Articles | Industry Trends

Week of 6 May to 12 May 2019

 Securian Aims for the Bank Annuity Market
10 May 2019 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Securian Financial is building a team of six regional vice presidents to manage its entry into the bank distribution channel for individual annuities.”

 Why do you need annuities in your retirement portfolio?
9 May 2019 – Yi Liu – Lubbock Avalanche Journal
“So you have worked hard, put aside some money and now you are looking at retirement. Now you want to do all the things you like – perhaps golfing, visiting your family and traveling without running out of money. Consider annuities as a way to provide you with steady income and ensure you have financial security in your retirement.”

 5 Questions to Ask About an FIA Income Benefit
7 May 2019 – Ray Kathawa – ThinkAdvisor
“One thing is for sure in the financial services industry, things change.”

 I want to get rid of my annuity. What are the tax consequences?
7 May 2019 – Karin Price Mueller –
“A. We wonder why you purchased annuities if you had no interest in getting regular payments from the contracts.”

 Life Insurers Are Sending More Cash to Corporate Parents: Rating Agency
7 May 2019 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“The U.S. life insurance and life reinsurance operating companies that Moody’s Investors Service rates produced just $27 billion in statutory net income in 2018, but they sent $30 billion in dividends upstream to their parent companies.”

 Brighthouse Posts $1.3 Billion Q1 Net Derivatives Loss
6 May 2019 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Brighthouse Financial Inc. is reporting that its operations did well in the first quarter…reporting a net loss of $735 million for the quarter on $691 million in revenue.

 Edward Jones doesn't sell indexed annuities, bucking broker-dealer trend
6 May 2019 – Greg Iacurci – InvestmentNews
“Edward Jones has taken a contrarian stance on indexed annuities, declining to allow its brokers to sell the annuity products even though its peers are doing so and the products are increasingly popular industrywide.”

 Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2019 Update in Perspective
6 May 2019 – Alicia Munnell – Center for Retirement Research
Social Security’s financial position improved a little, but something needs to be done or benefits wouls be cut in 2035.

 Trump Could Cost Future Retirees Billions
6 May 2019 – Ethan Schwartz – Bloomberg
“Sales of potentially questionable investment products have soared, and retirees stand to end up billions of dollars poorer. One prime example: fixed-indexed annuities.”

Week of 25 March to 31 March 2019

 Why Annuities Are (Almost) Always A Bad Idea
31 March 2019 – Russ Thronton – Seeking Alpha
Written by a fee-forever advisor, you don’t have to read it to know what it says – Jack

 There are several options to getting money out of an annuity
30 March 2019 – Bob Hollick – Observer Reporter
“People sometimes ask, How do I get money out of my annuity? Here are a few thoughts.”

 AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Ameritas
28 March 2019 – Press Release – BusinessWire
“AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings of “a+” of Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. and Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. of New York.”

 The 10 Key Facts to Understanding Annuities
27 March 2019 – Robert Bloink & William Byrnes – ThinkAdvisor
Link to PDF

 State Case Could Shake Up Life, Annuity and LTCI Issuer Insolvencies
27 March 2019 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Pennsylvania Supreme Court…held that an insolvent insurer should deny any claims received more than 30 days after liquidation, unless the claims were covered by the guaranty association, and that the assets of the insolvent insurer should not be used to pay any claims above guaranty fund limits more than 30 days after the liquidation.”

 Most Households Approaching Retirement Have Low Savings, an Update
26 March 2019 – Staff Release – U.S. Government Accountability Office
“We found that the percent of households headed by someone aged 55 and over that had no retirement savings decreased from about 52 percent in 2013 to about 48 percent in 2016.” Link to PDF

 Your Funds: Beware investment side dishes served with a free lunch
26 March 2019 – Chuck Jaffe – Richmond Times-Dispatch
“No matter how enticing the sales pitch sounds, expect to get the bare minimum of what is promised; if that doesn’t excite you, take your free meal, your money and your pride and go home.”

Week of 25 February to 3 March 2019

 Annuity scam allegedly targeted Clayton seniors, more victims possible; drugs in Henry
1 March 2019 – Robin Kemp – Henry Herald
“They are looking for any victims of an insurance fraud scheme that targeted seniors — and the state is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator or perpetrators.”

 Do Fixed Indexed Annuities Cost More Than Other Fixed Income Annuities?
1 March 2019 – Eva Levine – Financial Advisor
“There is a common belief that fixed indexed annuities (FIA) cost more than other fixed income annuities such as the vanilla deferred income annuities (DIA) and the immediate annuities (SPIA). The basis for such belief is that FIAs are more complex in product design, which leads to higher fees such as surrender charges and certain benefit riders.”

 Using an Income Annuity to Leave a Legacy
1 March 2019 – Ken Nuss – Dentist’s Money Digest
“There are simpler, cheaper ways to leave a legacy. For instance, you can buy a cash-value life insurance policy or fund a 529 college savings plan. But one of the best options, an income annuity, is usually overlooked. It’s an ideal vehicle for leaving a legacy.”

 A.M. Best: U.S. Life/Annuity Insurers Buoyed by Stable Outlook, But Clouds Loom on Horizon
28 February 2019 – News Release – BusinessWire
“Despite a recent change in AM Best’s life/annuity (L/A) market segment outlook to stable from negative, clouds remain on the horizon as 2019 began with an usual mix of uncertainty, according to AM Best’s 2019 Review/Preview market segment report. There is potential for a global economic slowdown owing to a prolonged trade/tariff war.”

 Risks That Can Ruin a Retirement
28 February 2019 – George MacKenzie – Retirement Income Journal
“This raises the question of annuitization. Annuities are longevity insurance, so why not address longevity risk directly by buying one from an insurance company? The private annuity market has never held much appeal for older Americans, however.”

 Here Are Advisors' Favorite Annuity Providers
27 February 2019 – Michael Fischer – ThinkAdvisor
“According to the study, [investment] advisors who want to invest client assets in annuities ranked Jackson National, Lincoln Financial and Pacific Life among the top five providers across variable, indexed and fixed annuities.”

 Retirement, DIAs and Shortfalls in Focus: EBRI
26 February 2019 – Michael Fischer & Elizabeth Festa – ThinkAdvisor
“Deferred income annuities held within a 401(k) could be the key to a more secure retirement, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. EBRI found that purchases at age 65 with no death benefits improved retirement readiness no matter the age of death.”

 SEC examining Guggenheim-linked bond trade algorithm for insurance companies
26 February 2019 – Justin Baer – MarketWatch
“U.S. securities regulators are reviewing a series of bond trades by three insurance companies tied to Guggenheim Partners LLC, according to people familiar with the matter.”

 15 Things You Need to Know Now About Annuities
25 February 2019 – Coryanne Hicks & Philip Moeller – Yahoo
“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.”

 Indexed Annuities: Risk and Reward in Retirement Investing
25 February 2019 – Robert Powell – The Street
“If you're still accumulating assets to fund your retirement but your appetite for risk -- given the recent market volatility -- is diminished, now might be a good time to consider other tactics, investments and product.”

 Why That MYGA Rate Is So Hot
25 February 2019 – Wendy Swanson – ThinkAdvisor
“Finding the best rate on multi-year guaranteed annuities (MYGAs) for your clients is easy. But knowing what’s behind that rate — the tradeoff — can be challenging. Now may be the perfect time to educate yourself on what to look for, as 2019 may well be the year that MYGA sales soar higher than we’ve seen in many years.”

Week of 28 January to 3 February 2019

 Charles DiVencenzo to Take the Tiller at NAFA
31 January 2019 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
The board of the National Association for Fixed Annuities has picked Charles DiVencenzo to be the group’s new president and chief executive officer. DiVencenzo is set to take the helm April 1.”

 Building Fortifications
1 February 2019 – Karen DeMasters – Financial Advisor
“The question is what should advisors and their clients do now to prepare themselves to minimize the pain, especially if retirement is looming in the near future and disbursements, rather than accumulation, are going to be needed?”

 Fleeing To Cash Not The Only Investment Mistake
1 February 2019 – Dan Moisand – Financial Advisor
Essentially the arguments against using annuities is if the client does everything wrong (surrender early, not use the GLWB) and does everything right in investing (does option timing correctly, doesn’t panic) than one doesn’t need a deferred annuity - Jack

 How to Set Up Guaranteed Lifetime Income
1 February 2019 – Rodney Brooks – U.S. News & World Report
“In the past, some unethical sales people sold high-fee products to people who did not understand them or didn't need them. Annuities today have an improved reputation and there are more varieties, but they are still complicated financial products and some retirees remain wary. "If the insurance company does go broke, you will lose that income," Piershale says.”

 Annuities Pitched With a Free Dinner? Be Wary
31 January 2019 – Eileen Ambrose – Kiplinger
This is a retread article against annuities that contains many errors (which they refuse to correct) - Jack

 Ex-Vikings Quarterback Fran Tarkenton: How Advisors Can Prevent Elder Fraud
31 January 2019 – Jane Wolman Russell – ThinkAdvisor
Fran Tarkenton, “The Mad Scrambler” NFL record-setting Vikings quarterback, was licensed to sell insurance at age 18. Back then, fellow students at the University of Georgia purchased the plan he was marketing. Today, the retired Hall of Famer is touting fixed indexed annuities as a retirement strategy to protect seniors from financial abuse.

 Gainbridge Named Presenting Sponsor For Indy 500
31 January 2019 – Press Release – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
“Gainbridge, an online financial services company that offers annuity products simplified for the modern age, has reached a multiyear agreement to become the presenting sponsor of the Indianapolis 500 starting with the 2019 edition of the world’s most prestigious auto race.”

 Reducing Model Risk and Improving Mortality Forecasts for Life Insurance Product Pricing
31 January 2019 - Hongxuan Yan & Gareth Peters & Jennifer Chan- SSRN
“We study the model risk for life and annuity products using Lee-Carter type models and proposed multivariate long memory models and we quantify the mispricing cost of the former model’s risk.”

 Making Retirement Income More Predictable
30 January 2019 – Matthew Teel – ThinkAdvisor
“The volatility in financial markets in the closing months of 2018 has rightly renewed the vigor with which clients and their advisors are reviewing and benchmarking retirement portfolios.

A market correction should not necessitate a panicked move to scrap the financial plan, move to cash, or to slow retirement savings. In fact, for those systematically saving toward a future goal, this volatility can ultimately be a great ally on the road to accumulation.”

 Achieving Retirement Income Security: A Comparison of Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit, Systematic Withdrawal and Partial Variable Annuity Strategies
29 January 2019 - Benjamin Goodman & David Richardson - SSRN
I believe the only reason the variable annuity GLWB was found to be the best retirement mixture is because they had not yet looked at a fixed annuity GLWB - Jack

 DPL Launches Fixed Index Annuity For RIAs
29 January 2019 – Christopher Robbins – Financial Advisor
“DPL Financial Partners has announced that it is partnering with Kansas-based Security Benefit Life Insurance Company to launch ClearLine, a new fixed-index annuity for RIAs.”

 A Close Look at Ibbotson’s Research on FIAs

 Ibbotson Taken to Task over Indexed Annuities (Retirement Income Journal)
28 January 2019 – Michael Edesess & Robert Huebscher – Advisor Perspectives
My personal experience with Advisor Perspectives is one needs to examine whatever they say with circumspection – Jack

 What If The Market Goes Up? Why An FIA Is Better Than Stocks
28 January 2019 – Sean Ruggiero – InsuranceNewsNet
“What if the market rebounds in 2019? Let’s say that the S&P 500 rebounds and gains 10 percent back in 2019. Would that make stocks a better retirement income vehicle than a fixed indexed annuity for your clients? Let’s take a look.”

 Partners Advantage Acquired By Arthur Gallagher
28 January 2019 – John Hilton – InsuranceNewsNet
“Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is acquiring Partners Advantage Insurance Services in a significant deal that gives the Chicago-based insurance giant a toehold in the insurance marketing organization space.”

Week of 17 December to 30 December 2018

 Another look at indexed annuities
29 December 2018 – Greg Roberts – Aiken Standard
“Now that the Dow Jones Average has dropped 20 percent this month, unscrupulous peddlers of these products will likely play on investor fears and tout these products as being the best way to get protection of one’s principal with the possibility of some upside growth.”

 New Year, New Annuity Options For Your Clients
26 December 2018 – Chris Conklin – InsuranceNewsNet
“New year, new me” is a common phrase heard around the holidays. As New Year’s Eve approaches, we start thinking about the past year and what the future could bring both personally and professionally.”

 5 New Questions About Life and Annuity Deals in 2019

 5 New Questions About How the Annuity Market Will Weather 2019
24 December 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“Life and annuity issuers announced deals with a total value of $3.7 billion in the first half, according to Deloitte’s 2019 industry outlook report. The total value was 79% higher than in the first half of 2017. But the number of life and annuity deals fell to 15, from 16.”

 How to avoid common retirement mistakes
24 December 2018 – Jadon Newman – Overton County News
“Sometimes a fixed index annuity is the best bet…These allow you to protect your principal by shifting the risk to the insurance company selling you the annuity. There are caps on your potential returns, but FIAs are more reliable because they mitigate risk.”

 Does An Annuity Belong In Your Retirement Plan? (The same article appears in many sources)
23 December 2018 – Jack Guttentag – Forbes
“An annuity is a stream of monthly income guaranteed for life, starting immediately or deferred to a specified time in the future, in exchange for an upfront lump sum payment. For example, a woman of 65 investing $500,000 can receive about $2700 a month starting immediately, $3900 starting in 5 years, or $5900 starting in 10 years. The 5 and 10 years are the deferment periods, which can be as long as 25 years.”

  Buffer ETFs Vs. Index-Linked Annuities
21 December 2018 – Thomas Lauerman – Mondaq
The article is about variable index annuities, but it does a good job of showing these are securities and cousins of fixed index annuities – Jack

 Meet the People Trying to Put a Friendlier Face on Annuities
21 December 2018 – Ron Lieber – New York Times
“Lots of gunslinger sales types would happily sell you complex products with high fees and commissions over steak dinner sales pitches (and ask for more of your net worth than they should). This is a column, however, about more sober-minded individuals who mostly want you to consider annuities as an asset class, something you have in addition to stocks and bonds.”

 Microsoft-BlackRock Retirement System May Offer Annuities
21 December 2018 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
“BlackRock emphasized in the recent announcement of its retirement security system alliance with Microsoft that the system will offer workers help with lifetime income solutions. BlackRock and Microsoft said they will use artificial intelligence and other tools to develop an online retirement savings and income planning system for consumers.”

 Sammons Financial Group bringing 200 new jobs to West Des Moines with new headquarters

 State delays vote on incentive package (Des Moines Register)
20 December 2018 – Kevin Hardy & Kim Norvell – Des Moines Register
Sammons Financial Group will bring 200 new jobs to West Des Moines as it builds a new corporate headquarters near Jordan Creek Town Center. The company is expected to spend some $60 million on the project, which will receive more than $19 million in state and local economic development incentives, said Clyde Evans, community and economic development for West Des Moines.

 AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Western & Southern
20 December 2018 – A.M. Best – BusinessWire
“AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “aa” for the life insurance subsidiaries of Western and Southern Life Insurance Company, Western-Southern Life Assurance Company, Columbus Life Insurance Company, Integrity Life Insurance Company, National Integrity Life Insurance Company and The Lafayette Life Insurance Company.”

 Retirement savings legislation dies in lame-duck Congress
19 December 2018 – Mark Schoeff Jr. – InvestmentNews
“Legislation that would expand the number of company-sponsored retirement plans and increase the use of annuities within them will likely die on Thursday.”

 AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of AXA Equitable Life
17 December 2018 – A.M. Best – BusinessWire
“AM Best has removed from under review with developing implications and has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) of “a+” of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company.“

Top Ten Stories of 2018

 Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacates DOL fiduciary rule
15 March 2018 – Mark Schoeff Jr. – InvestmentNews
The National Association for Fixed Annuities released the following statement on a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit regarding a legal challenge to the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule: "The court’s decision ensures that millions of Americans will have access to fixed annuities and other financial products, along with advice from agents and financial planners, as they plan for and live in retirement. NAFA is pleased to see the Court has struck down this unnecessary intrusion into the realm of financial regulation."

 Exclusive: U.S. insurer American Equity explores sale – sources

 American Equity Addresses Market Rumors (BusinessWire)
22 May 2018 – David French – Reuters
“American Equity Investment Life Holding Co (AEL.N), a U.S. provider of annuities and life insurance products, is exploring a sale after it attracted takeover interest, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.”

 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.”

 Indexed Annuity Sales Bust Out Of 2018 Gate
22 May 2018 – Staff – InsuranceNewsNet
“Fixed indexed annuity sales had the second strongest first-quarter in 10 years as they were revived by the nearly dead Department of Labor fiduciary rule, according to LIMRA.”

 New York DFS Best Interest Rule
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.”

 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.”

 Fixed Annuity Sales Surge in Q2: Report
11 September 2018 – Elizabeth Festa – ThinkAdvisor
“Sales of fixed annuities shot up in the second quarter of 2018, signaling strong demand, according to investment and research professionals. During the second quarter, fixed annuity sales hit almost $32 billion, a 25.4% increase in sales over the first quarter of 2018 and a spike of 21.8% over the second quarter of 2017.”

 Which Type of Annuity Provides the Highest Guaranteed Income?
10 October 2018 – Press Release – PRNewswire
“New research by CANNEX asked a simple question: Which type of annuity provides the highest guaranteed income for Americans planning for retirement? The answer is, it depends. The report, "Guaranteed Income Across Annuity Products," shows that when compared, different types of annuities with equivalent benefits provide higher income guarantees depending upon when income is taken, income delay, gender, and whether it is for a single person or a couple.” Link to study []

 NAIC Working Group Chair Critical Of Annuity Illustration Changes
18 October 2018 – John Hilton – InsuranceNewsNet
“The mood turned against allowing insurers to illustrate indexed annuities using indices that have been around less than 10 years during a state insurance commissioners' working group meeting today. Birny Birnbaum, executive director of [his one-man shop], swayed commissioners with passionate comments against the concept during a midday conference call.”

 LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute: Third Quarter Fixed Indexed Annuities Smash Sales Record for Second Consecutive Quarter
26 November 2018 – News Release – LIMRA
“Fixed indexed annuity (FIA) sales were $18.0 billion, 38 percent higher than third quarter 2017 and 2 percent higher than second quarter sales results, according to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute Third Quarter 2018 Sales Survey…Year-to-date, FIA sales were $50.1 billion, 22 percent higher than the first three quarters of 2017.” Link to Annuity Sales Estimate

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 –
“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. [] - 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. "

Week of 18 December to 31 December 2017

 Bare Variable Annuities Draw Young Whippersnappers?
29 December 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"The average purchase age was 59 for deferred income annuities, 61 for indexed annuities without guaranteed withdrawal benefits, 62 for indexed annuities or variable annuities with benefits guarantees, and 65 for fixed-rate annuities"

 Top 5 Stories of 2017: DOL Rule

 Fake comments hit regulators seeking input on proposed rules? (Related)
29 December 2017 – John Hilton – InsuranceNewsNet
"Nearly all of our most-read stories were about the Department of Labor fiduciary rule as the election of President Donald J. Trump gave rise to hopes for a repeal."

 U.S. stock funds attract most cash since 2014

 Biggest withdrawal in four months hits U.S. domestic stock funds: ICI? (Related)
28 December 2017 – Trevor Hunnicutt – Reuters
"Nearly $9.6 billion tumbled out of funds focused on U.S. stocks during the week ended Dec. 20"...."Investors poured $24.1 billion into U.S.-based stock funds in the week to Dec. 27."

 New York’s Financial Watchdog Proposes ‘Best Interest’ Rules?
27 December 2017 – Katherine Chiglinsky – Bloomberg
"New York State’s top financial watchdog proposed regulations that would require sellers of life insurance and annuities to act in the best interest of clients, raising standards even as the U.S. government delays its fiduciary rule."

 How Trump's Tax Act Could Affect Annuity Issuers?
26 December 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"Here's a look at five of Krueger and Dargan's ideas about the effects of TCJA provisions on annuity issuers, drawn from two of their recent research reports."

 Voya to Exit Most of Its Annuity Business?
21 December 2017 – Melanie Waddell – ThinkAdvisor
"Voya Financial said Thursday that it plans to divest “substantially” all of its Closed Block Variable Annuity (CBVA) segment and its individual fixed and fixed indexed annuity business so that it can focus on “higher-growth, higher-return, capital-light” retirement, investment management and employee benefits businesses."

 How to Pay for Social Security’s Missing Trust Fund??
19 December 2017 – Alicia Munnell et al – Center for Retirement Research
There's $27 trillion missing from the Social Security trust fund. Who took it? Your parents and grandparents.

 The Return You Need?
8 December 2017 – Dirk Cotton – The Retirement Cafe
"It's a little like saying, "I really need to buy some very dependable income with this money but I think I'll bet it at the racetrack first because if I win I'll be able to buy even more safe income!" You need to consider other possibly less attractive outcomes." I missed this one, but it's a must read fo rall - Jack

 A.M. Best Upgrades Credit Ratings of Security Benefit Life Insurance Co.?
20 December 2017 – Press Release – A.M. Best
"A.M. Best has upgraded the Financial Strength Ratings to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings to “a-” from “bbb+” of Security Benefit Life Insurance Company (Topeka, KS) and First Security Benefit Life and Annuity Company of New York (New York, NY)."

Week of 27 November to 3 December 2017

 DOL 18-Month Delay Rule Taking Place

 Day after DOL delay, SEC's Jay Clayton calls a fiduciary rule a priority (Related)

 Delay of DOL fiduciary rule enforcement mechanisms now final? (Related)

 Ron Rhoades Sees Grim Fiduciary Rule Future (Related)

 5 New Facts on DOL’s Fiduciary Rule Delay (Related)
NAFA Staff
"The Office of Management and Budget approved the 18-month delay rule, extending the applicability date of the DOL fiduciary rule until July 1, 2019. The DOL filed the final delay rule with the OMB for approval on November 1, 2017." Link to pdf of Federal Register.

 Bonus vs. Index Crediting Potential: Which One Is Better?
1 December 2017 – Michael Jay Markey, Jr. – InsuranceNewsNet
"The conclusion is this: A fixed indexed annuity (FIA) with a bonus and lower crediting potential is not inferior to an FIA without a bonus and higher crediting potential."

 Genworth Merger Gets New Extension?
30 November 2017 – Press Release – InsuranceNewsNet
"The deadline for a Chinese company's proposed acquisition of [Genworth Financial] has been extended yet again - this time to April 1 as the companies continue to seek regulatory clearance for the deal."

  The Rise of the Volatility-Controlled Annuity?
30 November 2017 – Chris Conklin – ThinkAdvisor
"The appeal of an indexed annuity is that it is a savings vehicle which credits interest based on an index, such as that of a stock market."

  States may strengthen rules for selling annuities

 State Insurance Regulators Could Set Their Own Best Interest Standard? (Related)
30 November 2017 – Mark Schoeff Jr. – InvestmentNews
"State insurance commissioners this weekend will consider a draft proposal to strengthen the rules for selling annuities, an effort to put the marketing of the products more in line with the trend toward heightened investment advice standards."

  LIMRA Reports Drop in Q3 Annuity Sales

 Have annuity sales bottomed out? (Related)
29 November 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"U.S. sales of individual annuities fell to $47 billion in the third quarter, down 13% from the total for the third quarter of 2016, according to LIMRA insurer survey data"

 Don't Be Fooled: 6 Common Retirement Misconceptions?
28 November 2017 – Jerry Golden – Kiplinger
"Misconception No. 4: All annuities are bad. That is what you will hear in a drumbeat of advertising and social media from advisers who have built businesses out of selling products based on the stock market and other returns. The problem: The headlines do not distinguish between different types of annuities."

 Tips for hedging risk with annuity ladders?
28 November 2017 – Donald Jay Korn – Financial Planning
"As life expectancies stretch, clients may worry that they will outlast their savings. An annuity-laddering strategy could help provide lifelong cash flow, thus trimming this longevity risk and easing clients’ concerns.

Week of 30 October to 5 November 2017


 Enter world of annuities with eyes wide open
5 November 2017 – Rick Bloom – hometownlife
"At the time I bought the annuity, they told me that I can close it out whenever I wanted to. However, they did not tell me the whole story. It appears that if I close out the annuity now, I have to pay a hefty penalty. If fact, to my chagrin, I found out that the annuity has a 15-year penalty."

 The Heat Is On In The Hybrid Annuity Market
3 November 2017 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
"Competition in the fast-growing [buffered] annuity market is about to get fierce, the CEO of a life and annuity company said."

 DOL Fiduciary Rule Delay Moves Forward

 18-Month Extension of Transition Period and Delay of Applicability Dates... (Related)

  DOL fiduciary: OMB receives rule providing for 18-month delay ?(Related)

 One More Step and DOL Rule Delay is Official (Related)
2 November 2017 – Staff – NAFA
"The long-anticipated fiduciary rule delay was sent to the OMB yesterday (November 1) for final review. While the details are not yet public, we believe a delay of 18 months will be finalized next week."

 NAFA partners with message encryption provider
2 November 2017 – Staff – Retirement Income Journal
"NAFA, which lobbies on behalf of the fixed indexed annuity industry, said this week that it would partner with VeriFyle, a supplier of secure messaging and file sharing technology, and the use the software for “as many as 200,000 NAFA constituents. "Our members and their clients should have access to a private and secure channel for sharing documents and sending messages,” said Chip Anderson,"

 5 Republican Tax Bill Sections for Agents to Track

 Insurers Would Feel Impact of GOP Tax Reform (Related)
2 November 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"House Republican leaders today unveiled their long-awaited tax reform bill, H.R. 1, and started a fierce race to see which insurance and tax policy followers can read, and understand, a 429-page PDF the fastest.'

 3 FIA Myths to Unlock For Customers
31 October 2017 – Jim Poolman – ThinkAdvisor
"As the burden of retirement continues to shift from the employer to the employee, the 10,000 U.S. baby boomers retiring each day are actively seeking products that they can use for financial stability and, specifically, products that give them a combination of principal protection, lifetime income, and a solid rate of return."

 America Is Incredibly Savings Insecure
30 October 2017 – IALC PressRelease - InsuranceNewsNet
"New survey results released today by the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council (IALC), the council committed to providing complete and factual information about the use of indexed annuities as part of any balanced financial plan, provide insight into American's retirement savings – or lack thereof."

 It’s time to start safeguarding your retirement investments
30 October 2017 – Diane Harris – MarketWatch
"Once you retire, you could use some of your savings to buy an immediate annuity from an insurance or investment company. This financial product provides a guaranteed monthly income for life."

Week of 16 October to 22 October 2017

October 2017 – Staff – NAFA Annuity Outlook
"Like many of you, I watched the countless news stories of the devastating hurricanes that hit the United States and our neighbors in the Caribbean islands. Texas, specifically the Houston area, and the state of Florida suffered catastrophic losses, and many of our NAFA members were hit hard, losing houses, offices, cars and personal property that they will never be able to replace."

 Federal Roundup: DOL Proposes Fiduciary Rule Delay While Congress Tackles Big Policy Issues
October 2017 – Cliff Andrews – NAFA Annuity Outlook
"On a positive note, a temporary sense of calmness has emerged stemming from the DOL recently proposing a delay of the effective date of the full rule until July 2019. A two week public comment period closed September 15th , and NAFA submitted a comment letter lauding the DOL for considering this change and urged that it be adopted as soon as possible. This comment letter follows two comment letters that NAFA recently filed in response to DOL."

 State Roundup: States Take Action to Expand Fiduciary Duties
October 2017 – Pam Heinrich – NAFA Annuity Outlook
"In the midst of all this activity, a number of individual States have begun to consider the implementation of new or expanded fiduciary-related obligations. Nevada recently passed legislation, Nevada Senate Bill 383 (NV 2017 Session Laws, Ch. 322), effective July 1, 2017, which imposes a Fiduciary Duty on broker-dealers, sales representatives, investment advisors, and representatives of investment advisors who, for compensation, advise other persons concerning the investment of money."

 The Finger-Pointing at the Finance Firm TIAA
21 October 2017 – Gretchen Morgensenn – New York Times
This story is about up-selling advisory fees, but the company's name includes 'Annuity Association' and the topic may come up – Jack

 An Annuity That Helps Advisors Buck The 'Complications'
20 October 2017 – Ben Mattlin – Financial Advisor
"Guaranteed income for life, whether from an annuity or other insurance product rider, sounds good. But what are the pluses and minuses of the various options for securing this income guarantee?"

  Annuitization Push May Favor Insurers Over Agents
20 October 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
I closed my crystal ball talk at the NAFA Annuity Distribution Summit this month by saying In the future, annuities and most types of insurance will be purchased at work through a provider menu selected by their employer and not through an independent agent. This story focus is part of the reason for the prediction - Jack

 The Key To Retirement Income Is The Guarantee, Not The Maybe

 How To Protect Your Retirement Investments (Related)

 U.S. fund investors regain risk appetite as Dow breaches 23,000 (Related)
20 October 2017 – Bob McDonald – Forbes
"The first thing that happens upon retirement is that the steady income we had come to rely on stops abruptly. The biggest challenge (and greatest fear) for most retirees is replacing the income earned while working."

 Retirement — and How You Can Overcome It
19 October 2017 – Walter Updegrave – Time Money
"If you're really worried about running out of money in retirement, there's a simple way to ensure you won't: Convert a portion of your savings to income you can't outlive."

 State Fiduciary Laws Seen Adding to Chaos, Confusion
19 October 2017 – Rita Raagas De Ramos – Financial Advisor IQ
"Proponents and critics of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule finally agree on something: States coming up with their own fiduciary laws just add to the chaos and confusion. Nevada passed and signed into law its Senate Bill 383, subjecting broker-dealers and investment advisors – effective July 1 – to the Nevada Revised Statute for financial planners, NRS 628A."

 Thrivent, DOL Anti-Arb Fiduciary Tussle Continues
19 October 2017 – Melanie Waddell – ThinkAdvisor
"But Thrivent argued in its Oct. 18 reply brief that Labor “spends almost the entirety” of its opposition “attempting to convince the court that the harm currently sustained by Thrivent, and the further harm that Thrivent will incur when the anti-arbitration condition becomes applicable, is not really real."

 DOL Rule Delay Expected to Fuel 2018 Annuity Sales Spike
18 October 2017 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
"The expected 18-month delay in the Department of Labor fiduciary rule will drive a healthy 2018 annuity sales rebound, analysts say. New sales of individual U.S. fixed and variable annuities are forecast to grow 5 percent in 2018, LIMRA analysts said. In the spring, before the delay was announced, LIMRA forecast up to a 15 percent drop in fixed and variable sales."

 THE NATION'S RETIREMENT SYSTEM: A Comprehensive Re-evaluation Is Needed
18 October – Staff – GAO
This primarily is about defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit plans. It is supportive of including an immediate annuity option and qualified longevity annuity contract (QLAC) in DC plans. On rollovers, the comment is "individuals can purchase an annuity with their DC account balances at retirement, but doing so on the retail market can be expensive and complicated."

 Insurer Group Promotes Indexed Annuities in New Video
17 October 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"A coalition of eight life insurers is working to promote indexed annuities in a new animated video aimed at consumers. The group, the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council, has posted the video, "How to Tell FIA Facts From FIA Fiction," on"

 Most Americans Lack Access to Guaranteed Income in Retirement Plans

 Americans Want Annuities (Wait, What?) In Retirement Plans (Related)
17 October 2017 – Press Release – TIAA
"Given a choice between receiving a $500,000 lump sum at retirement or getting $2,700/month for life, 62 percent would choose the monthly income. However, even though Americans want steady income throughout their retirement, only 32 percent say their retirement plan includes access to products that provide monthly income in retirement." Link to TIAA paper

 A Ticking Clock: New York's Pending Non-Guaranteed Elements Rule For Life Insurance And Annuity Products (may require Registration)
16 October 2017 – Steve Kass – Mondaq
"The clock is ticking on the New York Department of Financial Services' issuance of new Regulation 210 "Life Insurance and Annuity Non-Guaranteed Elements" (the Rule). The Rule would impose comprehensive requirements on insurers offering individual and group life insurance and annuity products in New York containing non-guaranteed elements."

 Dismissal Of Individual Claims Cap Insurer's Winning Streak In Action Challenging FIA Product Features

 Dismissal of Individual Claims Cap Insurer’s Winning Streak in Action Challenging FIA Product Features
16 October 2017 – Christine Stoddard – Mondaq
"plaintiff failed to show that he was charged anything that violated a contractual term or that [the carrier] failed to credit interest as the policy required. The court further found that [the carrier] had acted in good faith in exercising its discretion regarding interest-crediting strategies."

 DOL asks for stay in ‘unnecessary’ fiduciary rule challenge
16 October 2017 – Hazel Bradford – Pension & Investments
"The Department of Labor argued in one of five legal challenges to the fiduciary rule that proceedings be stayed while officials work on revising the rule administratively."

Week of 25 September to 1 October 2017ng>

 How to Build a Portfolio That Will Last Until You're 100

 7 Retirement Rules to Live By (Related)
30 September 2017 – Wendy Connick – The Motley Fool
The top one is a very generic article, but at least it mentions including annuities as part of the portfolio. The bottom one is recycled every month with a new date and says FIAs have steep fees (and no, she won't correct it, I've asked) - Jack

 Why Annuity Sales Are Slumping
29 September 2017 – Annalynn Kurtz – U.S. News
"So what's happening? A few things. First, years of low interest rates in the United States continue to make it unattractive for savers to lock in a long-term contract now, particularly if they're concerned that inflation could pick up and dilute the value of their annuity payments in the future ."

 Annuity isn't growing as promised. Now what?
28 September 2017 – Karin Price Mueller – New Jersey Business
"Q. I invested in three different annuities. I was repeatedly assured the return would be 6 percent per year. Now, three years later, it seems not to be happening."

 Is Guaranteed Income for Life the Right Option for You?

 Seeking Secure Retirement Income? An Annuity Could Be a Good Fit (Related)
28 September 2017 – Walter Updegrave – CNN Money
"Funny thing about annuities. People love them in concept, but they aren't nearly as enthusiastic when it comes to actually buying these insurance products, which are the only investments that can provide guaranteed income for life."

 Tonuity: A Novel Individual-Oriented Retirement Plan
28 September 2017 – Many – Social Science Research Network
This math-heavy academic paper shows that adopting a few tontine features may help buyers.

 U.S. Is Said to Plan Freeing AIG From Systemic-Risk Designation

 NAIC Reacts to De-designation of AIG by FSOC (Related)
28 September 2017 – Melanie Waddell – ThinkAdvisor
Update: The Financial Stability Oversight Council did rule that AIG is no longer too big to fail, the only remaining nonbank of the original four still tagged with label is Prudential Financial. General Electric shed billions in financial assets to escape and MetLife by winning a court case (under appeal) that said MetLife was not a systemically important financial institution (SIFI).

 3 Types of Designated Beneficiaries You Must Understand
28 September 2017 – Stephan R. Leimberg et al – ThinkAdvisor
"The biggest consideration in estate planning for qualified plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) is determining the “right” beneficiary. "

 Thinking Of Annuities As An Act Of Civilization
28 September 2017 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
"Advisors and carriers are facing the challenge of recasting their approaches to annuity sales. In the midst of that challenge, a psychologist urged advisors to think of insurance and risk pooling as an act of civilization and social construct."

 Can Knowledge Empower Women To Save More For Retirement?
27 September 2017 – Drew Anderson & J. Michael Collins – Center For Retirement Research
No! – Jack

 NASAA Releases Annual Enforcement Report
26 September 2017 – Staff- North American Securities Administrators Association
Six months after FINRA, NAIC and SEC released their complaint and enforcement data, NASAA has released their 2016 results (link to report pdf). One of several poorly explained parts is under a section called Vulnerable Senior Investors where there is a chart titled "Tactics to Exploit Seniors" and included is a bar titled annuities (37). There is no explanation for what the chart is supposed to mean. The chart includes what might be used as part of a tactic such as free lunch (15) and affinity fraud (48), but also includes traditional securities (115). Unless NASAA considers every investment they permit to be sold a "tactic", my guess is what they mean is some senior complaints involved some type of securities or some type of annuity – Jack

 Identity Thieves Are Trying to Loot Annuities
25 September 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"The Nebraska department put out a consumer alert in July, after it heard of malefactors making "numerous attempts" to get into annuity contracts owned by Nebraska residents."

 Rep. Wagner Introduces Bill to Kill DOL Fiduciary Rule

 ACLI Backs Fiduciary Rule Bill as Trump Signs H.R. 3110 (Related)

 5 Financial Professional Ideas for Improving the DOL Fiduciary Rule (Related)

 SEC's Clayton says agency is 'pushing' toward a fiduciary rule, working with DOL (Related)
25 September 2017 – Melanie Waddell – ThinkAdvisor
"Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., introduced Wednesday her bill to repeal the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule. Wagner said on Sept. 7 that she would introduce her bill, the Protecting Access for Small Savers Act, which keeps a fiduciary rulemaking under the Securities and Exchange Commission’s jurisdiction, by the end of September and would push for a speedy markup."

Week of 14 August to 20 August 2017

 Some things to consider when planning for retirement security
20 August 2017 – Julie Jason – CT Post
"5. Obey coverage rules. The ideal situation is to cover essential expenses with “guaranteed” sources of income, such as Social Security retirement benefits, pensions and pension substitutes, such as the plain vanilla immediate annuity sold by insurance companies."

 4 Ways to Finance Healthcare in Retirement
19 August 2017 – Wendy Connick – The Motley Fool
"Self-insure with an annuity. The big benefit of fixed annuities is that they will pay you a set amount every month for as long as you live. This extra income can literally be a lifesaver if you run into a medical crisis unexpectedly."

 Bill With Fiduciary Rule Ban, ACA De-Funding Nears House Floor
18 August 2017 – Allison Bell - ThinkAdvisor
"Members of the House Rules Committee are preparing to review a bill that could nullify the U.S. Department of Labor's fiduciary rule and eliminate federal funding for the Affordable Care Act."

 Here’s What to Expect if You Sell Annuities
17 August 2017 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
"Over the next three years, retail life and annuity agents and financial advisors can expect simpler annuity structures, more fee-based annuities and fewer riders and income guarantees in product rollouts, a consultant said Wednesday."

 JUST PLAIN TALK: What I learned at summer camp
17 August 2017 – Buz Livingston – The Walton Sun
"Annuities and banjos are similar. Used improperly they are terrible, but you should never exclude either based on preconceived notions."

 DOL Has No Authority For Fiduciary Rule, DC Circ. Told (Registration Required)
16 August 2017 – Carmen Germaine – Law360
"The National Association for Fixed Annuities urged the D.C. Circuit on Tuesday to revive the group's challenge to the U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule for retirement account advisers, saying the regulation threatens to upend the fixed annuities industry and exceeds the agency’s authority."

  Pay attention when investing in annuities
16 August 2016 – Paul Muschick – Lehigh The Morning Call
"You must choose carefully where to put your nest egg and understand the pros and cons. That’s especially true with annuities, which have been an increasing source of complaints to state authorities."

 Surveys reveal service disruptions under fiduciary rule
16 August 2017 – Nick Thornton – BenefitsPro
"Up to 28 million accounts and $2.9 trillion in assets will have less access to some investments, according to the study."

 Best-interest contract could be casualty of DOL fiduciary rule delay

 Anticipating delay to DOL fiduciary rule, broker-dealers and RIAs change course (Related)
15 August 2017 – Mark Schoeff, Jr. - InvestmentNews
"The part of the Labor Department's fiduciary rule that has heartened supporters and caused heartburn for opponents, the best-interest contract, could become a casualty of the ongoing reassessment of the rule."

 Brighthouse Continues Push Toward Fee-Based Annuities
15 August 2017 – Allison Bell - ThinkAdvisor
"The U.S. Department of Labor may be trying to postpone implementation of its own fiduciary rule standards, but insurers continue to add annuity products designed for a world in which advisor fees may eventually crowd out insurance agent commissions."

 The DOL Fiduciary Rule is Here NOW WHAT?
15 August 2017 – Tom Hegna – NAFA Annuity Outlook
"We can all go on and on about how the Fiduciary Rule is NOT in the best interest of our clients. How the little guy, who never had to pay a fee to advisors before, will now likely be doing exactly that – IF they can even find one."

 Hidden Risk in Target Date Funds
15 August 2017 – Terry Savage – The HuffingtonPost
"Immunize your spending needs. Falk says you need to figure out your basic spending needs and compare to your guaranteed income, such as Social Security and a pension. You may also want to purchase an immediate annuity with a portion of your retirement savings or consider a reverse mortgage. Once guaranteed income covers basic living expenses, you can look at investment risk differently."

 LPL buys National Planning Holdings with eye toward 17,000-advisor firm
15 August 2017 – Tobias Salinger – Financial Planning
"LPL and NPH parent Jackson National Life Insurance signed the deal after receiving regulatory approval. The transaction requires current NPH advisors and their client assets to join LPL’s platform, rather than integrating NPH’s, in a process slated to be completed by early next year."

Week of 31 July to 6 August 2017

 4 Annuity Rules You Should Know by Heart
5 August 2017 – Maurie Backman – The Motley Fool
"Some people shy away from annuities because compared to other investment options, they can be complicated and difficult to understand. But if you're looking to secure additional income in retirement, and have already maxed out your options for funding an IRA or 401(k), an annuity may be your next best bet."

 DOL fiduciary rule already proving to be harmful and onerous

 Fiduciary rule may not be fully implemented until 2019 (Related)

 Friend or Foe? Dissecting DOL Fiduciary Moves (Related)

 5th Circuit Hears Latest Round of Fiduciary Rule Arguments (Related)

 Watchdog Bigwigs Clash Over Anti-DOL Rule Stance (Related)
"Several financial industry trade associations that oppose the Labor Department's fiduciary rule have maximized their campaign spending on the author of legislation that would kill the rule."

 Consumer and insurance groups disagree on advice standard for annuity sales
2 August 2017 – Mark Schoeff Jr - InvestmentNews
"An effort by state insurance regulators to raise investment-advice standards for annuity sales appears to be driving a wedge between consumer organizations and a life insurance trade association."

 Alaina Gullett selected as NAFA’s Membership and Development Manager
1 August 2017 – Staff – NAFA Annuity Outlook
"NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, is pleased to announce and welcome Alaina Gullett as its membership and development manager."

 IMOs Have Tricky Path to Sales Under DOL Rules
1 August 2017 – John Hilton – InsuranceNewsNet
"Insurance marketing organizations (IMOs) are playing a guessing game while selling annuities under the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rules, experts say."

 3 Essential Steps to Getting Out of a Sales Slump
31 July 2017 – Shawn Sparks – ThinkAdvisor
"Even the best salespeople fall into a slump sometimes. The trajectory to greatness is never a straight line. Instead, people falter and fall all along their way to achieving their higher life insurance, disability insurance and annuity sales goals."

July 2017

 NAFA Urges DOL to Delay January 1, 2018 Fiduciary Rule Applicability Date
July 2017 – Staff – NAFA Annuity Outlook
"In a letter submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor, NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, is urging the Department to extend the January 1, 2018 implementation date of the fiduciary duty rule (“the Rule”)." Press Release pdf

 Legal Fight To Stop DOL Rule Returns To Court
28 July 2017 – John Hilton – InsuranceNewsNet
"The industry plaintiffs are consolidated from three lawsuits that were filed last summer in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. While the plaintiffs lost the federal court decisions, the Dallas court was chosen specifically because appeals would go to the Fifth Circuit."

 DOL Official: Help Me Improve Fiduciary Rule
27 July 2017 – John Hilton – InsuranceNewsNet
"The best way the insurance industry can affect change on the Department of Labor fiduciary rule is by providing current data to regulators, a top department official said today."

 Illinois Insurance Agent Sentenced to 5 Years for Fraud Scheme
26 July 2017 – Staff – Insurance Journal
"Smith admitted that he falsely represented the minimum rate of return the annuities could obtain for his clients. Instead of investing clients’ money in insurance, annuities, or other financial products, he used the money for his own benefit."

 Jay Clayton says SEC, DOL can give market 'clarity' on fiduciary rule

 ACLI, IRI Back Roe-Roskam Fiduciary Rule Alternative Bill (Related)
26 July 2017 – Mark Schoeff, Jr. – InvestmentNews
"SEC Chairman Jay Clayton expressed confidence Wednesday that his agency and the Labor Department could reach "common ground" on an investment advice standard across all accounts."

 For retirees, age is more than one number
25 July 2017 – Mark Story – Professional Planner (It's Australian, but has a universal message)
"instead of scaring retirees into trying to accumulate extra savings to perpetuate lifestyles they may neither have nor want, one solution Milevsky recommends is allowing people to choose from a much wider range of retirement income products."

 Is It Time For Your Safety-Seeking Clients To Take Another Look At Fixed Annuities?
25 July 2017 – Chris Conklin – InsuranceNewsNet
"One of the most important conversations you’ll have about managing a client’s finances is what portion of their money should be used for “risky” investments to maximize growth potential and what portion should be kept “safe” to ensure preservation of capital when the markets get turbulent."

 Why Do the Pundits Hate Annuity Commissions?
25 July 2017 – Chuck Ritzke – ThinkAdvisor
''In this video installment, we are addressing the pundits' primary punching bag — one seemingly more evil than tyrannical dictators, terrorists, or 1950s movie creatures from out of the lagoon. That is, of course, annuity commissions."

 The DOL Fiduciary Rule: Charting A Course, Avoiding Collisions & Potential Litigation

 Fiduciary Rule's Impact On IRA Annuity Recommendations (Related)
24 July 2017 – Jeff Jordan – Mondaq
"Q. Does it make a difference, from a potential litigation perspective, whether a commissioned sale of an annuity to an IRA relies on Prohibited Transaction Exemption (PTE) 84-24 or the best interest contract (BIC) for its exemption?

 Insurance agent charged in $1.1 million scam
24 July 2017 – Ryan Smith – Insurance Business
"As a licensed insurance agent, he would allegedly sell annuity policies issued by legitimate insurers. Before those policies expired, he would convince his clients to surrender them and purchase new ones. That would net Heffernan a hefty commission"

 6 Biggest Headwinds Facing Women on the Road to Retirement
22 July 2017 – Alison Southwick & Robert Brokamp – The Motley Fool
"And then finally, for those who are actually in retirement, I think it's worth considering a classic, plain-vanilla annuity. You hand over a lump sum of money and you get a check in the mail for the rest of your life. Studies have shown that for some retirees, an annuity is a much better choice than cash or bonds."

 For Wealthy Pre-Retirees, What Beats Financial Security?
21 July 2017 – Michael Fischer – ThinkAdvisor
"Financial security is only one consideration for wealthy investors contemplating retirement, and not the most important one. They are more concerned about being emotionally prepared to retire."

 How to Avoid Looking Stupid in Marketing and Sales
21 July 2017 – John Graham – ThinkAdvisor
"In life insurance and annuity marketing and sales anyone can be an “expert.” Just ask and they’ll give you instant ironclad answers. They may take a pass on other issues but not this one."

 ACLI, IRI Back Roe-Roskam Fiduciary Rule Alternative Bill

 House panel passes bill to replace DOL fiduciary rule with one requiring disclosure of conflicts (Related)
20 July 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"Life groups are praising two Republican lawmakers' effort to replace the U.S. Department of Labor fiduciary rule regulations with a new, statutory sales and marketing standard."

 Can you afford to live until age 95?
20 July 2017 – Steve Vernon - CBSMoneyWatch
"One good retirement strategy is to cover your basic living expenses with sources of income that are guaranteed for life. This way, you don't need to worry about paying for the roof over your head and food on the table if you live a long time."

 New DOL Rule Changes the Way Annuity Salespeople Do Business
20 July 2017 – Shawn Sparks – ThinkAdvisor
"It’s probably not hyperbole to say that the new U.S. Department of Labor fiduciary rule is completely changing the financial services sector."

 Prudential to Realign Its U.S. Businesses
20 July 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"Prudential Financial Inc. plans to put its U.S. individual life, annuity and investment advisory operations in one individual solutions unit, under the leadership of Lori Fouché."

 Panel: DOL Rule Will ‘Most Certainly’ Be Delayed

 Analysts: DOL Rule Could Be Pushed Out to 2020 (Related)
19 July 2017 – John Hilton – Insurancenewsnet
"Phase two of the controversial Department of Labor fiduciary rule will almost certainly be delayed beyond Jan. 1, a panel convened by The American College agreed today."

 8 Essential Principles Of Planning For Retirement (Part 2)
18 July 2017 – Wade Pfau – Forbes
"On the insurance side, insurance agents receive commissions for selling insurance products and are only held to a “suitable” standard for advice... Meanwhile, those charging hourly fees naturally do not wish to make their recommendations so simple that they forego the need for an ongoing planning relationship."

 Trending QDIAs Unlock Retirement Income
18 July 2017 – Robert Bloink & William Byrnes– ThinkAdvisor
"Qualified default investment alternatives (QDIAs) are not naturally the type of retirement income planning tool that are at the back of a client’s mind—if the client is aware of them at all. Despite this, new studies have shown that the recent evolution of QDIA options is likely to drive 401(k) plan participants’ future access to lifetime retirement income options."

 U.S. banks pay up for big deposits as consumers get pennies
18 July 2017 – Dan Freed & David Henryn – Reuters
It's not about annuities, but it should be of interest – Jack

 Manulife Could Separate From John Hancock
18 July 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, based on interviews with anonymous sources, that Manulife Financial Corp., which is based in Toronto, is eager to sell or spin off the company's Boston-based John Hancock unit."

 Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2017 Update in Perspective
17 July 2017 – Alicia Munnell – Center for Retirement Research
"The 2017 Trustees Report shows very little change: Social Security’s 75-year deficit rose slightly from 2.66 percent to 2.83 percent of payroll. The deficit as a percentage of GDP remains at 0.9 percent. Trust fund exhaustion is still 2034, after which payroll taxes still cover about three quarters of promised benefits."

June to July 2, 2017

 5 Worst States for Insurance Producer Fines
2 July 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"Some states hit insurance producers with a lot more fines than others, and some are more likely to impose a fine than to get a producer to pay any ill-gotten money back to the customers."

 Tilting the Agent Count as Bankers Life Reshapes into Advisory
2 July 2017 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
"At Bankers Life, the career agency is tilting away from a pure insurance agency shop and toward an advisory shop. In the process [it] offers a case study in how to recast a narrowly-focused captive insurance distribution approach into a holistic advisory one that extends to insurance agents an opportunity to further their careers."

 U.S. Retirement Asset Total Increases 8.5%: ICI
2 July 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"Life insurers may be having a harder time building U.S. retirement assets than other types of financial services providers are."

 4 Retirement Strategies to Guarantee Monthly Income
30 June 2017 – Maurie Backman – The Motley Fool
Yet another old Fool article pasted with a new date, but it does suggest buying an immediate annuity - Jack

 Commercial Real Estate Debt Cracks $3 Trillion Barrier 30
June 2017 – Paul Bubny – ThinkAdvisor
"Anecdotally, the perception may be that lenders in the commercial mortgage arena are tightening the purse strings; however, the hard numbers suggest otherwise."

 FSOC Patch Bill Brings Democrats and Republicans Together
30 June 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have found an area of agreement: They want the panel that decides which insurers are "too big to fail" to always have a member who knows something about insurance."

 [Pennsylvania] High Court Shuts Door on Claims Against Insurance Salesman
30 June 2017 – Max Mitchell – ThinkAdvisor
"Plaintiffs looking to sue insurance salesmen and financial advisors must be able to show they ceded decision-making control to the defendants before they can pursue claims for breach of fiduciary duty, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled."

 6 Retirement Planning Deadlines You Must Know
29 June 2017 – Mark Eghrari – Forbes
"Purchase a fixed annuity: since that [maximum purchase age] limitation often falls between 85 and 95 years old, that is often not a problem. And of course the longer you wait to purchase a fixed annuity, the less likely it might be that you have sufficient assets to do so. "

 10th Circuit Finds ‘Dateline’ Exposé ‘Mostly True’
29 June 2017 – Emma Gannon – CourthouseNews
"Finding that [a 2008] NBC “Dateline” episode that suggested Brokers’ Choice of America was defrauding old people was “mostly true,” the 10th Circuit on Wednesday dismissed defamation and fraud claims against the network."

 DOL Releases Fiduciary Rule Request for Information
29 June2017 – Melanie Waddell – ThinkAdvisor
"The Department of Labor on Thursday published a Request for Information (RFI) regarding its fiduciary rule. Information gleaned from comments “could form the basis of new exemptions or changes/revisions” to the fiduciary rule and its associated prohibited transaction exemptions, or PTEs," DOL Notice pdf

 In Fiduciary Rule, How Do You Define ‘Reasonable’ Compensation?
29 June 2017 – Robert Bloink & William Byrnes – ThinkAdvisor
"The Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule transition period is well underway—meaning that advisors are now bound by the rule’s impartial conduct standards. While some elements of that equation are relatively straightforward, defining the concept of “reasonable” compensation can be tricky."

 Insurance Is the Hot New Way to Avoid Taxes
 New-ish Tax Planning Instrument Gathering Billions (Related)
28 June 2017 – Sonali Basak &Tom Metcalf – Bloomberg Businessweek
"The new hot thing in tax avoidance has a boring old name: insurance dedicated funds... but they can also be held in annuity contracts, which have different tax implications."

 Is Washington Hurting your Annuity Business?
27 June 2017 – Vanessa Peng – Legalbroadcastnetwork
"If you’re an annuity business owner, chances are things are slow for you right now. According to ThinkAdvisor it might be Washington’s fault. ThinkAdvisor lists five ways Washington could be hurting your annuity business."

 SEC Moving Forward on Fiduciary Rule, Clayton Says
27 June2017 – Melanie Waddell – ThinkAdvisor
"Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton on Tuesday signaled that the agency is moving ahead on a coordinated fiduciary rule with the Department of Labor."

June 2017

 The Requirement to Disclose Fiduciary Status: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #49

 DOL fiduciary rule should be improved, not scrapped

 Are brokers really ready to be fiduciaries?

 What's to come after the June 9 DOL fiduciary rule implementation begins (Video)

 Annuities Offer Stability, Lump Sum Takers Say

 One retirement choice causes some to run out of money (Related)
2 June 2017 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
This is a small piece of the MetLife study released earlier this spring asking retirees if they were offered a lump sum or annuity option when they retired, how they chose, and how they felt about the choice. The results are fascinating and worth a read.[]

 Census Bureau Starts New Annuity Data Stream
1 June 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"Only 4.6% of U.S. households told census takers they had annuities or trusts in 2013, but those households had an average of $180,271 in annuity and trust assets each."

May 2017

 Advisers question Chamber report about harm from DOL rule
31 May 2017 – Mark Schoeff, Jr. – InvestmentNews
"The Chamber highlighted findings that show that 7 million individual retirement account holders could be jettisoned by their advisers because their accounts are too small and that service fees could rise by 200%." Link to pdf of report

 Annuities and Retirement Income Planning
31 May 2017 – Patrick Collins – CFA Institute
The study tries to be show and compare the various annuity income alternatives. It talks about immediate annuities, deferred income annuities, variable annuities with GLWBs (and their counterpart ruin contingent deferred annuities), but fixed rate or fixed index annuities with GLWBs are nowhere to be found - Jack

 The Future Of Annuities
31 May 2017 – Ben Mattlin – Financial Advisor
"Then the U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule was put on hold just weeks before it was set to go into effect, so the Trump administration could examine whether it’s good or bad for the industry. As of this writing, the consensus expectation is that the regs will be made less stringent if they’re not repealed altogether."

 This Map Shows the Real Cost of Conflicted Financial Advice
31 May 2017 – Megan Leonhardt – Money
The fictional article purports to show what advisor "conflicts of interest" cost consumers in each state. It is a piece of theatre using flawed methodology based on a disproved study. However, it is excellent propaganda - Jack

 7 Great Sources of Retirement Income
30 May 2017 – Wendy Connick - The Motley Fool
Annuities come in a staggering variety of types and'll want to choose an advisor who does not sell annuities himself to ensure that there is no conflict of interest involved. "

 Bank customers overwhelmingly reject robo-advisers: survey
30 May 2017 – Staff – Reuters
The underlying rationale for the DOL fiduciary rule revision was not that consumers were being scammed – because the evidence shows those instances are a very small percentage – but that costs were too high, A solution voiced by the DOL was consumers would use low cost robo-advisors. However, a study of 15,000 consumers found the vast majority would not let a computer program make and act upon financial decisions on their behalf – Jack

 How Insurance Companies Work
30 May 2017 – Jordan Wathen & Gaby Lapera – The Motley Fool
"It's Insurance Day on Industry Focus: Financials. In today's episode, Motley Fool analyst Gaby Lapera and contributor Jordan Wathen explain the most important things that investors need to know about how insurance companies operate. Then they answer listener questions about all things insurance."

 Wall Street May Get New Chance to Gut DOL Fiduciary Rule

 SEC Jumps Into Fiduciary Rule Fray, Seeking Comments on ‘Future Action’ (Related)

 SEC reasserts itself...but it's not clear whether it will overtake DOL fiduciary rule (Related)

 Godzilla (the Fiduciary Rule) Ate the Rule of Law (Subscription Required)
30 May 2017 – Ben Bain & Elizabeth Dexheimer - ThinkAdvisor
"The finance industry may get a fresh opportunity to chip away at an Obama-era rule that cracked down on Wall Street conflicts of interest, as the Securities and Exchange Commission is considering reviewing the responsibilities that brokers have to their clients."

 NAFA Statement on DOL Fiduciary Rule :Disappointed in Decision not to Delay Rule Implementation Date
May 2017 – Staff – NAFA Annuity Outlook
"[NAFA] is very disappointed that Secretary Acosta did not delay the June 9 implementation deadline of the DOL “Fiduciary Rule.” NAFA has remained strongly opposed to the June 9 implementation date of the Fiduciary Rule consistent with the analysis mandated by President Trump’s Executive Memo of February 3."

 Annuities are complex investments. Here are 10 questions to ask to protect yourself
28 May 2017 – Wendi Strom – Denver Post
"Annuities can be complex and at times are aggressively sold. As a result, many buyers may sign on the dotted line before truly understanding what they are getting into. Since they also can come with hefty price tags and restrictions on withdrawals, knowledge is power."

 Placing an annuity in an IRA may not be, as some say, like wearing a raincoat indoors
27 May 2017 – Tim Grant – Tribune News Service
“Is it a good idea to buy an annuity within an IRA? At first blush, the answer would seem to be ‘no’ because one of the biggest benefits of an annuity is tax deferral, which you already have in an IRA. But it’s not so simple.”

 3 Things Most Americans Want In Retirement And How To Get Them
26 May 2017 – Jamie Hopkins – Forbes
"Consider how you will turn that nest egg into income in retirement. Consider whether an annuity fits into your plan, as it can provide a steady and reliable source of income throughout retirement, easing the burden and concerns of withdrawing money from a volatile portfolio."

 Taking Portfolio Spending Out Of The Vacuum For Retirees
26 May 2017 – Wade Pfau – Forbes
"The Trinity study established the idea of focusing on success and failure rates, building into our psyche the idea that your retirement is a failure if the investment portfolio is depleted. This has put too much emphasis on the portfolio and spending conservatively to keep failure rates low. This is not the whole story for retirement income."

 The Use of Immediate Annuities in Medicaid Planning for Married Couples
26 May 2017 – Staff – ElderLawAnswers
"Immediate annuities can be a useful tool to protect the spouse of a nursing home resident who applies for Medicaid. These types of annuities allow the nursing home resident to spend down assets and give the spouse a guaranteed income. But immediate annuities may not work in every state, so be sure to check with your attorney."

 Wall Street Signals Bond Yields to Stay Lower, Fed Hikes or Not
26 May 2017 – Brian Chappatta, and Liz Capo McCormick – ThinkAdvisor
"Stubbornly low Treasury yields are spurring Wall Street to slash forecasts for the months ahead, and whether the Federal Reserve winds up raising rates again has little to do with it."

 Why Do the Pundits Hate Fixed Annuities?

 Annuities can make sense, but not for everyone (related)
26 May 2017 – Chuck Ritzke – ThinkAdvisor
"Of course, if you sell annuities, or have even thought of selling annuities, you know that the value of a variable annuity can go up or down with their underlying investment funds."

 DOL fiduciary rule pushes indexed annuity carriers to develop new products
25 May 2017 – Greg Iacurci – InvestmentNews
"Insurance companies, especially those that are indexed-annuity-centric, have been launching annuity products within the past several months in anticipation of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule, which is expected to cause a big disruption to distribution of their traditional products."

 The Fixed-Index Annuity Industry Won Battles Only To Lose the War
25 May 2017 – Ryan Brown - ThinkAdvisor
"After losing the U.S. Senate in the 2014 mid-term elections, the Obama administration faced a political pickle. How could it advance its agenda without the support of a Republican-controlled House of Representatives or a newly controlled Republican Senate?"

 Report: FIA Sales Tumble 14% In 1Q

 FIA Market In 1Q: The Top 10 Shuffle (Related)

 FIA Riders Reach Inflection Point (Related)
24 May 2017 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
"First quarter 2017 sales of fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) dropped 14 percent to $12.9 billion compared with the year-ago period, a widely-followed industry data tracker reported Wednesday."

 U.S. Firm Agrees to Acquire Fidelity & Guaranty Life
24 May 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"CF Corp., an investment firm based in the Cayman Islands, has agreed to acquire Fidelity & Guaranty Life, a midsize issuer of life insurance and indexed annuity products, for $31.10 per share in cash."

 4 Ways to Overcome Media-Driven Annuity Misconceptions
23 May 2017 – Chris Conklin – ThinkAdvisor
"How many of you have seen the national television ad where a financial advisor looks straight into the camera and says he would never sell an annuity to a client? Not only does he say he’ll never sell an annuity, but he also goes on to provide this rationale: Annuities are “confusing” and could subject a client to “tax problems.”

 Think about purchasing an annuity
23 May 2017 – George Sherry – The Missoulian
"Yes, savers are not earning much interest on their money at present. A CD which pays only one-half percent interest is nearly an insult. One possible solution for some people, mostly older folks, would be to purchase an annuity."

 Deregulators Must Follow the Law, So Regulators Will Too

 DOL Fiduciary Rule: What you need to know about Acosta's decision (Related)

 DOL Fiduciary Rule Officially Kicks In June 9 With No Bite (Related)

 Winners and Losers in a Post-Fiduciary World (Subscription Needed)

 Most Americans Favor DOL Rule Without Knowing What it Is, Survey Says (Related)
22 May 2017 – Alexander Acosta – Wall Street Journal
"We have carefully considered the record in this case, and the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, and have found no principled legal basis to change the June 9 date while we seek public input."


 NAFA Presses DOL to Use Procedures Law to Delay Fiduciary Rule (related)
21 May 2017 – Staff – NAFA Annuity Outlook
"NAFA reports over 2200 of its members have already written the White House urging President Trump to stop the rule from taking effect on June 9th. “We feel we must take our message straight to the White House so President Trump knows our members are very worried and are counting on him to prevent any part of this onerous rule from taking effect,” said NAFA’s executive director Chip Anderson."

 DOL Could See Lawsuit by Fiduciary Rule Supporters
19 May 2017 – by Kristen Ricaurte Knebel – Pension & Benefits Daily
"The Department of Labor may experience deja vu in the form of more legal challenges if it further delays the fiduciary rule, this time from the rule’s supporters."

 DOL fiduciary rule opponents, lawmakers call for further delay at House hearing

 Lawmakers to Trump: Delay the DOL Rule (related)

 DOL Must Further Delay Fiduciary Rule, Lawmakers Told (related)

 Senators raise alarms about shelving retirement advice rule (related)
18 May 2017 – Mark Schoeff. Jr. – InvestmentNews
"Republican lawmakers and opponents of the Labor Department's fiduciary rule on Thursday called for an extended delay of its implementation deadline, citing what some call new evidence of its harm to investors"

 Indexed, variable annuity sales slump as DOL fiduciary rule looms

 Indexed, Variable Annuities Take a Beating (related)

 DOL Rule Dragging Down Annuity Sales, LIMRA Says (related)
18 May 2017 – Greg Iacurci – InvestmentNews
"Despite a stronger equities market and interest-rate environment, the fiduciary-rule factor "overwhelmed" their positive impact on annuity sales, said Todd Giesing, assistant research director at the Limra Secure Retirement Institute."

 In Retirement Planning, Old 'Rules' Can Lead To Failure
18 May 2017 – Christopher Robbins – Financial Advisor
At the very end he mentions annuities..."An annuity has one job description: to provide you guaranteed income that you can never outlive,” says Shultz. “The academic studies offer a compelling argument that if you use a portion of your retirement assets in annuities, you inevitably end up with greater longevity of assets.”

 DOL Rule Confusion Leads to Wait-and-See Approach
17 May 2017 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
"Confusion surrounding the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule has caused insurance distributors to hold back on specific sales strategies and that could affect annuity sales this year, insurance company executives said."

 New York Couple Seeks $28M In Lawsuit Over Annuities
17 May 2017 – News Release – InsuranceNewsNet
"An elderly Brewster couple and their four adult children have sued a Connecticut investment adviser for allegedly defrauding them out of millions of dollars by churning annuities."

 Rich Retirees Are Hoarding Cash Out Of Fear
16 May 2017 – Ben Steverman – Financial Advisor
The article says 85% of retirees say their biggest fear is running out of enough income; it also says..."Tools such as annuities and bond-ladders can turn a retirement account into a regular stream of income, mimicking a paycheck."

 FINRA Reviews Rules on Outside Business Activities and Private Securities Transactions
15 May 2017 – Staff – FINRA
"The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) today requested comment on its rules governing outside business activities and private securities transactions as part of a new retrospective rule review. The review aligns with the ongoing FINRA360 initiative, a comprehensive review of the organization’s operations and programs."

 Income Illiteracy May Favor Simple Annuities
15 May 2017 – Cyril Tuohy – InsuranceNewsNet
"High rates of retirement income illiteracy among people 60 or older could favor simple annuities in the future, a retirement income expert said. After all, the golden rule of investing is to avoid investing into what you do not understand."

  How Much Of Your Portfolio Should Be In Annuities?
5 May 2017 – Bob Carlson – StockInvestor
"Most economists recommend people purchase immediate annuities with part of their nest eggs. Recent surveys indicate that a high percentage of retirees these days would like a stream of income that is guaranteed for life. Yet, the insurance industry reports that only a small percentage of retirees own annuities."

  How to Avoid Tanking Your Portfolio in Retirement
5 May 2017 – Rebecca Lake – U.S. News
"Not being open to the possibilities of annuities, structured certificates of deposit or alternative investments can leave you with a portfolio that's overly reliant on equity returns for retirement income"

 ICI head casts doubt on further delay of DOL fiduciary rule

 Obama’s Legacy: A Retirement Rule That Is Tough to Kill (related)

 Lawmakers to DOL Secretary: Kill That Rule (related)
5 May 2017 – Mark Schoff Jr. – InvestmentNews
"The leader of a major financial industry trade association on Friday cast doubt on whether the Labor Department's fiduciary rule would be delayed beyond June."

 6 Reasons for Saying No to an Annuity
4 May 2017 – Hersh Stern –
"Through the years, I’ve spoken with many retirees who were in the middle of deciding whether to buy an immediate annuity to supplement their retirement income. While an annuity made sense for many of them, there were a few situations where it was not a good fit. "

 A retirement literacy quiz you need to pass
4 May 2017 – Steve Vernon - CBSNews
"Americans know very little about annuities, which is unfortunate because annuity strategies are one way to enhance retirement income and make meager savings last longer. For example, just 17 percent know the lifetime income payout rate for a 65-year-old male is roughly in the 6 percent to 7 percent range, significantly higher than the "safe" 4 percent withdrawal rate from invested assets."

 All Annuities Are Not Equal: Do Your Homework Before You Bash Or Buy
4 May 2017 – Kim Franke – Kiplinger
"It’s probably the most misrepresented of the annuities that are out there right now, and usually that misunderstanding comes from those who don’t normally deal with this type of product. Critics tend to focus on high commissions or the fine print in complicated contracts."

 House committee approves Dodd-Frank replacement bill that includes repeal of DOL fiduciary rule
4 May 2017 – Hazel Bradford – InvestmentNews
"The Financial CHOICE Act, whose chief sponsor is committee chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, would repeal the Department of Labor's new fiduciary rule until 60 days after the Securities and Exchange Commission issues its own standard, which is not underway. The DOL fiduciary rule would have to be "substantially similar" to the SEC's rule."

 5 Ways Life and Annuity Issuers Could Break
2 May 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"The insurers that write the life insurance and annuity products you sell may not really be world-class incubators of systemic risk, but they can be risky, too."

 Income Riders Offer Post-Fiduciary Rule Save for Annuities
2 May 2017 – Robert Bloink & William Byrnes – ThinkAdvisor
"Because sales of popular fixed indexed annuities will now likely require advisors to comply with the burdensome new best interest contract exemption, many advisors may find themselves scrambling to find attractive annuity products for sale in a post-fiduciary rule world."

 Annuity Players Continue to Fight Low Rates
1 May 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"Publicly traded annuity market players are continuing to fight the effects of low interest rates and uncertainty about federal annuity sales rules."

 Annuity Shift
1 May 2017 – Jim Poolman – ThinkAdvisor
"National Retirement Planning Week took place in April, and the whole month was Financial Capability Month. April was full of encouragement for individuals to move their retirement savings plans forward"

 The Pros and Cons of Annuities
1 May 2017 – Chris Wang – New Jersey Business
"Since the Great Recession, investors – especially those nearing retirement – have been faced with a difficult environment. With short-term interest rates near zero, retirees could not rely on their savings to generate a safe return, so they were forced to look at other investment vehicles. This has led many to consider buying an annuity. With long surrender periods and stiff penalties, it is imperative to understand what is being purchased and who annuities best serve. Let’s look at three types of annuities. "

April 2017

 NAFA Statement on Confirmation of Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary

 Industry groups tell Acosta to make extension of DOL fiduciary rule delay his first order of business (related)
“NAFA, extends its congratulations to Alexander Acosta on his confirmation as Secretary of the Department of Labor. We look forward to working with Secretary Acosta and are hopeful that he will bring much-needed leadership to the agency and will direct his immediate attention to delaying the June 9th implementation date of the fiduciary rule.”

 Chief risk officers assess key threats to insurance industry
27 April 2017 – Joe Gardyasz – Business Insider
"What emerging issues are insurance companies' chief risk officers most concerned about? Cyber threats and new regulatory standards are high on the list."

 Few Pre-Retirees Count on Annuities: LIMRA
27 April 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"The participants said they expect to get just 3% of their retirement income from annuities. Annuities accounted for a much smaller share of the participants' anticipated retirement income than any of the other five potential sources of income ranked."

 NAFA Files Comment Letter Urging Further Delay of DOL Rule to Avoid Unleashing Chaos

 DOL Fiduciary Rule Hurts Now, Annuity Community Says

 Experts say DOL fiduciary rule's fate, timing uncertain, changes likely

 Sorting Out The Fiduciary Rule ‘Curveball
25 April 2017 – Staff - NAFA
"In a letter submitted to the Department of Labor, NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities is urging a further delay of the fiduciary duty rule beyond its current June 9 partial applicability date, while the Department completes its comprehensive examination of the rule as directed by President Trump in his February 3rd White House Memorandum. NAFA’s comment letter was accompanied by a detailed critique of the rule’s regulatory impact analysis, or RIA, used by the DOL to support adoption of the rule, calling the RIA’s cost-benefit analysis “inadequate, flawed, and deficient as it relates to fixed annuities.” A copy of the letter is available here

 Helping Your Clients Afford a More Expensive Retirement
25 April 2017 – Darwin Bayston – ThinkAdvisor
"Another place where you may be able to find hidden value in portfolios is with your clients’ life insurance policies. Many seniors and their trusted advisors are unaware that a life insurance policy is an asset that — like all other assets — has a strategic purpose, has costs and benefits, and may be sold by the client if the asset is no longer serving its purpose. Unfortunately, each year more than $100 billion face value of life insurance lapses by seniors over the age of 65 — mostly from a lack of knowledge that an unneeded or unaffordable policy may be sold."

 Is It Time to Invest in Inflation-Protected Annuities?
25 April 2017 – Rebecca Lake – Yahoo Finance
"Since hitting 0.8 percent in July 2016, inflation has been climbing steadily. The inflation rate reached 2.7 percent in February, before dipping back to 2.4 percent in March. With energy prices expected to rebound after being depressed for much of 2016, the inflation rate is likely to remain at or near current levels in the coming months."

 MetLife Asks to Put SIFI Case on Hold
24 April 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"MetLife Inc. today asked a federal appeals court to give the Trump administration time to review the government's process for designating systemically important financial institutions. MetLife filed a motion seeking a freeze on the case, MetLife Inc. v. Financial Stability Oversight Council, while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin conducts a 180-day review of the FSOC SIFI designation process."

 Some broker-dealers changing indexed-annuity compensation due to DOL fiduciary rule
24 April 2017 – by Greg Iacurci – InvestmentNews
"Brokerage firms are evaluating how they and their advisers get paid for indexed annuity sales to clients, as the start date of a new Labor Department rule governing investment advice in retirement accounts inches closer."

 We Continue to Fight Against the Fiduciary
Rule 15 April 2017 – Staff – NAFA Annuity Market Outlook
For over two years, NAFA and the Financial Services industry have been working together to stop the proposed DOL rule... How can you help? Join NAFA in Washington, D.C. June 21 – 23 and be part of the solution to this problem for our industry."

 AmeriLife Faces DOL Rule With Two-Track Strategy
14 April 2017 – Warren Hersch – ThinkAdvisor
"Perry says adding an RIA has been easier than becoming a FIMO. To set up an RIA, AmeriLife had to file ADV, schedules and other financial documents with the Investment Adviser Registration Depository system and with state securities regulators."

 Area insurance agents disciplined by commissioner
14 April 2017 – Staff – Tacoma Business Examiner
"Janet Pack of Tacoma was fined $1,500 for selling an annuity to a consumer that was not suitable for the consumer’s needs — a violation of state law."

 DOL faces tough road in revising or repealing fiduciary rule

 Fiduciary Rule Comments Due By Monday Night (related)
13 April 2017 – Mark Schoeff Jr. – InvestmentNews "If the agency makes changes — as the Feb. 3 directive from President Donald J. Trump seems to foreshadow — it could generate lawsuits from proponents. But the DOL will not get the same benefit of the doubt from the courts in that round of lawsuits that it has in current litigation brought by opponents of the rule."

 Help Clients Avoid the Double-Edged Risk of Waiting
13 April 2017 – Shawn Britt – ThinkAdvisor
"Long-term care coverage, once thought to be for “older consumers”, has been attracting younger buyers over the last 15 years."

 How to save for retirement when politicians keep making it harder
13 April 2017 – Robert Powell – MarketWatch
"The only instruments, I am aware of, for doing this, which can really ‘move the needle’ for working and middle-class people,” are annuities and a reverse mortgage, he said."

 What Rising Interest Rates Mean for Annuities
13 April 2017 – Casey Dowd – FoxBusiness
"Annuities can serve to be an important leg in your retirement portfolio no matter what the current interest rates are. It is difficult to determine the perfect time to invest in an annuity, but with a projected hike in rates, it might be a good time to weigh the option."

 DOL Fiduciary Rule Delayed By 60 Days

 DOL Extends Applicability Date Of Fiduciary Rule (related)

 DOL Not Backing Down From Fiduciary Rule, Analysts Say (related)
12 April 2017 - Hillel Cohn – Mondaq
"Late in the day on April 4, 2017, the Department of Labor ("DOL") made publicly available its final rule, extending by 60 days the implementation of its fiduciary rule adopted in April 2016 (the "Fiduciary Rule"). The final rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register on April 7, 2017, and will become effective immediately upon publication, one business day before the Fiduciary Rule was scheduled to become applicable."

 State insurance commissioners consider strengthening annuity sales rules

 Insurance Regulators May Update Annuity Sales Model Amid DOL Fiduciary Rule Uncertainty (related)
13 April 2017 – Mark Schoeff Jr. – InvestmentNews
"The National Association of Insurance Commissioners launched an annuity suitability working group April 8 at the organization's spring meeting in Denver. The panel will review the NAIC's model regulation for annuity transactions, a measure that was initially adopted in 2006 and revised in 2010."

 5 Ways to Use the New US Life Tables
12 April 2017 – Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor
"A team at the National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has just published the latest U.S. life tables. That's a 64-page PDF full of information that's in the public domain. It can be reproduced or copied without permission, without getting you in copyright trouble."

 $1 million or $5,000 a month: which would you choose?
11 April 2017 – Shlomo Benartzi & Hal Hershfield– MarketWatch
"To see which illusion you might suffer from, assume you have $1 million for retirement. How adequate does this amount seem on a seven-point scale, with one being “totally inadequate” and seven being “totally adequate”?"

 Language Matters Even More When It Comes to Annuities
11 April 2017 – John Manganaro – planadvisor
"Income annuities are not investments and they really should not be compared to an investment, because in a lot of participants' eyes the comparison won't be favorable,” she said. “Income annuities are more properly considered as insurance—insurance that guarantees an individual will not run out of money no matter how long they live. That is an entirely different idea from, say, buying a mutual fund to attempt to increase your net wealth over time."

 The Retirement Choice Causing Some To Run Out Of Money
11 April 2017 – Richard Eisenberg – Forbes
"About a fifth of retirement plan participants (21%) MetLife surveyed who received their pensions or 401(k)s as lump sums depleted that money — in just 5½ years, on average. And among those who took a lump sum from a 401(k) and didn’t get a pension, the money ran out in four years" Link to pdf of study.

 5 Facts About Equity-Indexed Annuities
10 April 2017 – Jeff Brown – U.S. News & World Report
"Equity-indexed annuities offer a minimum investment return along with the chance to share in stock-market gains. It sounds great but these insurance products, also called indexed annuities and even fixed indexed annuities, have been heavily criticized over the years for heavy fees, opaqueness, lack of liquidity and disappointing results."

 NAFA Suggests Sending Comment Letters to the DOL
10 April 2017 – Staff – NAFA Annuity Market Outlook
"A big “THANK YOU” for the tremendous response from NAFA’s supporters on our last request to send your message to the DOL supporting the delay of the fiduciary rule. Over 2,160 emails and letters were sent to the DOL in response to NAFA’s request last month – your voices have been heard!! On April 5, the DOL announced a 60-day delay to extend the fiduciary rule applicability date to June 9, 2017, instead of April 10."

February 2017

 NAFA’S Fight To Defeat The DOL Fiduciary Rule

 IMOs Defend FIA Product Flexibility to DOL (related)
By Staff-NAFA Annuity Outlook
"Things are moving fast and furious as NAFA continues to fight the DOL fiduciary duty rule on all fronts: legislatively through Congress, administratively through the agency rule-making process, and, of course, through the courts with our ongoing lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit."

 Buffer Annuities: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
23 February 2017-by William H. Byrnes, and Robert Bloink-ThinkAdvisor
They can call it what they like, but these "buffer" products are in no way, shape or form similar to index annuities or a cross between index annuities and something else. These are filed as securities and created as structured notes (a minor correction is the concept is not new; Allstate introduced a similar product almost fifteen years ago, but it didn't sell well.) – Jack

 Commission rates on fixed annuities expected to settle around 3% under the fiduciary rule
23 February 2017-by Margarida Correia-Bank Investment Consultant
It should be noted that 3% is what the banks will base comp paid to their reps; it is not the annuity commission the bank receives – Jack

 3 Stupid Annuity Moves

 3 Retirement Rules Everyone Should Follow -- at Any Age (related)
22 February 2017-by Selena Maranjian-The Motley Fool
"Fixed annuities are generally preferable to indexed annuities and many variable annuities, as those tend to be problematic and unsuitable for many people, charging steep fees and/or carrying restrictive terms."

 Whom to trust when buying an annuity?
22 February 2017-by Beth Pinsker-Reuters
"Getting financial advice on complicated insurance products is, well, complicated. Most life insurance with investment options, long-term care insurance and annuity products come with a dizzying array of options and many pages of fine print, the merits of which are debatable for your bottom line. That makes solid, unconflicted advice necessary."

 DOL Fiduciary Defenses Prevail In District Courts, But Does It Matter?

  OMB Ponders Legal Implications of DOL Rule Delay: Sources (related)
21 February 2017-by John Manganaro-Plan Advisor
"It may not mean much in the end that the DOL has now posted a fourth district court victory related to the fiduciary rule"

 LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute: Fixed Annuity Sales Hit Record $117.4 billion in 2016
21 February 2017-by Press Release-LIMRA
"In 2016, total fixed annuity sales hit a record-breaking $117.4 billion, 14 percent higher than 2015 levels...fixed indexed annuity (FIA) sales also hit record levels in 2016, up 12 percent to $60.9 billion, according to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute’s Fourth Quarter U.S. Annuity Sales survey."

 Here Come the Fee-Based Indexed Annuities
20 February 2017-by Cyril Tuohy-InsuranceNewsNet
"With less than two months to go before new fiduciary standards take effect, insurers have lined up new fee-based fixed indexed annuities for independent marketing organizations and their advisors to sell."

January 2017

Print & Online Articles & Blogs

 Don’t transfer 401(k) funds into an annuity
29 January 2017-by Dave Ramsey-Daily Journal
"Q. My husband was recently laid off, and he has $229,000 in a 401(k). He has been told that he should roll it into a hybrid annuity. Is this a good idea?"

 ON THE MONEY: An introduction to annuities
28 January 2017-by Greg Roberts-Aiken Standard
"In developing such an allocation strategy, the first question to ask is how willing are you to take investment risks in your retirement portfolio? If you are unwilling to take any risks whatsoever, then your investment allocations should be in ultra-safe investments, such as laddered CDs, conservative bond funds, money market accounts, treasury instruments or fixed annuities."

 6-Month DOL Rule Delay Expected Within Days

 Coming soon: President Trump's fiduciary rule executive order (related)
26 January 2017-by John Hilton-InsuranceNewsNet
"A six-month delay announcement on the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule is expected any day now, followed by eventual repeal, analysts said."


There have been many speculative articles on the DOL Fiduciary Rule in the last week. Rather than add to the noise & confusion, perhaps the best course is to wait for actual news – Jack

 Complaints surface at Finra over buffer annuities
25 January 2017-by Bruce Kelly-InvestmentNews

Just in case a client mentions it, these are NOT fixed annuities. These are VAs with a feature that provides a degree of loss protection - Jack

 Fixed Indexed Annuities to Dominate 2017 Annuity Marketplace
24 January 2017-by William Byrnes & Robert Bloink-ThinkAdvisor
"Now that we’re in 2017, the forecast for the future of annuities remains hazy—rather than an uncertainty that is driven by new product innovations, this fog is generated almost entirely by new regulatory changes."

 Are annuities doomed in 2017?
24 January 2017-by Sheryl Moore-LifeHealthPro
"One of my most memorable years in the annuity business was 2008."

 Biz Brain: Is annuity too good to be true?
24 January 2017-by Karin Price
"Q. My wife and I are retired. We collect Social Security and next year we will start taking Required Minimum Distributions. We saw an ad for the "AARP Lifetime Income Plan," which said "How To Make $50,000 of Your Savings Last a Lifetime." It says if you buy the annuity with $50,000, you'll get a monthly check and other benefits. Is it worth it?"

 Risk Dependence, Solvency and Stress Testing for Insurers
24 January 2017-by Scott Campion & Til Schuermann-Wharton Financial Institutions Center
"We assemble a unique dataset of risk factors relevant for insurers which are different than for banks, although they share exposure to financial asset risks such as corporate bonds and equities. We find that correlation between non-financial risk factors is very low (usually insignificant), between financial risk factors on the order of 30-50%, and a mix between the financial and non-financial risk factors. Our analysis should help provide an empirical basis to regulators in calibrating solvency regimes and to insurers to understand their risk sensitivities and capital needs."

December 2016


 3 significant challenges for annuity advisors in 2017

 Death of DOL fiduciary rule could spur SEC action on uniform standard

 Top 10 Annuity Stories of 2016

 The Year In Politics: All About The DOL Rule

 Meeting the needs of the middle market with combination products
28 December 2016-by Linda Chow-LifeHealthPro
"The US life, annuity and long-term care (LTC) industries are facing a number of disruptive forces, from macroeconomic changes and demographic shifts to rising consumer expectations."

 2017 will be year of change for retirement industry
27 December 2016-by Mary Beth Franklin-InvestmentNews
"Although the economic and public policy outlook is murky, thanks to the largely unexpected victory of president-elect Donald Trump, 2017 could be the year that holistic retirement planning becomes the norm."

 Top Tales Of Annuity Advisors Gone Wrong

 ‘Rotten Apples’ Kept Authorities Busy In 2016 (related)
27 December 2016-by Cyril Tuohy-InsuranceNewsNet
"As we wind down 2016, we take a look back at annuity advisors who did no favors for their clients and found themselves in trouble with the law."

 The Big Chill For Annuities In 2017
26 December 2016-by Ben Mattlin-Financial Advisor
"With the Department of Labor's 1,000-page fiduciary regulations due to take effect in April 2017, and a new anti-regulatory administration about to take office in Washington, insurance carriers are facing a double whammy of uncertainty."

 Fed hike a positive for rate-sensitive insurance products
26 December 2016-by Warren Hersch-ProducersWeb
"Whatever gains life insurers generate from increases in short-term rates, Moody's cautions, yields on long-term investment vehicles will have a greater impact on their financials over time."

 3 significant challenges for annuity advisors in 2017
21 December 2016-by Ben Yahr & Gerry Murtagh-LifeHealthPro
"We expect to see significant changes in the annuity industry during 2017."

 How Safe Is Your Annuity?
21 December 2016-by Selena Maranjian-The Motley Fool
A point of clarification about the author's unsourced claim that 87,000 financial advisors have been disciplined by regulators over a ten year period and that 7% of these actions involved annuities(with a handful of exceptions these were variable annuities). I think she is referring to the Egan et al study on financial advisor misconduct of last spring [study] She suggests consumers "find out whether your advisor is held to the "fiduciary" standard, which requires offering advice that is in the client's best interest." She may not have been aware the study only included securities registered individuals – many of which were, in fact, registered financial advisors already operating under a fiduciary standard. In addition, no insurance-only annuity agents were included in the study – Jack

 Life Annuities. Products, Guarantees, Basic Actuarial Models
19 December 2016-by Ermanno Pitacco-Social Science Research Network
These 90 pages on life annuities are by no means Annuities 101. They are taken from lectures given to finance and math majors that are interested in pursuing actuarial science. However, if you are a bit of annuity wonk I think you could ignore the algebra, look at the charts, and get a better idea of how annuities are priced – Jack

 The Roth Annuity: A Bright Star in Annuity Investing
19 December 2017-by Robert Bloink & William Byrnes-ThinkAdvisor
"For many clients, the potential downsides of annuity investing can overshadow the valuable security that these products can offer with respect to providing a guaranteed income stream for life — and often for good reason. The tax treatment of a standalone annuity, when combined with the required capital commitment, simply might not make sense for some investors. Combining an annuity investing strategy with a Roth investing strategy, however, can change the picture dramatically."

November 2016


 DOL May Grant All IMOs Financial Institution Status In Fiduciary Rule

 Don't hold your breath on DOL fiduciary rule repeal

 Fiduciary rule infringes on advisors' freedom of speech, lawsuit claims

 Wall St. lawyers say retiree investment rule violates free speech

 Savers too scared to invest have 81% chance of dying broke
28 November 2016-by Peter Dunn-USAToday
"According to the Insured Retirement Institute, roughly $230 billion of annuities will be sold in 2016. The idea behind them is to pass some of your market risk onto the insurance companies. Depending on the type of annuity, you either get a portion of the market upside — net fees — or you simply receive a fixed rate of return."

 Apollo Global’s Athene Plans to List Shares in December
23 November 2016-by Maureen Faeeill & Matt Jarzemsky-Wall Street Journal
"Athene Holding Ltd. is planning to go public in December, in a long-awaited debut that could value the fixed-annuities provider at more than $7 billion and end a dismal year for IPOs on a positive note."

 The Empirical Frame of the Decision to Annuitize
 An Experimental Analysis of Annuity Aversion the Role of Framing and Uncertainty (related)
23 November 2016-by Mortiz Lehmensiek-Starke & Sven Nolte-Social Science Research Network
One reason for lower annuity sales is that annuities are not presented as gaining an income stream, but as losing an asset. This study says yup, that's the way many people look at it – Jack

 LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute: Fixed Indexed Annuity Sales Record Strongest Growth in Third Quarter
 Variable annuity sales fall in advance of DOL rule (related)
21 November 2016-by News Release-LIMRA
"Fixed indexed annuity (FIA) sales increased five percent in the third quarter, to $15.0 billion, according to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute’s Third Quarter U.S. Annuity Sales survey... Sales of fixed-rate deferred annuities, (Book Value and MVA) fell 4 percent, to $8.5 billion"

 Schumer says he can block Trump’s efforts to repeal Dodd-Frank
21 November 2016-by Anders Melin-LifeHealthPro
The main Dodd-Frank provision affecting the insurance industry is saying a few carriers are systemically important financial institution (SIFI), which has already caused AIG, GE, MetLife and Prudential to make changes. The glass half full aspect of this is Senate Democrats need to pick their battles and hopefully they will not challenge any DOL rule reversal so to keep their powder dry for the Dodd-Frank fight – Jack

 Your Clients Have Options In LTC
21 November 2016-by Steve Schoonveld-Financial Advisor
"Annuity LTC Riders: Sales of these riders continue to grow and give protection for LTC expenses with the ability to annuitize should care not be necessary. Recently, impaired risk annuities for clients that have an existing LTC need have emerged as a solution."

September 2016


 Advisers may drop lower- and middle-income clients due to DOL fiduciary rule: NAIFA survey

 Attrition fears play into broker-dealers' hesitation to detail new [DOL]commission schedules

 Broker-dealers on DOL fiduciary rule: Expect advisors to walk

 DOL Fiduciary Rule Is on the Docket

 Financial industry rhetoric riles DOL officials

 IMO makes targeted claim against DOL rulemaking procedures

 Insurers cite broker-dealer annuity requirements as 'big issue' under DOL fiduciary rule

 Market Synergy Hammers DOL on Public Notice of Rule Changes

 SEC fiduciary rule not coming 'any time soon,' chairwoman says

 Marrying fixed index annuities with actively managed accounts
30 September 2016-by Michael Kalen-LifeHealthPro
"While it is cliché to state that all clients are unique — and indeed all investors have unique needs and face different circumstances — those planning for retirement are choosing annuities more often than not as one of the many investment options provided to them by investment professionals."

 Minnesota advisor pleads guilty in annuity theft case
30 September 2016-by Kristen Beckman-LifeHealthPro
John Heath, acting as a fiduciary under the best interests standard, pleaded guilty to identity theft this week in a case that accused him of draining $220,000 from an elderly stroke victim's variable annuity account.

 Thrivent Financial files sixth lawsuit against DOL fiduciary rule 30
September 2016-Mark Schoeff Jr.-InvestmentNews
"Organization that provides financial services to Christians says it would not be able to use its dispute resolution mechanism if it had to adhere to the new regulation allowing class actions."

 5 Things to Know When Buying an Annuity
29 September 2016-by Debbie Carlson-U.S. News
"One of the unnerving aspects of retiring is no longer having income from a job and needing to live on investments and Social Security. With fewer companies offering pensions, one option for guaranteed income is an annuity. These products can be good for retirees who want some reassurance for monthly income, but financial advisors say investors need to know what they're buying."

 The Chaos Around Annuities
29 September 2016-by Steve Morelli-InsuranceNewsNet
"Tell people of a certain age that they could have a guaranteed income of a certain amount for the rest of their lives and they will ask, "Where do I sign?" But tell them, "Right here on the line that is dotted" and they'll say, "But that's an annuity!"

 FASB posts insurance accounting overhaul draft
29 September 2016-by Alison Bell-LifeHealthPro
"The Financial Accounting Standards Board has proposed a rule change that could make insurers' finances look worse now that interest rates are low but could make their finances look better when rates start to rise." Link to proposed change.

 Ways to Turn Retirement Savings into Income for Life
29 September 2016-by Casey Dowd-FoxBusiness
"lifetime income options like annuities provide retirees with stability and consistency as they know exactly how much monthly income to expect. Annuities are one of the few investment options that offer a guaranteed return to individuals."

 3 frequently asked questions about annuities
28 September 2016-by Stephan Leimberg, Robert Doyle, Jr. & Keith Buck-LifeHealthPro
"Annuities are the only investment vehicles that can guarantee investors that they will not outlive their income, and they do this in a tax-favored manner. In addition, annuities are available with a host of features to meet a wide variety of investor needs."

 As you approach 70, tips like these can help trim your RMDs
28 September 2016-by Andrew Murdoch-MarketWatch
"2. Purchase a deferred income annuity known as a Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC). These allow individuals to reduce RMDs by purchasing a QLAC for $125,000 or for 25% of your retirement account balance, whichever is less, deferring the income up to age 85."

 Nationwide Agrees to Acquire Jefferson National
28 September 2016-by News Release-Jefferson National
"Partnering with the Jefferson National team will enable Nationwide to expand our distribution footprint and meet the needs of investors and retirement savers who want to do business in a fee-based advisor environment after implementation of the DOL fiduciary standard."

 Fiduciary rule could spur innovation
27 September 2016-by Kristen Beckman-LifeHealthPro
"The DOL fiduciary rule is likely to be a disruptive force within the insurance and financial industries during the next several years. Panelists during a session Monday at the Insured Retirement Institute’s Vision annual conference in Colorado Springs explored some of the possible outcomes of the rule."

 Lifetime income providing financial security for retirees
26 September 2016-by Kristen Beckman-LifeHealthPro
"While pensions are serving a large percentage of current retirees, future retirees are unlikely to be able to rely on a pension. As many as 56 million baby boomers, who are reaching retirement at a rate of 10,000 per day, will not receive retirement income from a pension. Further, only 24 percent of current private-sector workers are covered by a defined benefit plan."

 BICE and IRA Advisor Compensation: Interesting Angles on the DOL’sFiduciary Rule #18

 DOL fiduciary rule could cause half of potential IRA rollover assets to stay put: Report

 Many Advisors Won’t Survive The DOL Rule Survey: advisors fear consequences of DOL fiduciary rule

 GAO supports lifetime investment options
10 September 2016-by Arthur Postal-LifeHealthPro
"The Department of Labor isn’t doing enough to encourage workers who rely on their 401(k) plans to finance their retirement to consider such lifetime income options as annuities to facilitate such an approach, the GAO says in a new report."   

 Milevsky on DOL Fiduciary Rule: Big Flaws; Annuities Will Suffer
8 September 2016-by Jane Wollman Rusoff-Research
"I sympathize with what NAFA is arguing: Why are certain things inside the regulation and certain things out? What requires a BIC? An indexed annuity is in, whereas a deferred income annuity, or a fixed income annuity or longevity insurance is out! It’s a little odd to me that when you buy an annuity that guarantees you $100 a month in 20 years, you don’t need the BIC, but when you buy an annuity that guarantees you between $90 and $130 a month, you do need it."

 Pennsylvania insurance commissioner launches annuity education campaign
8 September 2016-by Kristen Beckman-LifeHealthPro
"Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller is urging consumers, particularly seniors, to educate themselves about annuities to protect their retirement income."

 What the US gets wrong about lifetime income
6 September 2016-by Greg Iacurci-InvestmentNews
"The U.S. is a leader in many respects among world powers, but you won't find lifetime income on any list of reasons why."

 Annuities: Your go-to financial vehicle in a low-interest-rate environment
6 September 2016-by Rich Lane-LifeHealthPro
"Today’s interest rates are a hot topic of conversation. With the 10-year treasury rate below 2 percent, many of your clients may be unsure of where or how to invest their hard-earned dollars."

 Assessing Longevity Risk in a Portfolio of Life Annuities
5 September 2016-by E. Pitacco & and E. Rroji-Social Science Research Network
"The notion of longevity risk is strictly linked to parameter uncertainty that suggests the estimation output should be an interval instead of a single value for each parameter. To this aim we first create bootstrapped samples and then, for each cohort in a sample, estimate model parameters. The dynamics of each parameter is then modeled with an autoregressive process."

Summary of State Activity - Pam Heinrich, NAFA General Counsel
Update on Illinois Securities Matter
On August 18, 2016 NAFA filed a Joinder Motion in support of the appellant Dick Van Dyke’s request to have the July 29, 2016. Order issued in this matter made a published appellate court decision. Having the decision published will give the Illinois Appellate Court’s holdings greater precedential weight in any future court proceeding. Fidelity and Guaranty Life – the other amicus party in this matter – has also filed a Joinder Motion in support of Van Dyke’s Motion to Publish. We anticipate a decision on these motions in the next several weeks. The State of Illinois may yet file an appeal, and they have 30 days from the date of the filed Order to do so; however, the 30-day time period is tolled during the pendency of the Motion to Publish. NAFA continues to monitor these proceedings.

SUITABILITY IN ANNUITY TRANSACTIONS – California revises suitability regulation
On August 19, 2016, California enacted CA 2016 Ch. No. 148 (Senate Bill 924), amending section 10509.913 of the California Insurance Code. California’s existing suitability law requires the 12 suitability factors included in the NAIC model law, and, in addition, adds a 13th factor to consider in determining suitability: whether or not the consumer has a reverse mortgage. Chapter 148 adds one new suitability factor: whether the consumer intends to apply for means-tested government benefits, including, but not limited to Medi-Cal or the veterans’ aid and attendance benefit.

The District of Columbia has introduced a bill, DC B 830, which would authorize the D.C. Mayor to join the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact (IIPRC). The bill is currently under Council review; if the bill passes, the projected implementation date is December 30, 2016. Connecticut joined the Compact earlier this year (effective July 1, 2016), and New York is considering legislation (NY A 5208) to join the Compact, leaving only California, Delaware, Florida, North Dakota, and South Dakota as jurisdictions that are not members.

On August 26, 2016, Illinois adopted the Illinois Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act. Illinois 2016 Public Act No. 893 (IL H 4633) would require an insurer to initially perform a comparison of its insureds', annuitants', and retained asset account holders' in-force policies, annuity contracts, and retained asset accounts by using the full U.S. Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (or similarly comprehensive data base). The initial comparison must be completed on or before December 31, 2017, unless extended by the Department pursuant to administrative rule. Thereafter, an insurer must perform a comparison on at least a semi-annual basis using the Death Master File update files for comparisons to identify potential matches of its insureds, annuitants, and retained asset account holders. In the event that one of the insurer's lines of business conducts a search for matches of its insureds, annuitants, and retained asset account holders against the Death Master File at intervals more frequently than semi-annually, then all lines of the insurer's business shall conduct searches for matches against the Death Master File with the same frequency. The provisions of the Act apply to policies, annuity contracts, and retained asset accounts in force on or after June 1, 2017.

Also, as of July 29, 2016, the NAIC Unclaimed Benefits Model Drafting (A) Subgroup has completed its work on a draft of the proposed Unclaimed Life Insurance and Annuities Model Act, which will now be forwarded to the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits (A) Working Group for its consideration. The subgroup began work on the draft in spring 2015. A copy of the draft model act is available HERE.

The U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule on Thursday, August 25th to facilitate the establishment of state-run private workplace retirement programs. (See the White House press release/fact sheet HERE.) Several states have passed enabling legislation to set up (or study the establishment of) such programs, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Washington. In addition, Massachusetts and New York have pending legislation to adopt state retirement plans; a similar bill in Wisconsin failed to pass.

The new DOL rule clarifies that state plans would not be subject to ERISA requirements – and thus would not be pre-empted by ERISA – as long as they meet certain conditions, including the requirement that the plans are voluntary for employees. The rule sets forth a safe harbor describing circumstances in which a payroll deduction savings program, including one with automatic enrollment, would not give rise to an employee pension benefit plan under ERISA. By making clear that state payroll deduction savings programs with automatic enrollment that conform to the safe harbor in this proposal do not establish ERISA plans, the objective of the safe harbor is to reduce the risk of such state programs being preempted if they were ever challenged. If adopted, this rule would affect individuals and employers subject to such laws.

The federal rule – as well as the state-enacted plans to date – are opposed by many in the financial services industry, who argue that allowing state-run plans to operate outside of ERISA requirements gives the states an advantage over privately-run retirement plans, which must meet ERISA requirements. Furthermore, some private employers already offer retirement plans to their employees, and they may be incentivized to drop those plans and offer the state-run plans in order to save costs.

*If your company has any questions or concerns regarding state legislative or regulatory actions and would like NAFA to research or analyze them for you, PLEASE CONTACT Pam Heinrich, NAFA General Legal Counsel.

April 2016

 NAFA – DOL Rule Release Statement, 04.06.16

“For the past year, NAFA has worked with fellow trade organizations to address deep concerns about the proposed Department of Labor fiduciary duty rule that stands to harm small businesses and hurt Americans’ access to the education and advice needed to prepare successfully for retirement.

“NAFA has tried to be a constructive voice in this important national dialogue. In addition to conducting our own research, we met with the Department, submitted two comment letters and hosted a Hill Walk for members to share their concerns to elected officials in Washington. More recently, we led a grassroots effort in support of bipartisan legislation that underscores our commitment to protecting consumers while at the same time avoiding unnecessary disruption to consumer retirement planning and savings.

“Upon initial review of the rule in its final form, it appears DOL has not addressed the very real concerns about the potential impact of this rule brought to light by thousands of individuals, from members of Congress and industry professionals to employers and American savers. We are disappointed that a political agenda seems to have taken precedence over guaranteeing low- and middle-income workers the ability to rely on the professionals and products, including fixed annuities, that can secure their future.

“NAFA is in the process of completing an in-depth analysis of the rule and its potential consequences in order to provide our members with direction and support as they attempt to navigate the conflicting requirements and inherent inconsistencies of this regulation. At the same time, we will continue to advocate for a legislative alternative that marries strong consumer protection with ongoing access to the advice retirees and pre-retirees so want and need.

“In the meantime, we ask that members of Congress from both sides of aisle come together to take action and protect their constituents. We must all recognize what is at stake, and do what is necessary to prevent a retirement crisis by eliminating any hurdles to helping Americans across the nation achieve financial security for their families.”

Selection of other DOL articles

 10 changes to the finalized DOL fiduciary rule

 DOL acting before SEC on fiduciary rule is 'failure in public policy'

 DOL Announces Major Changes To Final Fiduciary Rule

 DOL Releases Final Fiduciary Rule

 Final May Not Be Final For Fiduciary Rule

 Fitch: FIA Inclusion in DOL Ruling to Affect US Annuity Sales

 Here’s the truth about a controversial new law to protect investors

 Industry insiders react cautiously to DOL fiduciary rule

 Lawyer: Why FIA Sellers Can Challenge the DOL on Fiduciary

 Rules for Indexed Annuities Face an Unexpected Tightening

 Variable and fixed-indexed annuities feel sting of DOL fiduciary rule

 Wealth Adviser Daily Briefing: Concessions in Fiduciary Rule Welcomed

 Wirehouses seen winning in DOL's final fiduciary rule

 Annuities’ Alphabet Soup: Choosing the Best Option
"Despite the fact that annuities are uniquely designed to provide guaranteed income for life, over the last 30 years, they have been used mostly as a means to provide tax-deferred accumulation."

 The Fiduciary Rule Impact on Compensation Explained
"Now that the rule is published, we have a finished product from which to clear up a few misconceptions regarding compensation:"

 A deferred-income annuity may help you get more cash later
"You want an annuity — and you want one that offers the most for your money at a point in the future. And you have no need to turn on the income stream anytime soon."

 NAIC Responds to Metlife Court Decision

 MetLife Judge Called FSOC Review Process `Fatally Flawed' (related)
"The U.S. District Court’s opinion released today confirms what members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) have long argued: the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s (FSOC) designation of Metlife as a systemically important financial institution is flawed."

 What's behind Baby Boomers' avoidance of annuities?
"With the huge Baby Boom generation beginning to retire, you might expect the annuity business to be booming. After all, with one lump sum investment, a retiree can look forward to a steady stream of monthly income until they die. But the [immediate] annuity business isn't."

 Survey Finds Vast Majority of Financial Professionals Expect Continued Indexed Annuities Sales Growth in the Next Year
"According to a recent survey conducted by Saybrus Partners, Inc., a vast majority of [bank annuity program managers] (83%) expect an increase in indexed annuities sales in the next 12 months. Also, of those polled, more than half (52%) expect sales growth of more than 10% in the next year."

 Americans Worry over Becoming a Financial Burden to Children and Running out of Money, According to Hartford Funds Survey
"Overwhelmingly, Americans worry about becoming a financial burden on their family members as well as not having saved enough money."

 Small Investors Will Lose Access, Say Advisors
"A new LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute survey finds that 55 percent of retail advisors believe they will have to drop or turn away small investors and half will stop handling small rollover business when the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary rule is implemented."

The Monday Media Report features last week's media articles that were reported to NAFA by the NAFA Director of Research, Dr. Jack Marrion. This report is available to any employee of a NAFA Premier Partner or to any NAFA Supporting Partners.

March 2016

 Are FIAs Filling The Variable Annuity Void?
"Although variable annuities still outsell their fixed annuity cousins by the tens of billions of dollars, the shift away from variable annuities is noticeable. That shift is expected to continue with the release of new rules by the Department of Labor, according to two annuity industry experts."

 How Annuities Are Taxed
"It depends on whether the annuity is in a taxable account or an IRA. If the annuity is in a taxable account, the first withdrawals are considered to be from earnings – which are taxed in your top income tax bracket – and any remaining withdrawals are considered a tax-free return of your principal. In your case, the first $43,000 of withdrawals is considered to be from taxable earnings, and the remaining $77,000 is a tax-free return of principal. (If you withdraw money before age 59½, you will also have to pay a 10% early-withdrawal penalty on the earnings portion of the withdrawal.)"

 Instagram is the new Twitter for insurance agents
"When it comes to marketing and advertising with insurance agents and advisors, the most important word is attention. Going where your prospect’s eyes are is absolutely vital to your business if you want to gain any traction with marketing your services."

 Thinking About Death Discourages People From Buying Annuities

 6 important tips for insurance agency content marketing (related)
"Thinking about death isn't doing the annuity industry any favors, but it could be the missing piece of a puzzle that has vexed economists for decades. That's according to a new study by two Boston College marketing professors who say "mortality salience" is one reason why consumers shy away from buying annuities."

 Buying an Annuity Should be Part of Your Retirement Strategy
"Since 2010 individual retirement savers have bought more than $1 trillion in annuities, and 2015 set an all-time record for purchases of a particular type called a fixed indexed annuity, according to the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, an insurance industry group."

 Here’s a New Twist on a Very Old Idea for a Financially Safe Retirement
"Nearly 50 years ago, an economist named Menahem Yaari wrote a seminal paper that found that the most effective way for consumers to manage the uncertainty of retirement is to put all their financial assets into a lifetime single premium immediate annuity at retirement."

 How Much Time Will Be Needed to Comply With DOL Fiduciary Rule?

 U.S. wealth managers grit teeth and prepare for Labor rule (related)

 Despite industry fears, DOL's fiduciary rule is just more of the same (related)

 Time to get on board the fiduciary train (related)
"DOL says eight months; industry experts are saying at least one to three years."

 Nationwide, AIG see huge gains in fixed indexed annuity sales; Allianz and Security Benefit flounder
"Nationwide and American International Group saw sizable gains in fixed indexed annuity sales last year, jumping into the Top 10 sales leaderboard and reaping the benefits of a market appetite for indexed annuities that only seems to be growing."

 Flipping The Switch On An Annuity Income Stream
"When it comes time to discuss retirement planning with your clients, focus on the core thinking behind their goals: building financial security for the latter part of life. Given recent market uncertainty, your clients may be more inclined to take a conservative approach to their investing. Recommending financial vehicles that maintain a balanced portfolio can offset market concerns and set your clients up for a comfortable retirement."

 New Paper Contrasts the Academic vs. the Practitioner View on Annuities in Retirement Planning
"Although academic studies evaluate the optimality of annuities in general, advisors assess specific solutions in terms of concrete contract types that are governed by insurance carrier profit objectives, tax code provisions, and regulatory restrictions." Link to paper pdf

 Rising interest rates pushing annuity product development
"Insurers are trying to capitalize on an environment of rising interest rates by developing annuities that would benefit investors as rates increase."

 Why Retirees Should Consider Indexed Annuities
"Given their inverse relationship, when bond interest rates begin to climb, bond prices decrease in market value—as they have been for the last year especially. When approaching retirement, what strategies are retirees left with to ensure long-term financial success?"

 There is a retirement savings crisis – and FIAs can help
"U.S. Census data show that there are more than 74 million Americans aged 55 and older. Every day, roughly 10,000 people in the U.S. reach retirement age, according to an article on NPR."


SEC Chairwoman White says Agency is ‘Full-Out’ Working on Fiduciary Rule
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White said Tuesday that agency staff is “full-out” working on a proposal to raise standards for retail investment advice, but that it would take time to “get it right.”

Put Clients First When Advising About Annuities
Recently, the question gained further steam when ThinkAdvisor published a Q&A with Fisher Investments CEO Ken Fisher essentially saying that he “hates annuities”– especially variable annuities– because they are a “Ponzi scheme,” sold on “lies” that are “too good to be true.”

Q&A: Ex-NBA player Antoine Walker on financial planning, Paul Pierce
Antoine Walker carved out a niche for himself in the NBA as a mobile power forward with a solid jumper. While he was a three-time NBA-Star and won an NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2006, Walker is not often remembered for his achievements on the court. Instead after declaring bankruptcy in 2010, Walker has become the face of broke athletes.

Here’s Why So Many Retirees Are Still Working
There’s been plenty of criticism lobbed at the current crop of presidential candidates, but one thing that’s barely been mentioned is their age.It’s essentially a non-story that Donald Trump, at age 70 in January 2017, would become the oldest first-term president ever sworn in. At age 69 at the time of her potential inauguration, Hillary Clinton would be just eight months younger than the current record holder, Ronald Reagan.

Offering life insurance an important part of enrollment season
Selling life insurance during open enrollment time — that’s a double challenge. MetLife is up to the challenge, though, and has turned to gum, movies and coffee to help folks understand what a great deal life insurance is.

IUL As a Retirement Vehicle
Too many American consumers approach retirement savings without all the facts or adequate knowledge of the different options that can serve them in the long term. This is particularly true when it comes to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) which are often seen as the only solution for long term retirement savings when 401K programs are not available or appropriate. However, Indexed Universal life insurance (IUL) policies offer tax advantages to assist with retirement planning and should therefore be considered as an alternative, especially after IRA contribution limits have been exhausted

Why You Should Use FIA’s in Retirement Planning
Fixed index annuities (FIAs) are on track to approach last year’s record sales of $48 billion, according to LIMRA’s reports on this year’s first two quarters.

Advisors Could be Overlooking Strategy for Pre-Retiree and Retiree Clients
Two thirds of advisors say that a key goal for pre-retirement and retiree clients is income distribution planning—but that doesn’t mean they’re suggesting annuities as a way to achieve that goal.

Americans are Underprepared for Retirement
When it comes to finances, it seems that Americans are woefully unprepared for retirement, according to a 2015 report issued by National Institute of Retirement Security (NIRS). The Continuing Retirement Savings Crisis, states the typical American household was further behind in retirement readiness in 2013 than it was in either 2010 or 2007. As a matter of fact, nearly 40 million working-age households, accounting f or 45 percent of American households, do not own any retirement accounts at all.

Conservative Groups Call for Defunding Fiduciary Rule
Thirty-four mostly conservative groups signed a letter Thursday to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asking the lawmakers to kill the fiduciary-only rule.

7 Ways to Generate Income for Clients Receiving Social Security
For advisers helping retirees navigate the bad news of no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment next year, the options are slim and most come with tradeoffs. But there are income options out there.

A Deferred Annuity Can Keep Retirees From Going Broke
If you're familiar with annuities, you may know about variable annuities and immediate annuities, but not a certain other kind, which is well worth considering as part of your overall financial strategy for your life. That's the deferred annuity -- sometimes called a longevity annuity or longevity insurance -- which can serve as a welcome safety net, keeping retirees from going broke.

4 ways the Labor Department is About to Rock Our World
Every once in a while the government passes a regulation that completely alters the landscape. The new standards proposed by the Labor Department for ERISA participants and their advisers will have the biggest impact since the deregulation of the securities industry a few decades ago. That shift created independent brokerage firms, independent advisers and the custodians and platforms to serve them. This bill will change all of our lives.