Securities and Exchange Commission Investment Management Division Director Norm Champ told annuities industry professionals Tuesday that their communications with consumers needs to improve because the investments have become more complex.

It is important customers be told how annuities may meet and not meet their retirement objectives, said Champ, adding he is concerned the complexity may not always be clearly disclosed.

“Only you know if your disclosures accurately state your products,” said the regulator before an Insured Retirement Institute Conference in Washington, D.C.

He cautioned any deficiencies should be fixed immediately.

Champ said his SEC unit is on the watch for the names of annuities that imply high levels of safety the products don’t provide.

Commenting on his division’s effort to develop a variable annuity prospectus summary proposal, he said the SEC’s rules for mutual fund summary prospectuses adopted in 2009 would be a useful model because they have made those documents more concise and user friendly.

He said the annuity summary prospectus should tell the full story of the product and ideally give each investor information tailored to his or her needs.

Champ said he does not know when the proposal will be released.

Adding his voice to Champ’s call for better disclosure, Investment Management Division Office of Insurance Products and Regulation Assistant Director Bill Kotapish said the feature of some structured annuities that has the company assuming the first 10 percent to 20 percent of the risk with the investor assuming the rest needs to be communicated crystal clear.