Displaying items by tag: annuities
Annuities have had a very strong 18 months or so. Ever since the pandemic began, demand has risen. Additionally, the pending inclusion of annuities in 401(k) plans will be a tailwind. However, a new regulation was just put in place in Connecticut which could spell trouble for the asset class. The state just put annuities under a best interest rule, the 16th state to do so. States have continued to use the National Association for Insurance Commissioners’ model rule as a template for covering annuities under BI legislation.
FINSUM: How far might this go? We think not too much further, if only because many of the states that would want to pass a fiduciary rule for annuities have already done so, which means that even if the DOL drags its feet on its new rule, most of the state-level regulations would have already happened.
The annuities market is healthy and doing well. According to Ken Burger, national sales director for annuities at Luma, “When you look at our current market environment of minimal low fixed-income yields, high levels of volatility, and fears of mounting inflation, it’s easy to see the attractiveness of the annuity category”. The issue for advisors though is that annuities have long been a complicated and crowded space that is too complex and time-consuming for advisors. That is where Luma is trying to expand the market, as they have a slick annuities comparison tool that allows advisors to easily compare annuities side-by-side.
FINSUM:Annuities are a great fit for the current market given ultra-low rates and the huge mass of Americans who are retiring. Check out Luma.
As inflammatory as it may sound, most of the time media coverage on annuities does not speak the whole truth about why advisors often have a negative opinion of annuities. Of course, there are quite legitimate reasons like higher fees and the possibility of an esoteric product not being a good deal for what a specific retiree actually needs. However, when you get down to it, fee-based advisors have a significant financial incentive to dislike annuities. That incentive? It is that the advisor will not earn fees on the assets in an annuity, which means a client buying one can take recurring revenue out of an advisor’s pocket.
FINSUM: There are legitimate issues with annuities—including bad sales practices in the past—but when you realize this simple fact, it doubly reminds one why brokers sell 99.9% of annuities.
The annuities market has not been known for a great deal of innovation. But just like the industry’s reputation, things are improving dramatically. Entrepreneur.com has put out their new annuity awards and the best newcomer award goes to Brighthouse Financial. In just four years the innovative new annuities provider has gone from inception to a multi-billion Dollar annuities seller each quarter. It’s easy to see why. At the heart of their lineup are their FlexChoice Access and Shield products. FlexChoice Access is part of Brighthouse’s variable annuities suite while Shield is an index-linked annuity.
FINSUM: Brighthouse is really changing the game with its new products. For instance, Shield has no annual fees, has guaranteed income, and still offers upside tied to market indices.
n.b. This is sponsored content and not FINSUM editorial
They do not get a great deal of attention, but annuities are having a real moment this year. Total annuities sales jumped 4% in Q1 versus the prior year. That is a pretty nice job for a product many would not think of as “fresh”. Variable annuities drove the gains, with a 7.5% quarterly jump.
FINSUM: Annuities have several tailwinds right now. The giant mass of baby Boomers entering retirement is one, Generation X liking annuities more than older generations is another, as are increasingly accommodative regulatory policies for annuities, such as their inclusion in retirement plans.