Frequently Asked Questions

RetireOne Sales and Service
Variable Annuities
Fixed-Indexed Annuities
Variable Universal Life (VUL)
Private Placement VA
CDA/Personal Pension

How is RetireOne paid?
RetireOne is paid by insurers for services provided. RetireOne provides services free of charge to advisors or their clients. RetireOne Relationship Managers are not paid commissions.

How do insurance licensed and non-insurance licensed advisors work with RetireOne?
All insurance sales require an insurance license. Whether you are insurance licensed or not, RetireOnes’s Advisor Solutions Team will handle the transaction upon referral from the advisor. RetireOne’s Advisor Solutions Team is staffed with insurance licensed registered reps that are licensed in all 50 states.

How does RetireOne assure transactions meet FINRA suitability rules?
All transactions go through suitability and supervisory review/oversight. The RetireOne Advisor Solutions Team has handled thousands of insurance sale transactions. We are experienced, FINRA registered, and insurance licensed. Our team and time tested operational procedures facilitate the seamless addition of insurance solutions to an advisors practice. We analyze in-force annuity contracts your clients may own to determine if potentially lowering their fees, changing solutions, or gaining additional benefits would be in the client’s best interest.

What is the Advisor Solutions Team?
RetireOne’s Advisor Solutions Team has years of experience solving the retirement planning needs of investors. Our Advisor Solutions Team is dedicated to providing the complete support that you need to guide to a successful retirement. We are experienced, FINRA registered, and insurance licensed.
We are ready to assist you with:

  • Exploration and analysis of options and riders
  • DOL Fiduciary Standard compliance
  • Education and training on retirement needs and solutions
  • Living benefit expertise, sales, and support
  • Product illustrations
  • Product comparisons
  • 1035 exchange assistance and processing
  • Pre-filled applications and forms
  • Industry and product expertise

Our experienced team and time tested operational procedures facilitate the seamless addition of insurance solutions to an advisors practice. We continually analyze in-force annuity contracts your clients may own to determine if potentially lowering their fees, changing solutions, or gaining additional benefits would be in the client’s best interest. Our relationships with insurance companies and our technology helps streamline processes and provides the operational efficiencies needed to provide you with seamless service.

What are the regulatory issues involved with using annuities in my wealth management practice?
The laws and regulations governing the solicitation and sale of annuities can be complex and vary greatly from state to state. You should discuss your particular situation with your legal counsel.

Some annuities are regulated both as securities and as insurance products. Sales and solicitation of annuities must comply with federal and state securities laws and state insurance laws. If your clients reside in different states, then you may be subject to regulation by more than one state insurance regulator. Being registered with the SEC or a state securities department does not eliminate the need for compliance with state insurance laws.

State insurance laws prohibit individuals without the appropriate insurance agent license, and an appointment from the insurance company from negotiating, soliciting, procuring, or transacting insurance, including annuities. Many state insurance laws also prohibit individuals with a license from acting as an insurance advisor, consultant, or counselor, from giving or offering for compensation of any sort advice regarding the terms and conditions of an insurance contract. This includes the advisability of purchasing, changing, or surrendering and annuity.

In most states, the need to be licensed and appointed does not depend on the method of compensation.

If I don’t have an insurance license, then what activities may I perform?
What you may or may not be able to do with insurance in your practice depends on your individual circumstances and the applicable state insurance laws. We cannot advise you on your individual situations. However, there are a number of activities that you may be able to perform without an insurance license:

  • Informing customers that annuities and variable universal life insurance are available through RetireOne and our licensed representatives
  • Requesting that RetireOne send insurance information, prospectus, or application to your client
  • Assisting clients in contacting our licensed representatives on our Concierge Desk
  • Performing purely administrative and clerical functions, such as forwarding paperwork, as a customer service gesture without reviewing or commenting on these
  • Submitting a client’s asset-allocation instructions pursuant to the terms of a limited power of attorney agreement

The following activities require an insurance license:

  • Urging, encouraging, or attempting to persuade a client to purchase a specific insurance product
  • Describing the provisions, advantages, or specific features of any insurance product or comparing it to other products
  • Telling a customer that you have the authority to sign or bind any insurance product
  • Discussing specific rates, charges, or tax benefits of any insurance product
  • Approving or signing an application, or accepting any premium payments

How can I contact the Advisor Solutions Team? What are your hours?
Hours:

  • Market Days: 8:30AM – 7:00PM ET
  • Weekends and Holidays: Closed

Phone:
877-575-2742
Fax:
502-882-6040
Mailing Address:
222 South First St, Suite 600
Louisville, KY 40202

How does your Advisor Solutions Team help with 1035 exchanges?
Have us conduct a free evaluation of your existing book of annuities to determine if we can reduce insurance costs or provide increased benefits with a 1035 exchange into lower-cost VA solutions.
Pick the option that is best of you.
1. Call us now at 877-575-2742.
2. Fax us your current annuity statement(s) at 502-882-6040 including your contact information.
3. Fill out this form for your current annuities.

What are living benefits? guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits (GLWB)?
Some annuities offer options riders for additional cost, known as guaranteed living benefits, which protect the insured’s income from the effects of a market decline, or help address concerns about outliving savings. Many contracts in the marketplace today offer living benefits.

One popular type of living benefit is a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB), which protects the insured’s income stream by providing a guaranteed floor of income, regardless of the actual underlying contract value, subject to the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurer. Under the terms of this type of rider, the insured is generally allowed to withdraw a specified percentage of a guaranteed benefit base each year for the insured’s life, or for the insured’s and their spouses’s life in the event of a joint life rider, even if the actual account value decreases to zero due to the annual guaranteed withdrawal or market declines. The benefit base is set to the contract value typically at the time the rider is purchased and is generally reset at varying intervals, usually each year, based on the performance of the underlying portfolios.

Most GLWBs lock in the income base at the highest value on each contract or rider anniversary. Some of these riders also include guaranteed minimum rate, which sets the income base to the higher of the highest contract anniversary value or the total purchase payments credited with a rate of interest (such as 5%). The income base is not the same as the account value and is not available for withdrawal like a cash value. The actual account value will decrease with each withdrawal, though payments under the terms of the rider will still continue for life. There will generally be no funds available for beneficiaries if withdrawal taken prior to death exceed the actual contract vale. Withdrawals in excess of the specified annual payout amount will generally reduce the future income on a permanent basis.

The guarantees provided by a GLWB rider can provide the insured confidence that they will have guaranteed income for life, no matter how long they live or what direction the market takes. It is important to understand the restrictions and fees. Guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability and financial health of the insurance company.

What is an index-linked variable annuity (ILVA)?
Index-linked variable annuities are tax-deferred investment vehicles designed to protect against loss of principal. They offer upside potential up to a cap, with some measure of protection against market declines. Tax-deferred growth potential is based on the performance of linked-index options like the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and is credited to the account based on a ‘cap’ rate defined in the contract.

Some ILVAs may offer a return-of-premium death benefit, and often include a combination of buffer and floor options which afford Advisors the flexibility and control to tailor a solution to a client’s particular risk tolerance. The buffer protects against losses within the buffer, but not beyond, and the floor acts as a stop-loss when index losses occur beyond the floor.

Cap rates, floors and buffers are correlated. Opting for a lower floor may limit potential upside. For instance, choosing a 0% floor (guaranteeing no losses at all) might allow for a cap rate of 3.85% in a particular linked index. While choosing a -10% floor (allowing for losses from 0 to -10%) might extend that cap in the linked index to 10.75%.

What are death benefits?
The owner of a variable annuity contract names one or more beneficiaries. A death benefit is the sum these beneficiaries will receive when the insured dies, subject to the terms of the contract. Depending on the terms and conditions of the contract, the benefit can provide the beneficiaries a guaranteed minimum upon the insured’s death.

Death benefits are usually of three general types. For all these types of death benefits, the proceeds bypass probate for the named beneficiaries.

  • Return of account value – in return of account value death benefits, the beneficiaries receive the current contract value.
  • Return of premium – return of premium death benefits provides the greater of (1) an amount equal to everything paid for the annuity, minus withdrawals; or (2) the current contract value. A return of premium death benefit is sometimes the standard death benefit in a contract, though it is often a rider that is optional and available for an additional charge.
  • Enhanced death benefit – many enhanced death benefits pay the higher of the contract value at death or the highest contract anniversary value since the purchase of the annuity.

If withdrawals are taken from the variable annuity, then the death benefit will be reduced accordingly. If the insured’s spouse is the beneficiary of the annuity, some contracts allow the spouse to become the new owner of the contract while still receiving a death benefit. There is generally no death benefit payable once an annuity has been annuitized.

What fees may be assessed on a variable annuity?
The fees on variable annuities are typically assessed as a percentage of the account value, and can vary widely. The following are typical fees on variable annuities. Not all variable annuities charge all these fees.

  • Mortality and expense risk charge (M&E) – This charge covers the insurer’s expense for some of the key insurance guarantees of the contract, such as the standard death benefit, or for annuitization, the annuity payout option that can provide guaranteed income for life.
  • Administrative charges: Some contracts assess these charges to compensate the insurance company for administrative costs associated with the contract, such as preparing the prospectus or annual report and legal and accounting expenses.
  • Underlying fund fees and expenses: These fees cover the management of the underlying annuity portfolios in which allocated assets and any funds are invested.
  • Fund facilitation fees: These are fees charged by some insurance companies on some of the underlying annuity portfolios in which allocated assets and any funds are invested.
  • Rider fees: These fees compensate the insurance company for any optional features and guarantees beyond the standard annuity contract. Riders fees only apply for those riders specifically selected by the insured. Riders include enhanced death benefits, GLWBs and other living benefits, and principal protection for a spouse if the insured dies.

Can a variable annuity be purchased in an IRA?
Annuities may be purchased through a retirement account such as an IRA. In these cases, required minimum distributions (RMD) and other requirements would be in effect. Since these accounts already provide tax deferral, a variable annuity does not provide any additional tax benefits. There may be benefits such a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits that would warrant consideration of a variable annuity in a retirement account. The benefits and costs should be carefully evaluated before purchasing an annuity in a retirement account.

What is the tax treatment?
Annuity earnings are tax-deferred during the accumulation phase, which means that the policy holder does not pay taxes on any earnings until they withdraw. The policy holder pays taxes on earnings only when they withdraw money. Any earnings payouts are taxed as regular ordinary income. The earnings payouts may be subject to a 10% withdrawal penalty if they are made before age 59 and 1/2, in addition to applicable income taxes. If it is held outside an IRA or qualified retirement plan, a variable annuity does not require a minimum withdrawal at age 70 and 1/2.

Why is the insurance company important?
The insurance company issuing the annuity supports the guarantees, such as any death and living benefits. To support these guarantees, the insurer must set aside capital and reserves to cover these obligations. The guarantees are only as good as the insurance company backing them. It is important to know the insurance company’s financial strength and its ratings.

What is a 1035 Exchange?
Section 1035 of the IRS Code permits an exchange of one annuity for another without triggering the taxation of any investment gains at the time of the exchange. The annuity contract must be directly exchanged for a new or an existing annuity contract that has the same registration designations. Annuities may be exchanged for another annuity that offers additional benefits or guarantees that better suit the insured’s needs. Important considerations are fees, investment choices, surrender fees, death benefits, guarantees, and the financial strength of the issuing insurance company.

What is the accumulation phase? the payout phase?
Variable annuities have two phases, the accumulation phase and the payout phase.
The accumulation phase, during which assets are built for retirement through the selection of annuity portfolios. Any growth in the annuity contract value due to market gains is tax-deferred until withdrawal. Once withdrawn, the gains are taxed as ordinary income.
The payout phase, during which the insured receives payments either via a lump sum, via periodic withdrawals, or through the process of annuitization, which converts the assets income an ongoing income stream. Under most contracts, this income stream can be set up for a defined period or to last the insured’s lifetime. Annuitization is irrevocable, and once payments begin the insured can no longer access the accumulated contract value.

What is a rider?
Some annuities offer optional features, called riders, that provide additional benefit for additional cost. For example, some riders protect against market, inflation, or longevity risk. A death benefit and an enhanced death benefit can protect the annuity value for beneficiaries or allow for continued income for the spouse if the insured dies.

What are the investment options? What are sub-accounts?
The investment options in a variable annuity are known as “sub-accounts”. These annuity portfolios are not available directly to the public. Rather, they are available only within variable annuities or other products issued by an insurance company. Although they are not publicly available mutual funds or ETFs, annuity portfolios are similar in that they have their own distinctive investment objectives and policies, and they typically offer exposure to stock or bond market returns. The annuity portfolios generally cover different asset classes and investment strategies: equity, fixed income, balanced, and money market funds, as well as value, growth, core, and other strategies. In most contracts, you may transfer in and out of variable investment options. As with any investment, there is potential for loss of principal.

What are surrender charges?
Because variable annuities are designed as long-term investments, some variable annuity contracts levy a surrender charge if money is withdraw before a certain point in the contract. Information about any surrender charges can be found in the annuity prospectus. The typical surrender period is seven years, but sometimes longer, or shorter. Variable annuities carried by RetireOne do NOT impose surrender charges.

What is an excess withdrawal?
An excess withdrawal is any withdrawal after age 59 and 1/2 that exceeds the protected income base for the GLWB rider. Excess withdrawals and any withdrawals prior to age 59 and 1/2 may significantly reduce the guaranteed withdrawal benefit amount, and a surrender fee may apply. If an excess withdrawal reduces the contact value to zero, no further amount will be payable under either benefit and the contract will be terminated.

What is a “free-look period”?
All states have laws that give purchasers of variable annuities a set number of days to look at an annuity after they purchase it. This “free-look period” generally ranges from 10 to 35 days, depending on the state. It allows the purchaser to cancel their contract if they decide that they don’t want it. The contract and the annuity prospectus will describe the terms and conditions for the purchaser’s state.

What is a fixed index annuity?
Fixed index annuity is an equity-indexed annuity that earns interest or provides benefits that are linked to an external equity reference or an equity index. The value of the index might be tied to a stock or other equity index. One of the most commonly used indices is Standard & Poor’s 500 Composite Stock Price Index (the S&P 500), which is an equity index. The value of any index varies from day to day and is not predictable. When you buy an equity-indexed annuity you own an insurance contract. You are not buying shares of any stock or index.

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

How do surrender fees work?
FIA policies will charge fees for the first five to 10 years if you cancel the policy. This is called the “surrender period.” After the surrender period, there are no charges to withdraw a portion or all of your funds.

What is the spread?
Some annuities determine interest by a spread. For instance, if an FIA has a 4% spread and the index increases 10%, the contract is credited 6% interest.

What are floors and caps?
Some FIA contracts offer a specified, minimum amount your policy will be worth, regardless of index performance, called a “floor.” Other contracts may include a “cap,” or maximum amount of growth, regardless of how well the index on which the contract is based performs. Uncapped policies are also available, offering you unlimited potential growth.

How the participation rate affect returns?
With some FIAs a specific percentage is given relative to an index’s performance. For instance, if the participation rate was 75% and the market rose by 10%, the contract would receive 7.5% in indexed interest. This is generally applied after caps and before a spread.

How do FIAs payout?
In general, there are two ways to receive income payments from an FIA—annuitization payments or income withdrawals. There are different tax ramifications for each option, so it is important to get tax advice from your accountant or qualified tax professional before choosing a payout method. You may extend the amount of income you receive through the purchase of an optional income rider to the FIA.

How does an FIA accrue interest?
Because FIAs don’t directly participate in any stock or equity investment, an FIA’s value will not be affected by negative markets, sometimes called “downside protection.” On the other hand, if the index has a positive return for the year, the FIA policy is credited with interest—sometimes called “upside potential.”

Each FIA policy has a formula for the way interest is calculated and credited that falls into four basic categories:

  1. Annual reset – Adjusts the policy floor based on the change in the market index over a
    specific period of time.
  2. Point-to-point / term – Similar to the annual reset, but the period is usually five to seven years.
  3. Annual high-water mark with look back – Typically uses the highest anniversary value to determine the gain.
  4. Monthly averaging – Measures the index performance once a month on a specified day, and then at
    the end of each year, the insurance company adds them up and divides by 12.

What are some of the options are available?
Through optional riders, fixed indexed annuities offer features which can be added to FIA policies for additional fees, allowing customization based on individual need. For instance, one popular rider with retirees is the lifetime income option, meaning the annuity will keep paying you a certain amount of income throughout your lifetime, regardless of how long you live. Other riders include a guaranteed death benefit for beneficiaries, long-term-care coverage, future cost-of-living or inflation adjustments, joint or spousal survivorship, and surrender charges waived for disability, unemployment or terminal illness. Each policy is different, and insurance companies offer varying stipulations and coverages as they compete and improve their policies and riders based on consumer demand.

What is variable universal life insurance (VUL)?
Variable universal life insurance (VUL) is a form of cash-value life insurance that offers both a death benefit and an investment feature. The investment amount for variable universal life insurance (VUL) is flexible and may be changed by the insured as needed, though these changes can result in a change in the coverage amount. Payments are paid into the investment component. Each year, the life insurer takes what it needs to cover mortality and administrative costs. The rest remains in the separate accounts. The policy stays in effect as long as the cash value is sufficient to cover the cost of insurance. Loans can be taken against the cash value of the policy. Fund values for variable universal life insurance, are kept in an insurer’s separate account and interest accrued under these contracts are not guaranteed and may in fact be negative since interest is a function of the change in the market value of the separate account assets. As a separate account product, the policyholder may choose from a variety of underlying investment accounts whose values fluctuate with the performance of the underlying assets.

Is the death benefit income tax free?
The amount of your policy’s death benefit is determined by the amount of insurance purchased (or the specified amount of the policy) and whether the insured chooses to have any investment performance added to the death benefit. It is generally paid income tax free without the delays and expenses of probate and to the beneficiaries—a benefit only available on life insurance. As with all life insurance, the guarantees of the policy are only as good as the the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

What are the benefits of VUL?
Variable universal life insurance establishes a tax-free investment environment, at a very low cost, where there are a number of investment alternatives. For the variable universal life products offered through RetireOne, the investment advisor manages the assets in the insurance policy.

  • Tax deferred growth of cash surrender values while a policy is in force
  • FIFO withdrawal status on premiums paid into the contract
  • Income tax free policy loans from policies that are not Modified Endowment Contracts
  • Income tax free death benefits (may be subject to estate tax if policy is owned by the insured)

How is the cash value accessed?
Generally, the insured can access the cash surrender value in the policy through loans or partial withdrawals. Loans and withdrawals are subject to restrictions and will reduce the policy’s death benefit and available policy value. Excessive loans or withdrawals may cause the policy to lapse. Unpaid loans are treated as a distribution for tax purposes and may result in taxable income.

Is there a limit to the amount deposited or accumulated into the investment account?
There is a limit to how much premium can be put into the investment account in the first seven years for the policy to retain all its tax advantages and on-going tests as the investment account grows. If the policy fails this tests, then it becomes a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC). While a MEC still offers a tax-free death benefit and tax-deferred growth potential, there are income tax implications if the policy owner borrows, withdraws from or surrenders the policy.

There are tests if the premiums exceed 7-year IRS guidelines (which vary by age and gender of the insured and must be calculated by the insurance company). Beyond the 7 years, a similar test is invoked if there are material changes to the policy. Examples of material changes include (but are not limited to): face amount increases, exchange of insured, increase or addition of certain riders and plan changes. The test selected can have a significant impact on premiums, cash surrender values and death benefits. These tests limit the account value and premiums paid relative to the death benefit.

What is a Modified Endowment Contract or MEC?
A Modified Endowment Contract, or a MEC, is a special type of life insurance under federal income tax law. The law attempts to differentiate between policies that are purchased primarily for tax advantages, versus policies that are purchased primarily for life insurance. Like non-MECS, MECs offer tax-free death benefits and tax-deferred cash value accumulation.

If the policy becomes a MEC and the insured does not take any distributions from that policy during the insured’s lifetime, then there will be no adverse tax implications due to contract’s MEC status. However, any pre-death distributions are taxed as “income first” (not basis first), meaning they are taxable to the extent
of gain in the policy. In addition, distributions are subject to a 10% additional tax, unless the policy owner is over
age 59 and 1/2 or has become disabled.

Can the life insurance amount be changed after a policy is issued?
The policy owner can change the death benefit as needed. Death benefit increases may require new medical information.

How does the life insurance underwriting proceed?
Once the insurance company receives the application, then the insurance company will take over the underwriting process. The process is designed so that neither the advisor nor Aria have any access to the clients’ medical information. An insurance company vendor will contact the applicant to schedule a convenient time for a trained medical professional to come to the applicant’s home or office to complete a medical questionnaire; gather weight, height, heart rate and blood pressure information; and collect a sample of blood and urine. We will keep you updated on the progress.

What is the free look period?
Once the policy is issued, your client will have a ten-day “free look” period. During this time, any initial premium is held in cash or a money market. If the policy is returned within the “free look” period, your client will be refunded in full. If the policy is not returned after the “free look” period, the premium is allocated according to the instructions given on the application.

Who can purchase private placement insurance? What is an Accredited Investor?
Private placement insurance is only available to Accredited Investors. To be considered an Accredited Investor, one must have a net worth of at least $1,000,000, excluding the value of one’s primary residence, or have income at least $200,000 each year for the last two years (or $300,000 combined income if married) and have the expectation to make the same amount this year.

What is a private placement? Why use it?
Private placement (or non-public offering) is the offering and sale of a security by a brokerage firm not involving the general public, but rather through a private offering, mostly to a group of sophisticated investors who are categorized as Accredited Investors or Qualified Purchasers. Available in many forms, the type offered through RetireOne is offered under the SEC Rules known as Regulation D, rule 506. Private placement has advantages including: a) Often less complexity than a registered product; b) Often less costly to implement and maintain; c) Less burdensome regulatory requirements; and d) Bespoke Solution – custom designed for each individual investor.

What is private placement insurance?
There are two types of Private Placement insurance. Private Placement Life Insurance is a form of variable universal life insurance having two components, an investment account and a death benefit. Private Placement Variable Annuity (“PPVA”), is a form of a variable annuity, and is a life insurance contract whose investment account value fluctuates with the portfolio of underlying assets. Both are offered privately to Accredited Investors and Qualified Purchasers.

What are the benefits of private placement insurance?
Primarily private placement insurance establishes a tax-free investment environment, at a very low cost, where there are a number of investment alternatives. In the case of private placement variable universal life insurance, the death benefit value of the policy is generally considered a secondary benefit. For the private placement products offered through RetireOne, the investment advisor manages the assets in the insurance policy.

  • All earnings are tax deferred, including dividends, interest, capital gains, and partnership income.
  • Optimize performance with transparent, lower asset-based costs
  • Explore investment options in alternative asset classes
  • Increased access to leading managers
  • Elimination of K-1 tax reporting
  • No surrender charges

For private placement variable universal life insurance, in addition to the above benefits:

  • Tax-free access to cash value through withdrawals up to cost-basis
  • Tax-free access to cash value through policy loans
  • Policy beneficiaries receive policy proceeds on a tax-free basis at the death of the insured.

What is the IRS view on private placement insurance?
Private placement variable annuities and variable universal life are fully recognized by the IRS. The favorable tax treatment of private placement life insurance for both the policy owner and the beneficiary of the death benefit has been firmly established in the Internal Revenue Code for decades. Tax-deferred growth is recognized and unchallenged by the IRS, thus investments inside the investment account grow at a much faster rate than taxable investments. Tax-free access to portions of the investment accounts are also well defined by the IRS.
Source: Revenue Ruling 2003-91, Revenue Ruling 2003-92, PLR 200420017, PLR 9433030, PLR 201105012, CCA 200840043.

Where are the assets custodied?
For private placement variable annuities and variable universal life insurance offered through RetireOne, the custodian can be chosen by the financial advisor with the approval of the insurance company. This allows the financial advisor to manage the assets covered by the insurance as part of their general portfolio management.

What about investor control of private placement insurance assets?
Investment advisors and their clients must comply with investor control rules as they make investment selections. The policy owner is prohibited from exercising: a) the power to direct investments of the funds; b)the power to vote shares and exercise other options with respect to underlying securities of the funds; c) the power to extract cash at will from the policy’s separate accounts; and d) the power in any other way to derive “effective benefit” from the investments in the separate accounts. Source: August 13, 2015 WRNewswire.

What is 817(h) and what are the diversification requirements?
Asset in an annuity or life insurance contract must be adequately diversified at the end of every calendar quarter. In general the investments of will be considered diversified if: a) No more than 55% of the value of the total assets of the account is represented by any one investment; b) No more than 70% of the value of the total assets of the account is represented by any two investments; c) No more than 80% of the value of the total assets of the account is represented by any three investments; and d) No more than 90% of the value of the total assets of the account is represented by any four investments. All securities of the same issuer, all interests in the same real property project, and all interests in the same commodity will be treated as a single investment. In the case of government securities, each government agency or instrumentality will be treated as a separate issuer.

What is required for an investment advisor to manage private placement insurance assets?
A Participation Agreement must be in place between the investment advisory firm and the insurance company. A Participation Agreement (PA) allows the advisor to manage the insurance private placement assets. Each investment advisory firm will require one Participation Agreement at the firm level only, which will enable the appropriate investment professionals within the firm manage the private placement assets. A principal of the firm is required to sign on behalf of the firm. The Participation Agreement covers the following topics: appointment, confidentiality, account assets, term and termination, investment guidelines and objectives, custody of account assets, powers and duties of the investment advisor, fees and expenses, withdrawals. Investment Advisors should add (Insurance Companies) to their ADV, item 5D1L.

What is a Guaranteed Income Wrap / Contingent Deferred Annuity?
Guaranteed Income Wraps, also called Contingent Deferred Annuities (CDAs), are a new annuity innovation designed to offer longevity risk protection. These annuities are similar to living benefit riders to variable annuities but, instead of protecting funds or assets chosen by an insurer, the policyholder chooses the underlying investment vehicle, such as a 401(k), mutual fund or managed money account. The CDA establishes a life insurer’s obligation to make periodic payments for the annuitant’s lifetime at the time designated investments, which are not held or owned by the insurer, are depleted to a contractually-defined amount due to contractually permitted withdrawals, market performance, fees or other charges.

A CDA has three distinct phases. First, the CDA goes through an accumulation phase during which the amount of the CDA’s guaranteed annual payment is determined. The amount of the CDA benefit is set as a percentage of the total assets in the separately managed account. As those assets increase in value (for example through investment gains or additional deposits), the CDA benefit amount increases. However, once a benefit amount has been set, the CDA guarantees that the benefit amount can never decrease due to investment losses. In other words, should the underlying assets decrease in value due to poor market performance; the CDA’s benefit amount does not decline. In this way, a CDA provides a guaranteed lifetime income stream should covered assets run out.

The second phase of a CDA is the withdrawal phase in which the participant begins to draw funds from the separately managed account most typically upon retirement. During the withdrawal phase no benefit payments are made under the CDA. The CDA contract sets a maximum periodic withdrawal amount that a participant may take. Withdrawals at or below those permitted by the contract do not affect the benefit level established in the accumulation phase. However, should a participant withdraw funds above the contractually permitted amount, the amount of benefits available under the CDA decreases, potentially all the way to zero.

The third and final phase is the payout or settlement phase. Upon exhaustion of the separately managed account, the CDA begins making periodic benefit payments until the participant’s death. The amount of those payments is based upon the benefit amount set during the accumulation phase less any penalties or reductions for withdrawals above the contractual limits during the withdrawal phase.

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Center for Insurance Policy and Research

How Can I Use a Contingent Deferred Annuity in a Retirement Portfolio?
Click here for a comparison of a retiree’s income profile, when all of the retiree’s assets are invested in a mutual fund versus when a Guaranteed Income Wrap/Contingent Deferred Annuity (CDA) is added to 30% of the retiree’s mutual fund portfolio. Two market scenarios will be analyzed: a hypothetical down market scenario and a historical up market scenario.

The analysis provided focuses on how the inclusion of a Guaranteed Income Wrap/CDA impacts a typical retiree’s income profile. An efficient frontier methodology was used to determine where allocations between a mutual fund with a systematic withdrawal program and a portfolio with a Guaranteed Income Wrap would lie on the efficient frontier and hence create an optimal allocation. In this analysis, mortality was modeled on a stochastic basis, with 87% of the Annuity 2000 table as the base assumption and included a stochastic improvement factor.

Benefits of a Guaranteed Income Wrap/CDA
A Guaranteed Income Wraps or CDA is a new “contemporized” annuity solution that provides an attractive solution for advisors operating under the fiduciary standard. When an investor guarantees their lifetime income by wrapping their retirement assets with a Guaranteed Income Wrap, then:

  • An income stream is guaranteed for life.
  • Assets remain under the investment control of their advisor.
  • The Guaranteed Income Wrap is tax benign and the retirement assets keep the eligibility for the preferential tax rates and tax loss harvesting that apply to the investment account.
  • Liquidity is maintained and policy can be canceled at anytime without penalty.
  • Portability of the assets is maintained between custodians.
  • Greater equity exposure can be kept throughout retirement while the retiree has complete peace of mind.
  • Sequence of return risk and longevity risk are eliminated.
  • Costs are kept low and transparent.
  • Our Advisor Solutions Team and technology make purchase of a policy straightforward.