Bernanke, Equities and the November Election

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.”

Tell Us What You Really Think

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.

Why Indexed Annuity Sales Are So Strong

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?

Lessons from a Living (DC) Experiment

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.)
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Japan gets younger, but still struggles with longevity risk

“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.

“Quote” of the Week

“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.

The Bucket

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.

“America the Undertaxed”

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.