Singing from the Fee-Only Song Book

Given their focus on planning rather than sales, fee-only advisors seem well-suited to the labor-intensive process of creating customized retirement income solutions for their clients.

‘SIMON’ Makes Indexed Annuities Simpler

Originally a platform for distributing structured notes to broker-dealers, SIMON is adding index-linked annuities to its product suite. Prudential is both an investor and, as of today, a product provider.

Annuities and the Charles Schwab Deal

Most of the annuities now on the Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade platforms are offered by mutual or foreign-owned life insurers. Lincoln Financial is the sole exception.
Featured

Vox Populi on the ‘Volcker Rule’

More than 1,400 Americans, including Paul Volcker himself (at left) commented on the proposed rule, which would ban risky 'proprietary' trading by banks. A smaller but more influential group—including insurers and the probable next chair of the House Committee on Financial Services—decried the rule.
News

Uncertainty Hurts More Than QE2 Helps, Finance Pros Say

Weak consumer demand, uncertainty about regulatory changes, unemployment, anti-business sentiment in Washington, uncertainty about tax policy, commodity price volatility and FOREX volatility, in that order, were cited as reasons for weak private investment.

Draft of Deficit Reduction Proposals Released

The deficit committee's modest proposal to reconsider all of the $1.1 trillion worth of annual "tax expenditures"--including the tax deferral benefit that underlies the retirement industry--worries Brian Graff, CEO of ASPPA.

Many Plan Sponsors Puzzled by TDFs

Just 34% of plan sponsors responding to a Janus/Asset International poll believe target date funds are the best QDIA for their plan, down from 57% last year.

The Bucket

Late-breaking items about Financial Engines, Jackson National Life, Nationwide Retirement Plans, Allianz Life of North America, Pershing, Penn Mutual Life, American Equity Investment Life, Genworth Financial, ING, Wolters Kluwer, New York Life, Fidelity and Securian . . .

Quote of the Week

"Gold is at a record only if you fail to adjust for inflation. And you should almost always adjust for inflation" -- Economics columnist David Leonhardt of The New York Times, explaining that gold cost a record $2,387 (in 2010 dollars) 30 years ago.