Displaying items by tag: bear market
Any advisor even remotely familiar with annuities will know that while the two share the nomenclature of being “annuities”, fixed and variable annuities are very different. Fixed annuities protect principal and give limited upside, all with the design of trying to outperform CDs. Variable annuities do not protect principal, but offer much more flexibility and choice in allocation and give good upside. They do have fairly stringent rules during the accumulation phase, but that can lead to good income in the payout phase. In terms of the current market, there are two ways to look at it, and the proper investment depends on the age and position of the client. If the client is younger and wants capital appreciation, then the current market may offer a good entry point for a variable annuity. If someone is nearing retirement, locking in principal protection is likely crucial, so fixed annuities would be preferable.
FINSUM: The reality is that a lot of clients are going to be liking the security of principal protection in the current environment (which makes some sense), so those are probably going to be the most apposite for the current market.
Markets are off to their worst start in recent memory. With oil having plunged 30% earlier in the day, US markets opened to a very abrupt 7% decline. The sharp plunge triggered an automatic market halt of 15 minutes. At the time of writing, the Dow is down 6.37% and the S&P 500 is down 6.19%. US Bond yields plunged too, with the 10-year Treasury at one point having a 0.43% yield. Janus Henderson summarized the markets best, saying “In just over two weeks, investor sentiment has swung from complacency to panic … What started as a virus-driven de-risking has now mutated into a broad-based, multi-asset capitulation”.
FINSUM: It is looking ever more like global central banks are going to have to step in with coordinated stimulus. That said, a virus is a unique kind of panic that cannot be instantly resolved. A recession now appears more likely than not.
Imagine retiring this month. The Dow’s recent bottom means it was 18%+ off its peak. That is a really rough time to be entering the late stages of a career or early stages of retirement. One option for those worried about protecting income is a fixed index annuity. The insurance product guarantees full principal and is designed to offer upside as well. The idea is to have their yields outperform the market, but at the same time offer full downside protection.
FINSUM: Fixed index annuities are probably going to see a big rise in popularity this year given how poorly the stock market is doing. Worth consideration.
Storied research firm Bernstein Research has a recommendation for you, and it is a brave one—buy stocks. The firm says that on a tactical buying basis, it is time for investors to re-enter the market. Bernstein acknowledges that they have no idea when the coronavirus situation will clear up, but that given the general decline in indexes and that fact that sentiment has swung negative, it only makes sense to buy because the market has become too bearish.
FINSUM: We have to give Bernstein credit here for a bold call. Most analyst teams tend to hide or vacillate, but this is a strong call.
The market is currently in a rough patch. Even with yesterday’s big rally, the near-term prognosis for stocks could be quite bearish. That said, one product that would clearly benefit from a bear market is fixed index annuities. Because they are designed for principal protection (with limited upside), they tend to do very well during down markets, with clients showing ample demand. They are also not overly vulnerable to the Fed cutting rates, so taken altogether, they may be a perfect product for this market.
FINSUM: It seems like a good time for fixed index annuities, and we suspect clients will be showing good demand for the product given widespread anxiety.