Wealth Management


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(New York)

Data from 2020 is in and it is clear: annuities are increasingly popular among advisors, and we mean that in the strictest sense of “advisors”. Annuities sales have not just grown with broker-dealers, but also with RIAs. For many years RIAs shunned annuities, but recently two major changes have made RIAs warm to them. Firstly, annuities compensation has become more aligned with RIA pay models, and secondly, with so many clients retiring in a period of high volatility, there is a greater need than ever before. According to David Lau, CEO of DPL Financial, “RIAs historically have used mostly investment-only variable annuities with the occasional single-premium immediate annuity mixed in, and that is because annuities until recently haven’t been built to fit into their business model. He continued “One of the things that’s misunderstood about annuities is that in a low-interest-rate environment, it’s something you may not want to consider … In today’s market with interest rates where they are, it is about 41% more expensive to fund retirement income using a bond portfolio than it is using an annuity.”

FINSUM: That last quote about the affordability of annuities is a really key point. Annuities can play an important role in a portfolio more cheaply than most instruments right now, and do so with less risk.

(New York)

Annuities have had a good 12 months and it is starting to seem like they are entering a golden age. Not only are the country’s demographics trending in favor of annuities, but the last year’s volatility and the recent rule change allowing annuities into 401(k)s are big tailwinds. Another big trend which helps is that since more and more companies are opting to offer 401(k) programs instead of DB plans, then people are ever more in need of guaranteed income. According to AIG, “It’s less about the vehicle. More plan sponsors and participants need to get comfortable with the creation of income … The only way to get guaranteed income is to annuitize retirement benefits. The question then is will annuities be offered in-plan or out-of-plan”.

FINSUM: The market and regulatory context are becoming better and better for utilizing annuities for clients. It might be time to think about these options if you aren’t already.

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