Even with a very strong stock market, individuals are looking for safe alternatives. There are have been year to year increases over the entire industry of over 16%, with the index-type products moving 13% from 2012, says Jeremy Alexander, President and CEO of Beacon Research. There's a lot of investor demand for retirement-type products, along with a drastic shift in risk tolerance.
With 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, they're still looking to generate income, certainly after being hit so hard after the last downturn. This has translated into conservatism, Alexander says, on the risk tolerance side. He says it would be wise to "hedge your bets," and make sure that at least a portion of your assets are kept safe, looking for a return of your money instead of on your money.
For the first time since 2008, every single product type on the fixed side is going up, according to the research conducted by Beacon Research, including traditional fixed annuities, fixed annuities with market value adjustments, index annuities and income annuities. "We're seeing across the board rise in all product types," notes Alexander. Furthermore, they're seeing it in every sales channel.
With FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency, typically looking at securities products, any product that a registered rep is working with, the broker dealers can supervise, says Alexander. Even if it's a fixed annuity sale but the money comes out of a security, FINRA can take a look at that transaction as well. They're very concerned with 1035 exchanges and the ability to show economic value for every purchase and every exchange, Alexander explains. He believes there will be a lot of scrutiny from FINRA regarding how an advisor chooses a product and certainly on an exchange, proving that there is economic value in that exchange.