Part I: ‘Keep Your Hands Off My 401(k).’ Based on their recent e-mails to the Labor Department's RFI, some Americans think Uncle Sam wants to confiscate private savings.
Bond mavens, check this out. A new SEC report describes how most of the $54-trillion dollar U.S. credit market survived last spring's financial crisis. It covers securitized 'leveraged loans,' which provide high-octane fuel for fixed indexed annuity issuers.
'Insurers can't remain wedded to product sales, which are becoming commoditized in a future that trends toward financial advice,' says industry veteran Michelle Richter, who just launched Fiduciary Insurance Services, LLC.
Bond gurus Anne Mathias of Vanguard and Rick Rieder of BlackRock spoke at the Morningstar Investment Conference last week. Emerging markets, real estate debt, and asset-backed securities are potential sources of yield, as are dividend-paying stocks, they said.
In print, on radio and on TV, Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich helped fuel the rumor that 401(k) plans were under attack.
In the final week or two of its RFI on in-plan annuities, the Labor Department began receiving comments from the industry that has a big stake in the way 401(k) assets are distributed.
Some behavioral finance experts believe that principles of psychology could be used to boost annuity sales.
"Premiums have actually declined, and rebuilding them will be a challenge," said Conning's Scott Hawkins.
Individual annuity gross sales for the quarter just past were $4.9 billion (up from $2.2 billion a year ago), while net sales were $3.2 billion (up from $643 million a year ago.)
"The life insurance companies have a big opportunity here," said Ken Mungan of Milliman. "They should jump on it."
Today, the police, harbor workers, security services and journalists for the state media can retire in their 50s. Starting in 2013, these privileges will be abolished.
The new living benefit allows contract owners to withdraw enough to offset all or part of the income tax on their distributions.