Bright Ideas from the SOA Investment Meeting

Last week, the Society of Actuaries held its investment conference in New York. We weren't far from the brass statue of the Wall Street bull, but the sell-side's unquenchable optimism about the future was missing. Practical new ideas flourished nonetheless.

Proof that SPIAs Still Make Sense

Even when interest rates are low, adding a lifetime income annuity to a fund portfolio 1) reduces the risk of portfolio ruin, 2) increases current income, and, 3) if the portfolio is shifted toward equities, can enhance the client's legacy.

Stan the Annuity Man Goes (Almost) Robo

Insurance super-agent Stan Haithcock, aka Stan the Annuity Man, says that his new cluster of annuity sales websites position him to become the first truly direct seller of fixed annuities in the digital channel. 'This is my shot across the bow to agents,' Haithcock said.

Scaling Retirement Solutions

At the EDHEC Risk Institute in France, financial researchers are trying to figure out how advisors can leverage technology to "mass customize" the goal-based approach to retirement income planning. It won't be a walk in the park.

Boundless Life Expectancy?

A senior economist at the World Bank believes that medical technology will keep finding ways to keep us going--and going strong--for much longer than nature intended.

NCAA Financial Ads, in Black and White

During the first weekend of March Madness, I saw a commercial for Northwestern Mutual Life that emphasized the importance of combining insurance and investments--and that seemed to have chosen bi-racial couples to reinforce that message.

Mutual fund and ETF flows sharply lower in 2015: Morningstar

The U.S. fund industry had new asset flows of $263 billion, or less than half of the $580 billion in 2014. Asia showed the strongest organic growth rate, at 18.6%, according to Morningstar's fourth annual Global Asset Flows Report.

Honorable Mention

Brief or late-breaking items from Prudential, the CFP Board, Fidelity and TIAA.