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New AllianceBernstein & Insured Retirement Institute Survey Finds Market Uncertainty Has Increased Demand For Variable Annuities

NEW YORK, April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers and financial advisors, increasingly concerned about meeting retirement goals, are finding that variable annuities (VAs) effectively address financial security concerns, according to a new survey by AllianceBernstein L.P. (AllianceBernstein) and the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI). The study, unveiled today at the IRI Marketing Summit, offers insights into how and why financial advisors are using VAs as demand for more predictable and steady income increases.

"The fact that fewer people today feel confident that they will be able to meet their financial needs in retirement is driving a robust market for lifetime income solutions," said IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford. "Our survey found that more and more financial advisors are turning to VAs as a sound portfolio solution because they provide guaranteed income and can help clients attain financial security in retirement."

Investors and Advisors Find More Value in Variable Annuities After the Crisis

The 2008 financial crisis has changed a lot of minds about insured retirement solutions, namely variable annuities. Amid the upheaval, many strategies were less effective in limiting losses than expected -- or made things worse. As advisors looked for a way to avoid a repeat of this experience, they focused more closely on the design of the variable annuity, with its explicit guarantee of retirement income. More and more, VAs are being seen as an important solution for investors.

"Clients clearly have a strong appetite for the benefits of variable annuities, and it is important that the industry better communicate how they can become a key portfolio ingredient," said Michael Hart, Managing Director of Insurance Services at AllianceBernstein. "We found that the more educated advisors are, the more likely they are to use variable annuities in client portfolios, and not surprisingly, the happier the client."

The survey segmented participants into three categories:
  • Sellers (sold more than 10 contracts per year)
  • Dabblers (sold between 1 and 10 contracts annually)
  • Non-Sellers (sold zero contracts)

Financial advisors were surveyed about their feelings -- and their clients' feelings -- toward guaranteed income solutions and VAs.

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