The Kreppa that Almost Melted Iceland

Iceland's economy and pension system has come back from the "kreppa" or banking crisis that struck five years ago. This country of the aurora borealis and matronymic last-names is full of surprises (Photo by Bjorn Ludviksson).

Thanks-givings (Not Misgivings) about Social Security

This year I'm claiming the Social Security benefits that I've earned on my own work record. I'm old enough now to be truly thankful for Social Security, whose future is precisely as certain, as fair, and as bountiful as we decide it will be.

The Alt-Asset Teams that Reinvent Annuity Companies

'Insurance Solutions' groups use private assets to boost the returns of life/annuity company investment portfolios. RIJ talks with Todd Fonner of Investcorp Insurance Solutions about this trend.

One Life Insurer’s Pivot to Private Assets

American Equity Investment Life’s ‘AEL 2.0’ strategy is designed to help it thrive even in a low yield environment. Allocating up to 40% of its money to ‘private assets’ is key to the fixed annuity specialist's plan.
Featured

Annuity Sales Decline in 1Q 2013: LIMRA

"In many ways, the current market is more challenging to many annuity manufacturers than the recent financial crisis,” said Joe Montminy, assistant vice president and director of LIMRA annuity research.

“An inoculation, not a depredation”

Notes from all over: What a government official said privately about the $3 million cap on tax-favored accumulations; Mark Cortazzo's new business of mining old VA contracts; another New York Times article that obfuscates annuities.
News

Can’t win for losing

Venturing into the sensitive area of ethnicity, Prudential documents a need for dramatic improvement in the financial circumstances of the average African American.

Are ‘multi-asset income funds’ for real?

“As talk of a gravy train gains currency, however, now is a good time to consider what lies beneath the multi-asset income label," said Barbara Wall, a director at Cerulli Associates, in a release.

Lincoln Financial expands VA fund options

The new investment options, which seek to reduce exposure to market risks, include seven new options for Lincoln ChoicePlus Assurance products and four new options for American Legacy products.

Dicey

"We have been trained to consider all the possible future outcomes and then weight them in accordance with their probability. In effect we freeze time and take multiple copies of the world and then run the six versions forward as ‘parallel universes’," writes this TowersWatson analyst. But the real world, he says, doesn't work that way.

Swan Dive

In trying to predict the future, we make two mistakes, experts said at conferences this spring. In relying on averages of potential outcomes, we assume parallel universes. And we blame “black swans” for our own failures of imagination.