Wealth Management

Fidelity recently conducted a survey of advisors and found that only 26% currently have exposure to alternative investments. In contrast, 86% of institutional investors have exposure to the asset class. 

 

The survey also revealed that many advisors are looking for more resources to help them evaluate various alternative offerings before they feel comfortable recommending them to clients. This is despite other surveys showing that many advisors would like to increase allocation to alternatives due to their benefits such as diversification and non-correlated returns. 

 

Specifically, advisors cited the need for more due diligence on strategies and managers in addition to concerns about liquidity as obstacles to adoption. Many also indicated the difficulty of communicating with clients about these products given the number of options and complexities.

 

Adding to the challenge is that each clients’ appropriate exposure to alternatives depends on factors like time horizon, liquidity needs, and eligibility. This level of customization increases the burden on advisors to understand various options in a comprehensive manner. 

 

In order to address these problems, Fidelity is expanding research on various alternative investment strategies. Initially, the research will focus on private credit, private real assets, and private equity funds. According to the company, these types of tools and resources will accelerate adoption of alternatives by advisors. 


Finsum: A recent survey by Fidelity showed that many advisors have been slow to adopt alternatives. A primary reason is that advisors have a need for more due diligence on the various products and strategies before they feel comfortable recommending them to clients.

In 2023, the US annuity market flourished amid strong economic conditions and heightened investment security concerns, reaching an unprecedented milestone with sales hitting a record $385 billion, as reported by Limra's US Individual Annuity Sales Survey. 

 

Helping drive home this surge were fixed indexed annuities also witnessed robust growth, reaching $95.6 billion in sales, while traditional variable annuities faced a decline, recording their lowest sales figures in both quarterly and annual comparisons.

 

This annuity renaissance, a 23 percent increase from 2022, was also aided by the fixed annuity segment, which soared by 36 percent to $286.2 billion, marking a second consecutive year of record-breaking performance. Additionaly, traditional variable annuities were outstripped by registered index linked annuities for the first time ever.


Finsum: Index annuities are having an edge in the current macro environment with volatility looming but investors wanting higher return.

With signs that inflation is starting to tick higher and renewed concerns about the stability of banks, many investors are looking to shield their portfolio from a rise in volatility. As 2022 demonstrated, rising inflation creates conditions that are unfavorable for stocks and bonds. 

 

One way that investors can protect their portfolios is to increase their allocation to fixed index annuities. They can help investors reduce risk while still allowing for accumulation. A fixed index annuity (FIA) functions similarly to a traditional annuity as it guarantees some payment while allowing for deferral of taxes. However, the key difference is that it also tracks a specific index to allow for appreciation of the principal as well. 

 

Unlike fixed income or equities, there is much less downside risk and sensitivity to interest rates. Essentially, the FIA will not see any loss of principal in the event that the index suffers losses. However if the index has positive returns, the FIA will capture some portion of the upside. 

 

Thus, FIAs can help reduce portfolio risk and shield investors from disastrous scenarios especially if they are in or near retirement. At the same time, it ensures that the portfolio is also protected against inflation, reducing the risk that a retiree will outlive their savings.


Finsum: Risks to the outlook have been steadily rising in 2024 as inflationary pressures are once again building, and there are renewed concerns about the health of the banking system. Here’s why fixed indexed annuities are an effective way that investors can diversify and de-risk their portfolios.

 

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