Sign of the Times

A 'grey market' phenomenon in more ways than one, Airbnb’s lodging website allows Boomers and others to boost their retirement incomes and, conversely, to afford their dreams of retirement travel.

Tell Us What You Really Think

At the LIMRA-Society of Actuaries Retirement Industry Conference in Baltimore last week, Scott Stolz from Raymond James, Greg Jaeck from Edward Jones and Jarrod Fisher from Simplicity Financial Distributors delivered frank opinions about annuities and annuity issuers.

Why Indexed Annuity Sales Are So Strong

Many factors are driving the increase in indexed annuity sales: More manufacturers, better products, more distributors, competitive commissions, aging boomers, and relaxed regulation. But does the bubble contain the seeds of its own deflation?

Lessons from a Living (DC) Experiment

Israel has found that even a mandatory defined contribution system can’t resolve all of the behavioral, economic, or administrative issues that prevent low-income and minority workers from saving for retirement. (Photo: Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem.)

VA Sales Lack Clear Trend

Helped by a bull market that pushed the DJIA over 15,000 for the first time, VA assets under management at the end of the first quarter 2013 reached a new record of $1.72 trillion, up from $1.64 trillion at the end of 2012.

VA Issuers Keep On Tweakin’

Carriers filed 97 VA product changes in the first quarter of 2013, down from 101 in the fourth quarter of 2012 and 59 in Q1 of last year. Benefits continue to shrink and volatility controls on subaccounts have become more common, according to Morningstar's Annuity Solutions product manager.

A retirement boom as far as the eye can see

“Financial services firms should be looking at the retirement market not just for the immediate opportunity offered by Boomers but preparing for the possibility of long-term, sustained growth as Gen X and Y consumers prepare for retirement,” a LIMRA release said.

GAO criticizes “pervasive marketing” of IRA rollovers

Posing as plan participants about to change jobs, the GAO called IRA rollover counselors at 401(k) providers to see if the recommendations were biased in favor of rollovers and against roll-ins to the job changer's next employer's 401(k) plan. (Pdf and video attached).

DIA-monds in a rough patch

“Deferred income annuities were a bright spot in a difficult quarter,” said Jeremy Alexander, CEO of Beacon Research. “Ongoing product development and increasing sales underscore the importance of generating guaranteed retirement income for consumers and their advisors.”

Quote of the Week

"Selfish and contentious people will not cohere, and without coherence nothing can be effected" -- Charles Darwin, Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871).

The Bucket

Brief or late-breaking items from DST, BB&T, and Vanguard.