In the course of his address, whose meaning was as usual camouflaged in Fed-jargon and stippled with acronyms, Bernanke more or less assured the markets that his motto remains, “Easy does it.”
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.
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?
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.)
In 401(k) plans that offered life annuities, 31% of current older workers and 25% of retirees planned to elect or had elected one, a study co-authored by Sandy Mackenzie (pictured) shows.
Simply pursuing the lowest cost is a real risk for small plan sponsors, who account for 90% of the nation’s 401(k) plans, said Kevin Watt, senior vice president of Security Benefit’s defined contribution group.
“Traditionally children would inherit their parents’ longevity risk. However, family sizes are shrinking, and the economic circumstances of parents and children have reversed. The last bastion has thus disappeared," a report from Japan says.
According to a release, the two organizations recently collaborated on a conference where contributors from business, academia and government addressed retirement planning in the age of longevity.
Consumer and business spending remain the principal drivers of U.S. growth, supported by modest gains in income, profits, and a recovery in housing.
“Today’s stock market is a constantly evolving, bewilderingly complex electronic labyrinth. Not even sophisticated traders can say with certainty what happens to their order when they buy or sell shares of stock" -- from The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins (Perseus 2012), by Jeff Connaughton.
Late-breaking item on The Hartford's sale of its retirement plans business to MassMutual. The Hartford’s institutional retirement business includes 33,000 mainly DC plans with $54.9 billion in AUM and over 1.5m participants. Also, items from Symetra and ING Group, which is selling its stake in Capital One, and MetLife, which has changed its income annuity.
Compared with 33 other industrialized nations, total tax revenues in the U.S. were the third lowest as a percent of GDP in 2009. But MIT's Andrea Campbell doesn't necessarily think that's something to brag about.