Honorable Mention

DPL Financial Partners will distribute no-commission VA from Transamerica; NextCapital to provide 'managed advice' to MassMutual plan participants; Great American enhances its Index Frontier contracts; Equitable enhances its flagship Structured Capital Strategies registered index-linked annuity.

DPL Financial Partners will distribute no-commission VA from Transamerica

DPL Financial Partners, an online insurance marketplace for registered investment advisors (RIAs), will offer Transamerica’s I-Share variable annuity to DPL’s 800 RIA member firms.

The annuity features subaccount options from American Funds, BlackRock, T. Rowe Price, Janus and other investment managers in equity, fixed-income and alternatives, along with several living benefits “expected to appeal to fee-only advisors and their clients,” according to a DPL press release.

The annuity’s optional living benefits provides the opportunity to lock in account value  annually, based on the highest monthly policy value (versus quarterly or annually), as well as several other living benefit riders with customizable features. DPL will begin offering the product on its platform in mid-May 2020.

NextCapital to provide ‘managed advice’ to MassMutual plan participants

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) announced today a new managed advice solution that allows for greater personalization of investment strategies.

The new service, called Manage My Retirement, is a professionally managed account service through NextCapital Advisers, Inc., an enterprise digital advice provider.

The service “will help defined contribution retirement plan savers choose a path to retirement that matches their unique personalities and circumstances with the goal of helping them achieve better retirement outcomes,” according to a MassMutual release.

The services are available for 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans and can be customized with a specific plan’s available investment options.

NextCapital’s Manage My Retirement ‘advice engine’ builds a personalized retirement plan and portfolio for each participant, using up to 30 specific data points, including retirement age, savings rate, gender, marital status, health, salary risk, guaranteed income, and funding gap, among others.

These data points are used to create a personalized investment portfolio, which is monitored and automatically adjusted as circumstances change. Manage My Retirement also gives each participant a personalized retirement plan, which includes start date and savings recommendations, as well as retirement income forecasts.

“The $8 trillion defined contribution market is shifting to personalized managed advice to better meet the unique needs of each retirement saver,” said Rob Foregger, co-founder & EVP of NextCapital, in the release. “With over 2.6 million retirement plan participants, we are excited MassMutual has selected NextCapital’s digital advice platform to help deliver better retirement outcomes.”

Manage My Retirement will also focus on the needs of advisory firms and plan advisers. By leveraging NextCapital’s flexible technology, MassMutual can provide customized solutions for different firms. These firms can include their own investment selections, choose varying levels of advisory interaction, and choose their fiduciary role. They can even collaborate with MassMutual and NextCapital to adjust advice methodology inputs, like capital market assumptions.

NextCapital’s open-architecture digital advice solution provides integrated account aggregation, analytics, planning and portfolio management, and allows partners to customize advice methodology and fiduciary roles.

Great American enhances its Index Frontier contracts

Great American Life added three new indexed strategies to its Index Frontier registered index-linked annuities. The three new indexes are:

  • S&P 500 10% Buffer Indexed Strategy
  • iShares MSCI EAFE Conserve Indexed Strategy with 0% Floor
  • iShares MSCI EAFE Growth Indexed Strategy with -10% Floor

“The new Buffer strategy, which protects against the first 10% of losses at the end of each one-year term, gives consumers greater flexibility in how they choose to protect their money – and with the ability to reallocate among strategies at the end of each term, they can adjust their exposure in alignment with different market cycles,” a Great American release said.

Additionally, the new iShares MSCI EAFE indexed strategies offer exposure to developed international markets. Consumers can choose between the Conserve strategy, which offers complete downside protection, and the Growth strategy, which protects against losses in excess of 10%.

These new strategies are in addition to the Index Frontier’s current offerings, which provide exposure to the broad-based market, commodities and the real estate sector.

Equitable enhances its flagship Structured Capital Strategies registered index-linked annuity

Equitable, a subsidiary of Equitable Holdings, has enhanced its Structured Capital Strategies PLUS registered index-linked annuity—the first product of its type, first offered a decade ago by then-AXA Equitable—that offers clients some upside potential even when the S&P 500 benchmark index goes down.

The new feature, Dual Direction, is available within SCS PLUS annuities with the S&P 500 as the benchmark index. Dual Direction offers clients the following benefits:

  • If the S&P 500 benchmark index declines up to or equal to 10% at the end of the six-year investment time frame, clients earn a positive return equal to the percentage of the decline up to or equal to 10%.
  • If the S&P 500 benchmark index declines more than 10%, the client is protected from the first 10% of losses.

Recently, Equitable added a new feature in select versions of Structured Capital Strategies, which allows clients to invest on a one-year basis, giving them the flexibility to realize potential returns or partial downside protection more quickly.

Equitable introduced Structured Capital Strategies, the first registered index-linked, or buffered, annuity in 2010. Through Structured Capital Strategies, clients can participate in the performance of one of several mainstream equity market indices up to a cap, with Equitable absorbing the first -10%, -20% or -30% of potential losses.

Clients can choose the equity index on which the performance of their investment is based, such as the S&P 500 Price Return Index, Russell 2000 Price Return Index or iShares MSCI EAFE ETF, the duration of the investment and the level of downside protection based on their goals and risk tolerance.

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