Variable Annuity Carriers ‘Mix It Up’ in Q4

"We may be at an inflection point, with the first carriers beginning to tweak products in small ways for competitive advantage despite the ongoing low interest rate environment," writes John McCarthy, Product Manager, Annuity Solutions, at Morningstar Inc.

With BluePrint Income, AARP Ups its Ante on Annuity Sales

AARP's 38 million members can now buy income annuities and fixed-rate annuities on a platform powered by fintech firm Blueprint Income. Buyers get a complimentary annual 'retirement income check-up' from a salaried, insurance-licensed adviser. 

We Could Use Some Inflation

The Treasury said this week that it will borrow (and spend) about $3 trillion this quarter, to cover its stimulus promises. Where does that money come from and where does it go? 'The capital is going from one pocket to another,' explains Vanguard's active Treasury fund manager, who expects the stimulus to be withdrawn in 2022.

Look Homeward, Seeker of Liquidity

During a market crisis, a reverse mortgage home equity line of credit (ReLOC) can be a lifeline of ready cash for homeowners ages 62 and older. Don Graves of HECM Advisors Group explains.
Featured

Crime writer wins $50.9 million verdict against advisor

"Notwithstanding eight figure earnings per year during that period, CEI and Cornwell learned that their net worth, while substantial, was the equivalent of only approximately one year’s net income," according to the 2009 complaint.

In Off-Year for Annuities, FIAs and DIAs Shine: LIMRA

Overall, annuity sales were $52.6 billion in the fourth quarter, down 8% from the previous year. For the year, annuity sales dropped 8%, tallying $219.4 billion. Variable annuity sales totaled $147.4 billion in 2012, down 7% from 2011.
News

AIG Life and Retirement gets an A+ from Fitch

AIG reported significantly improved profitability in the first nine months of 2012, with net income of $7.6 billion relative to a modest net loss in the prior year period. Life & Retirement’s pre-tax income rose 22% in the same period, year over year.

The Online 401(k) offers $200 for successful leads

“By instituting the referral incentive, we are hoping to debunk common myths about retirement plans and help Americans at businesses of all sizes effectively save for their retirement,” the Online 401(k) said in a release.

The Bucket

Brief or late-breaking items from Nationwide, MetLife, Northwestern Mutual, and Jefferson National.

Quote of the Week

"The business man is only tolerable so long as his gains can be held to bear some relation to what, roughly and in some sense, his activities have contributed to Society"--John Maynard Keynes, Essays in Persuasion, 1931.

The New Yorker launches business hub

The work of well-known business feature writers like Malcolm Gladwell, Ken Auletta, John Cassidy and James Surowiecki will be featured on the site.