Searching for an Oasis

This roundup of investment flow reports from Beacon Research, Strategic Insight, Morningstar and the Insured Retirement Institute suggests that investors are looking for shelter from an economic sandstorm in which visibility has declined to zero.

What’s Good for General Motors…

A month after Ford’s pension buyout offer, GM is offering some salaried retirees a choice of a lump sum buyout or lifetime income from Prudential. Both automakers took advantage of a change in discount rates to reduce obligations.

No Fluke: Income Annuity Sales are for Real

Sales of income annuities may soon breach the $10 billion-a-year barrier. We talked to the Numbers 2 through 5 SPIA sellers in the U.S.: MetLife, MassMutual, Pacific Life (whose symbol is the humpback whale), and Nationwide.

Annuicide Prevention Tool

By establishing a standard for valuing in-force income annuities, an industry task force hopes to reduce fear of "annuicide" and stimulate SPIA sales. "We're taking a thorn out of the lion's paw," says Gary Baker of Cannex. (Links to pdfs of task force documents included.)

Moody’s and A.M Best disagree on GM-Prudential deal

Differing signals from ratings agencies are feeding speculation about GM's huge pension risk transfer to Prudential Financial, and about the longevity and other risks associated with the unprecedented deal.


Last week’s feature article in RIJ, "Prudential Files '2.0' Version of Highest Daily VA Rider," mistakenly described the fee structure as a new development. That fee structure, used in the “O” share of the contract, was created in 2011 for use by a specific broker dealer.

Was Facebook the Death Knell of Equity Investing?

The ever-bearish Martin Hutchinson expects equities to represent a good value again... when Ben Bernanke is gone and after the Dow Jones Industrial Average settles to about 5,000.

Pardon Our Dust

During the transition to a bigger, better server, we experienced a service interruption over the weekend. It's just growing pains.