Over my 20-plus year career in the financial services industry, I’ve had the opportunity to see the industry grow and evolve in so many ways. For example:
- In the late 1990s I saw variable annuities (VAs) become a popular retirement and investment vehicle.
- In the 2000s there was tremendous growth and innovation in exchange traded funds (ETFs). And in the world of annuities, I saw the creation of withdrawal benefit and lifetime income benefit riders that fueled the expansion of the variable annuity marketplace.
- Since the financial crisis of 2008, there has been a convergence between variable annuities and fixed index annuities (FIAs). The annuity industry has seen a steady decline in VA market share while, at the same time, a steady increase in FIA market share. There are numerous factors that contributed to these trends; including an aging retiree population that prefer guarantees over growth potential, innovation in FIA crediting strategies and living benefit riders, and FIAs gaining wider acceptance within broker dealers and banks.