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Articles | Industry Trends

Week of 29 October to 4 November 2018

Short-Seller Makes a Pessimist's Case Against China Oceanwide-Genworth Deal
4 November 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“An investment research firm that makes money when the price of Genworth Financial Inc. common stock goes down — says regulators will reject efforts by China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co. Ltd. to acquire Genworth.”

What's in a name?

If You Hate Annuities, You May Not Understand Them (Kiplinger)
4 November 2018 – Stephen Kelley – The Lowell Sun
“Over $13 trillion sits in DC retirement plans, yet most provide no way to actually retire on them. A huge trillion-dollar industry exists around depositing the money, but no way to spend. It's almost as if they don't want us to use it.”

NMSU marketing professor studies consumer-salesman interaction
3 November 2018 – Carlos Andres Lopez – Las Cruces Sun News
“High-involvement” purchases are major investments that tend to be costly and hold great significance to the consumer – and could potentially have negative consequences if the consumer doesn’t get the purchase “right.” Other items that fit into this category include the purchase of a wedding ring or buying a complex financial or insurance product, like an annuity.”

NAIC Working Group Plans Deeper Dive Into Annuity Illustrations
2 November 2018 – John Hilton – InsuranceNewsNet
“A state insurance commissioners' working group wants more time to consider tweaks to a plan allowing insurers to illustrate indexed annuities using indices that have been around less than 10 years. During their latest conference call today, the Annuity Disclosure Working Group seemingly reached an impasse when John Robinson of Minnesota proposed changes. The substantive change would double the 10-year limitation to 20 years.”

An Industry Haunted by Its Own History
1 November 2018 – Kerry Pechter – Retirement Income Journal
“why hasn’t the life insurance industry capitalized on the Boomer retirement opportunity to the degree that it hoped, expected and, in its mind, deserved to?”

For Annuities, It’s Looking Like A Very Good Year
1 November 2018 – Ben Mattlin – Financial Advisor
“In late summer, the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute released several startling facts about the annuities market:”

How Do You Actually Create A Steady Retirement Paycheck From A Volatile Retirement Portfolio?
31 October 2018 – Michael Kitces – Nerd’s Eye View
You can tell the consumer they could use an annuity and have the income automatically sent to their checking account, or if they want to get income from their investments they can follow the advice in this 3000+ word treatise – Jack

New LIMRA Research Shows Consumers Buy Annuities to Create Income for Retirement

How Do You Measure the Effects of Owning an Annuity? (ThinkAdvisor)

Tens Of Millions Of Americans Lack Protected Lifetime Income For Retirement (InsuranceNewsNet)
30 October 2018 – Press Release – LIMRA
“A LIMRA study of annuity owners finds the top two reasons consumers buy annuities are to supplement Social Security/pension income and to receive guaranteed income payments for life.”

Suitability Working Group Stirs Ingredients For Suitability Model Potion

State Regulators Unveil Annuity Sales Rules Draft ... Here's What it Means for Advice (Fin Adv IQ)
30 October 2018 - Ann Young Black, Jamie Bigayer & Adriana A. Perez – Mondaq
“The draft revised Suitability Model would also allow the NAIC to join the party with the Securities and Exchange Commission and perhaps the Department of Labor as these federal agencies perform their wizardry on the standard of care rulemaking. On October 25, the NAIC Staff for the Suitability WG published a draft revised Suitability Model (October 25th Draft) incorporating the NAIC's notes of the revisions discussed below among others.”

4 Ways New Annuity Market Options Can Open Doors
29 October 2018 – Chris Conklin – ThinkAdvisor
“When it comes to purchasing the right annuity, every client wants and needs something different. One thing most clients have in common, however, is the desire to make meaningful choices. With so many different annuities out there, it can be difficult for clients to know every option that is available to help them reach their financial goals. That means it falls to you, their trusted resource, to help them find the best options to make those choices.”

How and Why Annuities Sales Soared After Death of the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule
29 October 2018 – Alex Padalka – Financial Advisor IQ
“The door has opened for bad brokers to have more free rein with these things”


Week of 24 September to 30 September 2018

The Bull Market Could Ruin Your Retirement

The Financial Planners Teaching Frugal Retirees to Live It Up (related)
28 September 2018 – Suzanne Woolley – Bloomberg Businessweek
“For retirees who take annual withdrawals from savings, a long stretch of below-average returns early on can make it impossible for a portfolio to fully recover.”

Tree-Based Models for the Efficient Valuation of Large Variable Annuity Portfolios
28 September 2018 – Zhiyu Quan, Guojun Gan & Emiliano Valdezb – Social Science Research Network
This is largely two dozen pages of algebra and the focus is hedging longevity risk in variable annuities, but they think they’ve found better formulas. This might also be applied to GLWB risk in fixed annuities – Jack

Annuities Can Be Good, Bad Or Ugly

Disadvantages of having annuities (Pauls Valley Daily Democrat)
27 September 2018 – Eve Kaplan - Forbes
“The annuity firm makes money in part by gobbling up all of the dividend income an annuitant otherwise would earn in a regular account.”

House Passes Bill With 401(k) Plan Annuitization Safe Harbor

House approves retirement-savings bill that eases use of annuities (InvestmentNews)
27 September 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Members of the House today passed a version of H.R. 6757 that includes a retirement plan annuitization provision sought by the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), and other financial services organizations.”

Johns Creek woman, 97, snared in annuity’s fine print
27 September 2018 – Willoughby Mariano – The Atlantic Journal Constitution
“Two decades ago, the concept seemed simple enough [but] When her family checked her finances, they discovered that except for small quarterly payments, her $80,000 was locked away until she turned 105.”

Reports That Annuities Continue to Grow in Popularity
26 September – Jacob Maslow – equities.com
“Retirees and other investors are encouraged not to overlook annuities as an investment vehicle. In recent news, annuities continue to grow in popularity; especially for the underfunded middle class.”

4 Ways Wellness Can Cost Annuity Clients a Fortune
Health-care planning presents an opportunity for advisers (InvestmentNews)
25 September 2018 – Marlene Satter – ThinkAdvisor
The top headline could have been worded better. The paper’s focus is on the uncertainty of future medical costs and suggests using a variable or fixed index annuity with a GLWB to ensure that income does not run out during retirement. [http://healthycapital.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Healthcare-Annuities-and-Retirement.pdf] - Jack

Aegon sees one-time benefit of $1 billion from merging U.S. subsidiaries
25 September 2018 – Staff – Reuters
“Aegon said on Tuesday it expects a one-time benefit of $1 billion in capital generation after merging its Arizona-based variable annuity captive with Transamerica Life Insurance Company.”

More Than Half of All U.S. Workers Have Difficulty Understanding Retirement Savings in Terms of Future Monthly Income
25 September 2018 – Staff – LIMRA
“Many American workers often focus on their retirement account balances and don’t always understand how it will translate into income during their retirement years.”

When To Replace Bonds With Annuities
25 September 2018 – Bob Carlson – Forbes
“Fixed annuities and fixed indexed annuities offer several advantages over bonds and bond funds, while maintaining the diversification benefits. The biggest advantage is that the insurer guarantees the value of your principal. Even if interest rates rise, the value of your principal remains the same. In addition, you’ll earn interest on the principal.”

Who Uses Annuities, Who Doesn't?
25 September 2018 – Marlene Satter – ThinkAdvisor
The key takeaway is this study shows the answer if you ask people “You don’t want to buy an annuity where all your remaining money goes to the insurance company when you die, do you?” The answer is a lot of people will say no. No surprise, that’s been the answer for 50 years. The only revelation is people that think a life annuity with period certain is a fair deal are more likely to buy than those that do not. The survey does not answer who uses annuities and who doesn’t. Nothing new to see here – Jack


Week of 3 September to 9 September 2018

 Investing for longevity in retirement
8 September 2018 – Ryan Fox – Gettysburg Times
As an annual fee advisory firm “We are used to the big drops of 2008…Fixed index annuities aren’t the answer. You need liquidity and the right to change your mind – fixed index annuities will deny you these rights.” To paraphrase Queen Gertrude ‘Methinks the advisor doth protest too much’ – Jack

 Long-term health care costs blow up couple's retirement planning
7 September 2018 – Peter Dunn – USAToday
“Instead of simply purchasing long-term care, you would purchase a multiuse product such as a life insurance policy with long-term care benefits or an annuity with long-term care benefits.”

 NAIC Sets Meeting To Finalize Best Interest Rule For Annuities
7 September 2018 – John Hilton – InsuranceNewsNet
“A National Association of Insurance Commissioners' working group will meet next month in Chicago for two days in hopes of finalizing a best-interest standard for annuity sales. The Annuity Suitability Working Group plans a repeat of its May 31-June 1 meeting in Kansas City, this time Oct. 22-23 in the windy city.”

 Ohio National, a big variable annuity provider, exits the annuity business (Registration Required)

 Ohio National To Lay Off 300, Drop Annuity Lines (InsuranceNewsNet)
7 September – Greg Iacurci – InvestmentNews
“Ohio National will no longer accept applications for annuities as of Sep. 15. Annuities represent the bulk of Ohio National's business — of the firm's $42 billion in total assets under management, $24.9 billion, or 59%, is from annuities.”

 A-CAP and Saybrus Partners Launch New Thematic Indexed Annuity
6 September 2018 – Press Release – Digital Journal
“A-CAP and Saybrus Partners today announced the launch of Retirement Plus Multiplier Annuity, a single premium fixed indexed annuity. The annuity is the latest addition to a wide breadth of products issued by two of A-CAP’s insurance subsidiaries, Sentinel Security Life Insurance Company and Atlantic Coast Life Insurance Company.”

 Ladenburg Adds Kestler Annuity Business
6 September 2018 – Janet Levaux – ThinkAdvisor
“Ladenburg Thalmann — which owns Securities America and four other independent advisor broker-dealers — says its annuity unit has acquired assets and the brand of Kestler Financial Group’s insurance distribution business.”

 Making Annuities Easier for RIAs
6 September 2018 – Kerry Pechter – Retirement Income Journal
“It's no longer a minority report. We talk to executives at Envestnet, DPL Financial, RetireOne, Allianz Life and United Capital about new platforms for helping registered investment advisors integrate insurance products into retirement plans for clients. Has a long-awaited tipping point arrived?”

 Structured ETFs offer fresh twist on popular variable annuity strategy
6 September – Jeff Benjamin – InvestmentNews
“There are lots of investors looking for exposure to the equity markets who want the upside but can't afford to be exposed to downside, or want to limit downside risk,"…He describes the ETF strategies as "a structured annuity without the fees and lockups."

 DOL fiduciary rule caused $14 billion in stock losses for investment firms
5 September – Greg Iacurci – InvestmentNews
“The report examines the stock prices of 36 publicly traded brokerage, mutual fund and life insurance companies, finding they lost a total $14 billion in value as a direct result of the fiduciary rule.”

 2018 Guide To Bond, CD And Annuity Laddering
4 September 2018 – Matt Carey – Forbes
“Rates on bonds, CDs and annuities have all risen in recent months, increasing the relative attractiveness of these financial products. One strategy of investing in these products is to buy multiple products with different maturity dates and create a ladder.”

 This Famously Tricky Investment Product Just Got Easier to Sell. Here's What to Watch Out For

 ON THE MONEY: Seniors be wary of investment advice (Aiken Standard)
4 September 2018 – Elizabeth O’Brien – Money
“Tony D’Amico noticed something new on television this summer: a surge in commercials for annuities, complex insurance products that offer certain guarantees for investors, often at a high price.”

Week of 13 August to 19 August 2018

A.M. Best Ratings

 Managing Longevity Risk – The Case for Longevity-Indexed Variable Expiration (Live) Bonds
18 August 2018 – Arun Muralidharm – Social Science Research Network
At this point, this is only an idea and far from being a product. The idea is for the government to issue longevity bonds that would pay interest for as long as you live – Jack

 Why annuities are a bad idea for almost everyone
18 August 2018 – Marc Lichtenfeld – MarketWatch
A regurgitated article from last March with a new date.

 Fixed-indexed annuities promise a lot, but return on investment can be far lower than advertised
17 August 2018 – Dennis Wagner – Arizona Republic
New date on old and often incorrect news. This reporter called me a while back making several incorrect claims about FIAs, some of them relating to owners losing money when the index fell and things like “if they died the insurance company would keep most of the remaining funds”. I suggested he question his sources because many of his beliefs were incorrect and to call me if he had any other questions. He never did call again, but he apparently did read a peer-reviewed study I once helped write – Jack

 Retirement Plan Annuitization May Be a (Big) Niche Product: TIAA
17 August 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Only about 14% of U.S. retirement plan sponsors told TIAA they think typical plan participants will use either an in-plan annuity or an outside annuity to generate retirement income. But, if about 14% of current U.S. defined contribution plan participants end up using annuities to convert their $7.3 trillion in defined contribution plan assets into income, that could lead to about $1 trillion in plan assets flowing into in-plan annuities, or stand-alone immediate annuities, over the next few decades.”

 Waiting for Higher Annuity Rates Is Unlikely to Pay Off
17 August 2018 – Ken Nuss – MD Magazine
“Is it a smart move to hold off buying a fixed-rate annuity because the Federal Reserve is raising short-term interest rates? It may seem reasonable, but it’s usually not a good idea.”

 Indexed and MYGA Annuities Eat Market Share Pie
15 August 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Analysts at Wink Inc. say sales of indexed annuities and multi-year guaranteed annuity (MYGA) contracts looked great in the second quarter.”

 Financial Planning: Take a look at index annuities
15 August 2018 – Steven Merrell – Montrey Herald
“Q: I went to a dinner recently hosted by someone who was trying to drum up interest in fixed index annuities. She said these kinds of annuities would allow me to benefit from the stock market’s upside while guaranteeing that I wouldn’t lose money if the market went down. It sounds too good to be true.”

 Allianz Makes Entire Annuity Portfolio Available On Envestnet
14 August 2018 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
“Allianz, a big seller of annuities in the U.S., will make its entire fee-and commission-based annuity product portfolio available through the Envestnet Insurance Exchange.”

 Climbing Out Of The Rabbit Hole On Annuity Suitability
14 August 2018 – Jack Aiken – InsuranceNewsNet
“Like Alice, that white rabbit caught our eye and we have tumbled down the rabbit hole. Straight to the bottom. We entered Wonderland, where things are upside down and backwards regarding the prevailing “suitability standards” embraced by regulators.”

 Genworth and China Oceanwide Push Back Deal Deadline
14 August 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“The Chinese company trying to acquire Genworth Financial Inc. has agreed to extend the deal completion deadline and update the deal terms, Genworth said today. Genworth and China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co. Ltd. have agreed to extend the deadline to Dec. 1, from the previous deadline of Aug. 15. The deadline extension is the sixth the companies have negotiated since they first announced the $2.7 billion deal, in October 2016.”

 Alternatives to fixed annuities
13 August 2018 - Robert Stepleman – Sarasota Herald Tribune
The article is really about alternatives to immediate annuities.

 New Tax Deduction Might Favor Life Agents Over Retirement Advisors
13 August 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“The details are hazy, and the final outcome is uncertain, but the Internal Revenue Service may make the new, 20% “pass-through deduction” more generous for insurance agents who sell products such as life insurance, disability insurance, voluntary benefits and property-casualty insurance than for financial professionals who classify themselves as “wealth planners” or “retirement planners.”

Week of 16 July to 22 July 2018

 The 50 Best Annuities
21 July 2018 – Karen Hube – Barron’s
“Frank Burns, a manager at a commercial tire company in Spokane, Wash., has been the target of annuity sales pitches several times, but he has always demurred, wary of the products’ complexities and costs. So why, when he turned 57 this year, did he sink $500,000 of his nest egg into an annuity?”

 Are annuities coming to your 401(k)?
20 July 2018 – Mark Hulbert – MarketWatch
“There was a flurry of excitement this week on news that Congress is poised to make the “biggest changes to U.S. retirement savings in more than a decade.” In fact, however, there was no news. The proposed changes that got everyone excited were in a bill that was introduced in March and, since then, no committee hearings have been held, much less even scheduled.”

 'Free Meal' Seminars Work: Researchers
20 July 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Academic researchers who dislike free meal seminars have published a new bit of evidence illustrating the power of free meal seminars. They found that about 2.7% of U.S. residents ages 50 and older reporting having made some kind of investment after attending a “free meal seminar” in the past five years.”

 Wells Fargo Analysts See Big Refinance Risk in `Bad Boy Bonds'
20 July 2018 – Luke Kawa – ThinkAdvisor
“Editor’s Note: Why This Could Matter to Agents. Any problems that rattle the investment-grade bond market could rattle life insurers, because life insurers use large amounts of investment-grade bonds in the general account portfolios supporting their life and annuity operations.”

 Regulation Push Puts IMOs In A Tight Spot
19 July 2018 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
“The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule no longer exists, but its aftermath will affect independent marketing organizations (IMO) for years to come.”

 New York DFS Best Interest Rule

 New York issues final best-interest regulation for annuity, life insurance sales (InvestmentNews)
18 July 2018 – Press Release – New York Dept. of Financial Services
“The final regulation, which amends New York's current suitability regulation, provides for a best interest standard of care for all sales of life insurance and annuity products, including both in the specific context of retirement planning, when recommendations are made prior to the sale of an insurance product or after the sale but during the servicing of the product for the consumer.”

 Annuity Myth #2: Annuities will tie up my money, limit my access
17 July 2018 – Staff – KHON Honolulu
“There are several myths associated with annuities. One of them is the belief that annuities will tie up your money and limit your access to funds. “If I had a dime for every time a prospective client said to me, ‘I don’t want to tie up my money, or ‘Won’t that tie up my money if I put it into an annuity?’ I could buy a very large annuity for myself.”

 5 New Attempts at Annuity Humor
17 July 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“It’s hot out there. Your prospects want to nap on a towel on the beach. You want to nap on a towel on the beach. The 129-year-old life insurance company that issues most the annuities you sell probably wants to disguise itself as a venture capital-backed fintech startup… then go sneak away and nap on a towel on the beach.”

 Bonds Or Annuities: What's The Best Way To Generate Retirement Income?
16 July 2018 – Matt Carey – Forbes
“But today, I want to challenge one aspect of the rule of thumb, and that is that we got the type of fixed income wrong. It should be annuities, not bonds.”

Week of 28 May to 3 June 2018

 The legacy of the DOL fiduciary rule: Almost gone, but never forgotten
2 June 2018 – Mark Schoeff, Jr. – InvestmentNews
“Even as the Labor Department's fiduciary rule teeters on the edge of demise, its legacy will continue to profoundly influence how investment advice is delivered.”

 NAIC Kills Key Consumer Protections In Annuity ‘Best Interest’ Reg

 NAIC Group Blocks NY Push For Tougher Annuity Transaction Standard (InsuranceNewsNet)
1 June 2018 – June Longo – Financial Advisor
“A working group for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners approved a framework for its long-awaited annuities “best interest” model law—but without several key consumer protections in place. The working group voted down a ban on sales contests and travel awards and also failed to pass a cost-benefit disclosure for customers.”

 Uncapped Fixed-Indexed Annuities
1 June 2018 – Ben Mattlin – Financial Advisor
“In recent years, the fastest-growing area of the annuity market has been the fixed-indexed annuity (FIA). Some say the primary reason is its irresistible sales pitch.”

 Voya Financial Completes Annuities Transaction
1 June 2018 – News Release – BusinessWire
“VOYA announced today that it has completed the sale of its Voya Insurance and Annuity Company subsidiary and divested substantially all of its variable, fixed and fixed indexed annuities.”

 Analysts: Private Equity Eyes American Equity
31 May 2018 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
“On the surface American Equity isn’t a prime candidate for a sale, so why has the company emerged as a rumored takeover target? It’s a question that analysts are puzzling through.”

 U.S. Pension and Annuity Income Drops Again
31 May 2018 – Allison Bell - ThinkAdvisor
“The Internal Revenue Service says the number of individual taxpayers reporting income from pensions and annuities continued to fall in 2016. The number of taxpayers who included private pension or annuity income in their 2016 returns fell 1.2%, to 28 million.”

 Banks, B-Ds Shorten Indexed Annuity Surrenders
30 May 2018 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
“Sales of indexed annuities with shorter surrender periods racked up big gains as more annuities are sold through banks and broker-dealers, first-quarter data show. Banks and broker-dealers prefer shorter surrender periods because they come with lower commissions, which often means higher rates and caps for the client.”

 SEC’s Best Interest Standard 2 Years Away, DrinkerBiddle Says
30 May 2018 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
“A Securities and Exchange Commission proposal to raise investment-advice standard for brokers is still about two years away, an expert said Wednesday. Under the SEC’s proposed Regulation Best Interest, a broker-dealer would be required to act in the best interest of a retail customer when making a recommendation of any securities transaction or investment strategy.”

 Why good advice on annuities is hard to find
30 May 2018 – Artie Green – Los Altos Town Crier
“Annuities are commonly sold by insurance companies as a solution for retirement. Unlike stocks and bonds, they provide guaranteed income for as long as you live – at least to the extent supported by California’s Life & Health Insurance Guarantee Association. But getting help with choosing annuities can be surprisingly difficult. Here’s why.”

 Research: Retirees With Guaranteed Income Are Happier, Live Longer
29 May 2018 – Ken Nuss – NewsMax
“Retirees who are surrounded by their family and friends - and who also have a substantial check coming in every month for the rest of their lives - are much happier, according to a study published in The Wall Street Journal several years ago.”

 6 Questions for Sheryl Moore, a Life and Annuity Tracking Rockstar
28 May 2018 – Maria Wood – ThinkAdvisor
“As president and chief executive officer of Moore Market Intelligence, Sheryl Moore has become a leading expert and market researcher in the indexed life and indexed annuity industries. In fact, her 20-year career in field and passion for indexed retirement products has earned the nickname, “Indexed Annuity Rockstar.”

 One way to get retirement income for the rest of your life
28 May 2018 – Staff – AZFamily
“Winston Churchill once described Russia as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." Well, many people feel the same is true of annuities. And justifiably so.”

 What costs do annuities have?
Matthew Frankel – 28 May 2018 – CNN
This is a repeat of a three week old article

Week of 23 April to 29 April 2018

 You Can Guess the 1 Thing Retirees Really Want From Their 401(k)s
29 April 2018 – Dan Caplinger – The Motley Fool
“Eight out of 10 workers who have a 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement account expressed interest in a guaranteed income option for their payouts,”

 15 Things You Need to Know Now About Annuities
27 April 2018 – Coryanne Hicks & Philip Moeller – U.S. News
“With the retirement playing field littered with crushed investments and dreams, the safety of guaranteed income streams looks more attractive each day. Some annuities can provide such a guarantee.”

 Four in Five Workers Interested in Annuities: Survey
27 April 2018 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
This was covered last week Asset Decumulation or Asset Preservation? What Guides Retirement Spending?

 AARP, States Seek to Revive DOL Fiduciary Rule
26 April 2018 – John Hilton – InsuranceNewsNet
“The federal government might not appeal to restore the controversial Department of Labor fiduciary rule, which was tossed out by a New Orleans court last month, but a coalition of pro-fiduciary groups are spoiling for a fight.”

 How to judge if an FIA fits a client's portfolio

 Why Is Everyone Trying to Sell You An Annuity?
25 April 2018 – Tobias Salinger – Financial Planning
“Clients and their financial advisors have grown increasingly interested in fixed index annuities as the products tie in new benefits while becoming simpler, but they’re still not always the right choice.”

 5 Reasons 'Non-Buyers' May Still Be Good Annuity Prospects
24 April 2018 –Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Todd Giesing has come up with data suggesting that people who have actively decided against buying annuities could be pretty good annuity prospects.”

 How to help clients understand annuities
24 April 2018 – Dave Grant – Financial Planning
“Annuities have a strange reputation. Some advisors view them as the pariah of the financial services profession. Others see them as useful tool, and for those who sell them, they are the be-all and end-all of financial security.”

 Annuities Poised for a 2018 Comeback

 Indexed annuities likely to rebound after dip in sales last year
23 April 2018 – John Hilton – InsuranceNewsNet
“Annuities have been disregarded, derided and dragged through the mud for many years now. But a comeback is likely right around the corner.”

 The SEC Wants Wall Street to Treat Clients Better. What’s at Stake?
23 April 2018 – Benjamin Bain – Bloomberg Businessweek
“Wall Street is known for making money by selling risky investments with complicated names. Some examples: equity indexed annuities, structured notes and leveraged inverse exchanged traded funds.”

 Watch Indexed Annuity Rate Caps: Cannex

 With FIA Caps, Higher is Better
23 April 2018 –Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“The analysts also found that the indexed annuity contracts with point-to-point crediting formulas tended to do better than the annuities with other crediting formulas, such as formulas based on annual performance triggers.”


Week of 9 April to 15 April 2018

 For Single Women's Confidence, Try Annuities
13 April 2018 –Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“The outlook of the female survey participants who reported owning annuities was much different from the outlook of the male participants who owned annuities.”

 ON THE MONEY: An introduction to annuities
13 April 2018 – Greg Roberts – Aiken Standard
“In developing an allocation strategy for your investment assets, the first question to consider is: how willing are you to take investment risks in your retirement portfolio?”

 Retirement Insurance Products Are Disappearing. And That’s Dangerous. (Subscription Required)
13 April 2018 – Bejamin Harris – Wall Street Journal
“The market for retirement insurance products is slowly and silently disappearing. From annuities to long-term-care insurance to employer-provided health insurance, insurance products are becoming both less available and less popular.”

 Nonbuyers Like Annuities, So Why Aren’t They Buying?
12 April 2018 – Susan Rupe – InsuranceNewsNet
“When we look at the buyers, significantly more of them had a written retirement plan than the nonbuyers had [this helps lead them to the right solutions, such as annuity products, if needed, in retirement.”

 The Future of the ERISA Fiduciary Rule
12 April 2018 – Staff – JDSupra
“The future of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary rule is in limbo following the Fifth Circuit’s decision striking it down “in toto.”

 SEC to Take Up Fiduciary Proposal on April 18

 Sneak peek at new SEC advice standard sparks hope, concern (InvestmentNews)
11 April 2018 – Melanie Waddell - ThinkAdvisor
“The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to consider the agency’s long-awaited — and much anticipated — fiduciary proposal on (April 18th).”

 3 Reasons Tax Season Is THE Time to Talk About Annuities
10 April 2018 – Chris Conklin – ThinkAdvisor
“Currently, your clients are facing the stress of tax season. They’re gathering documents, filing forms and hoping that, in the end, they get a refund. Throughout the whole process, clients are also getting a reminder of how much tax they are paying on the income produced by their investments. This combination creates the perfect environment for bringing up the tax-deferred nature of annuities.”

 5 Top Q1 Annuity Earnings Wild Cards
10 April 2018 –Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“A team of analysts at Morgan Stanley recently published a look at other factors that might cause some issuers’ first-quarter earnings to be higher, or lower, than expected. We’ve posted a look at five of those factors in the slideshow “gallery” above.”

 For Retirement, Employees Prefer Steady Paycheck over Managing Their Own Investments
10 April 2018 – Press Release – BusinessWire
“When asked if they would rather have their employer provide a set retirement paycheck for life or provide them with money to invest themselves, the steady paycheck wins by 58% to 42%.”

 Guaranteed income tops boomers' retirement wish list

 Boomers With Advisors, Annuities Are More Retirement-Ready (ThinkAdvisor)
9 April 2018 – Mary Beth Franklin – InvestmentNews
“Seven in 10 boomers said it is very important for retirement income to be guaranteed for life, yet only 14% plan to purchase an annuity with a portion of their 401(k) or IRA and only 3% have done so.”

 Old strategy with a new twist: Dollar cost averaging and annuities
9 April 2018 – Tim Seifert – InvestmentNews
“Today's investors fall on a spectrum when it comes to their tolerance for risk. Most, roughly two-thirds, are moderate risk takers, while about 1 in 10 are high risk takers and the remaining quarter are very risk averse.”


Week of 26 February to 4 March 2018

 NAFA Files Comment Letter to NY Dept. of Financial Services
26 February 2018 - Notice to Members - NAFA
Today NAFA submitted a comment letter to the New York Department of Financial Services regarding the Department’s proposed First Amendment to NY Insurance Regulation 187, Suitability in Life Insurance and Annuity Transactions (11 NCRR 224).

  Consider Annuities for Reliable Retirement Income
2 March 2018 – Steve Jurich – Kiplinger
“Bottom line: A lifetime guarantee of income, not affected by stock or bond markets, can be very appealing. Indeed, annuities should command viable consideration.”

 CUNA Mutual Holding Company
1 March 2018 – Press Release – BusinessWire
“A.M. Best has upgraded the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) to “a+” from “a” and affirmed the Financial Strength Ratings of A (Excellent) of CMFG Life Insurance Company”

 NAIC Releases 2017 Market Share Data
1 March 2018 – Press Release – NAIC
“The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) released two sets of data today on life/fraternal and property/casualty insurers. The reports provide market share information indicating the degree of market concentration in lines of business and identify leading insurance writers.” Link to life report pdf

 How to Retire Without Running Out of Money
1 March 2018 – Suzanne Woolley – Bloomberg
This story was covered here a month ago, but it showed up in the general press last week. It’ simply yet another attempt by people with no actual annuity selling experience thinking that annuities can be sold like books on Amazon - Jack

 Let N.Y. Life Insurers Live: Groups to Vullo
1 March 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Imposing poorly written sales standards solely on life and annuity sellers in New York state could hurt the state’s life and annuity market, and on the consumers who depend on that market, 10 life and annuity groups say.”

 No Pension? You Can ‘Pensionize’ Your Savings
1 March 2018 – Ann Carrns – New York Times
The article repeats the many annuities are “complex and larded with fees” theme. I wrote the author with an attempt to provide additional information, but I doubt we’ll see a rewrite – Jack

 Annuities may offer a security blanket in uncertain times

 Is Your Retirement Plan Ready for The Longevity Revolution? (Kiowa County Press)
28 February 2018 – Lee Schafer – Minneapolis Star Tribune
“But it turns out that buying an annuity isn’t exactly a worry-free solution. Setting aside their expense, one problem with the traditional annuity is that you might die right away. The life insurance folks have responded to that worry by offering annuity contracts that would get the family some or all of the money back, maybe by continuing payments up through 20 years whether dad’s still around or not.”

 National Western Life Makes "Dynamic" Product Announcement
28 February 2018 – Press Release – PR Newswire
National Western Life Insurance Company has announced the release of the Core Dynamic and the Pro Dynamic.. These flexible premium fixed index annuities offer both fixed rate and fixed indexed-linked interest and multiple optional Guaranteed Withdrawal Benefit riders.

 Athene Targets More Acquisitions in 2018
26 February 2018 – Cyril Tuohy – Insurancenewsnet
“Rising interest rates will only spur Athene to look at more insurance deals this year, chairman and CEO James R. Belardi said.”


Week of 5 February to 11 February 2018

 Congress Gives Seniors a New 1040SR Tax Form
9 February 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Taxpayers ages 65 and older will be able to use the new form even if they have to report Social Security benefits, distributions from annuities or retirement plans, interest or dividend payments, or capital gains and losses, according to the BBA text.”

 New Research Underscores Boomers’ Uncertainty

 Only One-Third of Boomers Are Confident They Have Adequate Retirement Savings (Related)
8 February 2018 – Press Release – BusinessWire
“These are among key findings from the American Retirement Perspectives Survey, commissioned by Annexus, a leading designer of fixed indexed annuities, life insurance and other index-based wealth-management products.”

 Prudential Says Number of Annuity Clients It Can't Find Is Small
8 February 2018 – Katherine Chiglinsky – Bloomberg
“MetLife said in January that the [SEC] was inquiring after the insurer said it would have to set aside more money to back policies as it searched for annuity clients it couldn’t find after they moved jobs or relocated. Both companies have been active in the pension-risk transfer market.”

 Queries Spike For Annuities With Life-Only Guarantees
8 February 2018 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
“Queries for life-only guarantees on income annuities rose to 26 percent of all queries last year from 22.4 percent in 2016. This comes as advisors value a higher payout over a death benefit, an annuity data tracking service has found.”

 Genworth Faces Deal Resistance in Delaware
7 February 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Genworth Financial Inc. says the Delaware Department of Insurance is one of the regulatory agencies slowing its efforts to sell itself to China Oceanwide Holdings Group Ltd.”

 5 Things Blackstone Says About Feeding the Annuity Issuers
6 February 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“A big money manager has come up with a way to get bigger, fast: offer insurers new types of investment vehicles that can help them survive in an age of low yields on high-rated corporate bonds.”

 Too Few People Bought What You Sell: Treasury Economist
6 February 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Jason Brown, a government economist, warned about the effects of consumers' failure to buy enough annuities and long-term care insurance policies in a presentation he gave at a recent meeting of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC).”

 DOL, SEC Fiduciary Rules Likely in Fall
5 February 2018 – Melanie Waddell – ThinkAdvisor
“The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Labor Department will likely release simultaneously in the fall their fiduciary rule proposals, prominent ERISA attorneys say.”

 Intermediary Commissions in a Regulated Market with Heterogeneous Customers
5 February 2018 – Pilar Alcalde & Bernardita Vialm – Social Science Research Network
The reason for mentioning this study on Chile’s annuity buyers at all is because the DOL mentioned a previous study in trying to justify a fiduciary standard. This follow-up study found that when annuity commissions were capped at 2% but the fee advisors could charge was increased, that fewer annuities were recommended – Jack

 New FINRA Rules Take Effect to Protect Seniors and Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation
5 February 2018 – Press Release – FINRA
“Two FINRA rule changes took effect today addressing the financial exploitation of seniors and vulnerable adults, putting in place the first uniform, national standards to protect senior investors. Firms are now required to make reasonable efforts to obtain the name of and contact information for a trusted contact person for a customer’s account. In addition, the rule permits FINRA member firms to place a temporary hold on a disbursement of funds or securities when there is a reasonable belief of financial exploitation, and to notify the trusted contact of the temporary hold.”


Week of 15 January to 21 January 2018

 Do Not Invest In An Equity-Indexed Annuity?
20 January 2018 – Robert Schmansky - Forbes
"Even if I am wrong, I find it impossible to trust anything from this firm - and the EIA industry..." The writer has announced he won't listen to any facts that would prove him wrong, so it would be a waste of time to try to educate him – Jack

 Fiduciary Questions Still Stymie In-Plan Income for Many Sponsors?
19 January 2018 – John Manganaro – Plan Sponsor
"Plan sponsors cite a number of reasons for being unlikely to offer an annuity-type product in the near term; top reasons include the belief that it is unnecessary or not a priority, and being uncomfortable or unclear about the fiduciary implications."

 Lincoln Financial Group Signs Agreement to Acquire Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston?
19 January 2018 – Press Release – BusinessWire
"Lincoln Financial Group announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston from Liberty Mutual Insurance Group. Upon completion of the transaction, Lincoln Financial will retain Liberty’s Group Benefits business and reinsure Liberty’s Individual Life and Annuity business to Protective Life Insurance Company."

 State fiduciary rules may be reckoning for life insurance industry

 Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #77: The Fiduciary Rule: Mistaken Beliefs (#2) (Related)
19 January 2018 – Greg Iacurci – InvestmentNews
"New York's recent proposal to impose a best-interest standard on life-insurance sales — a higher standard than currently exists — would have a significant impact on insurance agents and brokers, by upending the way they currently conduct business"

 Trump's FSOC Works With MetLife to End SIFI Court Fight
19 January 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"The Financial Stability Oversight Council has cleared up any remaining uncertainty about its position on MetLife Inc.'s significance to the financial system. FSOC has joined with MetLife to ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to cancel FSOC's appeal in the fight over whether MetLife should be classified as a systemically important financial institution (SIFI)."

 Why a Top 10 List of Annuity Companies is Not a Place to Start
19 January 2018 – Jerry Golden – Kiplinger
"Starting with price or income per $1,000 of premium, there are no consistent leaders in the industry. Insurance companies change their pricing as often as weekly and they often have different views of the interest rates they can earn on your premium."

 DOL Court Appeal Ruling Might Take Time: Analyst

 Analyst: SEC Poised to Take Regulatory Torch From Labor Department (Related)
18 January 2018 – John Hilton – InsuranceNewsNet
"The financial services industry has waited months for a ruling on a promising appeal of the Department of Labor fiduciary rule. They might be waiting for a lot longer, said one legal expert. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans might have shelved its appeal decision while the DOL completes a review of the controversial fiduciary rule"

 Dominic Cursio to Lead Annuity Industry Group
17 January 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"Dominic Cursio has taken over as the 2018 chairman of the National Association for Fixed Annuities."

 NAFA Welcomes 2018 Board of Directors
17 January 2018 – Staff – NAFA Annuity Outlook
"As we continue the fight to protect fixed annuity products, as well as those who develop, distribute and support them, the need for leadership excellence from our organization has never been more important,” said Chip Anderson, Executive Director of NAFA. “Our new appointees stand poised and ready to join the talented professionals currently serving on our board of directors in helping guide our strategic vision on behalf of all Premier, Supporting and Affiliate Partners. Additionally, they will move our litigation efforts against the Department of Labor forward while proactively addressing other pertinent issues that stand to impact our industry and the consumers we serve.”

 Should I buy an annuity if my adviser says it's a bad idea??
17 January 2018 – Walter Updegrave – CNNMoney
"But no adviser or systematic withdrawal system can guarantee payments regardless of how long you live."

 Don't Gamble With Your Retirement Income – Protect It
16 January 2018 – Eric Peterson – Kiplinger
"A fixed-index annuity addresses all these basic retirement concerns."

 Iowa Insurtech Startup School Offers $40,000 in Seed Money
15 January 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"Managers of the Global Insurance Accelerator program say that program provides $40,000 in seed money for each insurance technology startup accepted into the program, in exchange for 6% of the startup's equity."

 Liz Weston: What good financial advice looks like
15January 2019 – Liz Weston – The Washington Post/Nerd Wallet
"GOOD ADVICE DOESN’T PROMOTE “HIGH-COMMISSION GARBAGE. These can include non-traded real estate investment trusts, indexed annuities and variable annuities inside retirement accounts."

 Investing Over the Life Cycle Part II
1 December 2017 – Paul Kaplan – Morningstar
I missed this one. This is a mathematical explanation on using life insurance and annuities to deal with the uncertainties of life – from a securities research company - Jack


Week of 1 January to 7 January 2018

 Retired? You're Probably Ignoring Your Biggest Risk Factor

 Immediate vs. Deferred Annuity: Which is Best for You? (Related)

 Lifetime Income: Retirees Need It, and Here's How to Get It (Related)
7 January 2018 – Various – The Motley Fool
Recycled old articles with new dates that mention annuities - Jack

 Genworth Says China Oceanwide Deal Is Moving Forward
5 January 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"Genworth Financial Inc. believes it has a better chance than some other recent applicants at getting a deal approved by a secretive national security review agency, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)."

 Annuities Explained (In Plain English)
4 January 2018 – Bob MacDonald – Forbes
"It may not seem this way, but fixed annuities are actually simple and easy to understand."

 Beat Inflation, Reduce Risk by Splitting Savings Among Safety, Safety-Plus-Growth, Growth Buckets
4 January 2018 – Ken Nuss – MD Magazine
"Safety plus growth potential. The fixed index annuity is the only vehicle in this category."

 House GOP seeks to preserve spending rider to kill DOL fiduciary rule
3 January 2018 – Mark Schoeff, Jr. – InvestmentNews
"House Republicans will seek to preserve a provision of the chamber's spending bill that would kill the Labor Department's fiduciary rule as they negotiate a measure to fund the government. "

 New York Department Of Financial Services Rings In The New Year With New Suitability Requirements
3 January 2018 – Ann Young Black et al – Mondaq
"New York's Department of Financial Services (NY DFS) decided to bid farewell to 8 and ring-in the new year by proposing to amend Suitability in Annuity Transactions, 11 NYCR 224 (the Annuity Suitability Rule). On December 27, 2017, the first amendment to the Suitability Rule was published in the New York State Register (the First Amendment)."

 NY Advisors Offered First Fixed Annuity with Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit
3 January 2018 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
"Assured Edge Income Builder-NY is the first fixed annuity with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) offered in the Empire State"

 Shore Up Your Financial House to Keep the Wolf Away
3 January 2018 – Max Hechtman – Kiplinger's
"There’s a reason this “hybrid” annuity gets so much hype. It takes the good parts of other annuities but has fewer downsides."

 Treasury Report May Provide A Preview Of The Trump Administration's Insurance Regulatory Agenda
3 January 2018 – Roland Goss – Mondaq
"On October 26, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has released a report entitled "A Financial System that Creates Economic Opportunities: Asset Management and Insurance" (the "Report").1 The Report is the third of four reports to be issued by the Treasury in response to Executive Order 137722 of February 3, 2017."

 Weighing your options
3 January 2018 – Michelle Gordon – AzCentral
"There once was a time when annuity was a dirty word in the investing world...“We’re happy to say that today, most of those negative features have been eliminated from annuity products."

 2018 Life, Health and Annuity Planner
2 January 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"June 13-15: National Association for Fixed Annuities, Annuity Leadership Forum, in Washington. Oct. 10-12: National Association for Fixed Annuities, Annuity Distribution Summit, in Nashville, Tenn."

 (3rd Quarter) Annuity Sales Dip, Again
2 January 2018 – Ben Mattlin – Financial Advisor
"Based on data from Beacon Research, an annuities data tracker in Northfield, Ill., and the investment researcher Morningstar, Washington, D.C.-based IRI concluded that overall annuity sales dropped nearly 15% in the quarter from the same period the year before."

 What 2018 Could Bring To the Life/Annuity Industry
2 January 2018 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
"As 2017 gives way to 2018, forecasters and pundits released their crystal balls and offered glimpses of what life and annuity advisors can expect when it comes to product development, distribution and insurance company performance."

 2018: The Bonus Year
1 January 2018 – Steven Morelli et al – InsuranceNewsNet
"Welcome to the bonus year. Independent annuity agents and the marketing organizations that serve them were against the proverbial wall, blindfolded and enjoying a last vape when the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, issued a fiduciary rule reprieve until mid-2019. Now instead of exiting from the annuity market en masse, dazed agents and independent marketing organizations (IMOs) find themselves with a new lease on life, albeit a short-term one."

 Annuities Are the Cure for a Risk-Infected Retirement
1 January 2018 – Justin Fort – InsuranceNewsNet
"Successful salespeople do not see themselves as “salespeople,” nor do they act like them. Instead, they believe they are experts who take a consultative role with their customers. They understand who their customers are and what they want and need."

 Annuities Can Make a Trustee’s Tough Job Easier
1 January 2018 – Deborah Minor – InsuranceNewsNet
"Tough jobs make for popular TV viewing these days. TV programs explore offbeat occupations ranging from dirty to disgusting to dangerous. "