Articles | Industry Trends

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 Mueller-NJ.com
"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.