Ahead of a Senate hearing last week on the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, 16 trade groups, including the Insured Retirement Institute, sent lawmakers a letter highlighting how the PRO Act could bring about unintended consequences. The groups say the ruling "could drastically reduce clients' ability to access high quality advice for their insurance, investment and retirement security needs."
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There are several misconceptions about annuities that could deprive retirees of the security only available from guaranteed lifetime income. They include the belief that current retirement savings will be sufficient and that annuities are unaffordable to the average investor.
Total annuity sales in the US grew 39% in the second quarter compared with a year ago and 23% for the first half of 2021, according to preliminary sales data from the Secure Retirement Institute. A strong stock market, low volatility and rising interest rates were all factors in the "remarkable rebound in the annuity market," said Todd Giesing, assistant vice president at SRI Annuity Research.
In many cases investors would benefit from annuities linked to custom risk-control indices but advisors fear recommending them would subject them to claims of mis-selling, according to Jay Watson of The Index Standard Ratings. "The custom index industry has evolved and matured; the risk-control indexes today are generally well-designed with a high degree of sophistication, rigor and oversight built into their process," Watson writes.
Milliman's Public Pension Funding Index, a metric that measures the assets-to-liabilities ratio of the nation's 100 largest public pensions, hit 82.6% at the end of June, its highest level since the index's inception in 2016. A surging stock market was the main cause, with the pensions' annualized return hitting almost 20% for the year ending June 30, according to the report.
AmeriLife Group said it will buy life and annuity distributor Saybrus Partners from Nassau Financial Group. Saybrus will keep its brand and continue to do business as a free-standing company, AmeriLife said.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is planning a series of targeted examinations, focusing on special-purpose acquisition companies, compliance with options account openings and possibly the relationship between financial-services firms and social media influencers, CEO Robert Cook said. Cook also said FINRA's sweeps of a trend toward zero commissions are ongoing.
Financial criminals are increasingly trying to cheat consumers by pretending to be legitimate financial advisors and brokers, the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission warn. The scammers' techniques include falsifying documents, cold calling using technology that makes it look like they are calling from legitimate firms, and creating fake websites and social media profiles.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said it will introduce a new fingerprint process for advisory firms and funding portals by September. FINRA said firms may be able to save money on fingerprinting costs because of the rates FINRA negotiated with the new vendor, Sterling.
Financial advisors thinking about technology solutions should look to a hybrid model if they aren't already using one, writes Chris Hastings, CEO of Panoramix for Financial Advisors. A hybrid model, where tech solutions do not all come from one vendor, can be more cost-effective, flexible and efficient, Hastings writes.
The Insured Retirement Institute's latest edition of "The Long View" is now available. It features Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker, who believes in a nimble, forward-looking strategy that puts people -- customers and employees alike -- first. Read it here.