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

Stocks in this article: AB AXA

Selected Quotes from Survey Participants

Financial advisors surveyed offered many insights into how and why they are using VAs, including the following:

  • I wanted to offer my clients guaranteed growth and guaranteed retirement withdrawals with very little risk.

  • Product enhancements made them more reasonable for clients and their needs.

  • I learned more about them... [now] I understand how they work and why they should be used.

  • I will offer variable annuities when I discover that their retirement cash flow will not last to the age they want.

A More Open Dialogue

While the search among investors for a better shock-resistant strategy has sparked renewed interest in the benefits and safeguards of variable annuities, the study notes that more can be done to facilitate the conversation between advisors and clients.

"Advisors should be educated on the fact that their clients are looking for the protection and growth potential variable annuities offer, and have shown a willingness to pay for these features," noted Hart. "We believe that advisors should proactively discuss the appropriateness of insured investment solutions as an integral part of most clients' overall retirement investment strategy."

About the Survey

The survey was commissioned by AllianceBernstein and IRI and conducted by market research firm InsightExpress. Targeting individuals who have either a FINRA Series 6 or FINRA Series 7 and an insurance license, we wanted to understand how and why they're using variable annuities in their practices. Eight out of ten respondents use these products, and nearly a third of those sold more than 10 contracts in the past year.

The survey specifically examined whether the 2008 financial crisis had changed advisors' and investors' attitudes about variable annuities. Moreover, the survey looked closely at why some financial advisors use variable annuities as a primary retirement solution while others don't.

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