSJ

(Reuters) - New York's top financial regulator has sent subpoenas to several firms seeking information on investments that guarantee steady payments to hundreds of thousands of retirees and other consumers, the Wall Street Journal said on Monday, citing people familiar with the inquiry.

The New York Department of Financial Services has sought information from Apollo Global Management, Guggenheim Partners and Harbinger Group Inc on investments that back so-called fixed annuities, the Journal said.

As more investment firms acquiring or becoming involved with insurance companies the regulator is concerned that insurers are making potentially risky bets with some of the money needed to fulfill contracts that many customers depend on to supplement their Social Security payments and other retirement savings, the paper said.

An Apollo spokesman told the Journal that the firm "looks forward" to providing information to the New York regulator.

A Guggenheim spokesman told the paper that the firm welcomed the inquiry and that it would highlight the benefits of its significant and long-term investments in insurance companies over decades. Harbinger declined to comment to the Journal.

Guggenheim's spokesman Thomas Mulligan said he had no comment to make on the Journal report when contacted by Reuters. Apollo and Harbinger could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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