Our industry story used to read something like this: Markets are up and so are variable annuity sales or rates are up and so are fixed annuity sales. Today, it’s the opposite: The market is up while variable sales are down, and rates are down while fixed annuity sales are up.
The numbers don’t lie. A recent LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute report showed total fixed annuity sales up 34 percent from last year, while variable annuity sales fell 5 percent. Fixed indexed annuities set a new quarterly record of $13 billion, up 40 percent over sales last year, capturing 52 percent of the total fixed annuity sales for the first time ever.
It appears this is a new twist on our old story. So when I first saw this data, I asked many questions:
Let’s review a couple of basic truths to see if we can reveal some answers.
In talking with the advisors I work closely with, I’ve come to realize that their numbers do in fact fall in line with the LIMRA numbers, and many of them are having their best years ever. They’ve embraced the concept that some people are investors while others are savers. Savers will never become investors, no matter how hard the Fed pushes, and they’re starved for safe alternatives. Advisors who are truly listening to the desires of the savers say they’re having a real impact on their business and their clients.
Is it a fad? Well, most fads have faded out after five to 10 years, and this movement just seems to be getting started. In fact, it looks like it could go parabolic over the next decade, especially as many of our investors look to become maintainers. So I guess the real question is: If you’re not making fixed and fixed indexed annuity sales to your clients, then who is?
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