It’s not everyday we get a beautiful piece from a non-insurance company discussing the case for a fixed index annuity inside a portfolio. Well today is the day. This is a must read for annuity writers, so give yourself a minute.
A few bullet points on their Executive Summary:
- An FIA allocation reduces extreme bad outcomes in balanced portfolios.
- FIAs improve median and worst outcomes for conservative and cash-heavy portfolios (assuming liquidity needs have been met).
- Incorporating an FIA with an underlying volatility controlled index can help provide more certainty around future portfolio values.
In the study, Blackrock looks at a hypothetical 58-year-old investor who is planning to retire at 65. It considers two alternatives from a 40% equities/60% fixed income portfolio.
1) A Fixed index annuity funded from both the equity and fixed income side (30% FIA, 25% equities, 45% fixed income)
2) A Fixed index annuity funded from fixed income only (30% FIA, 40% equities, 30% fixed income)
Using their assumptions and Monte Carlo simulations they were able to analyze the data and come up with some interesting points.
1) An allocation to an FIA leads to increased median accumulation value when it is funded out of the fixed income sleeve (page 7) & also reduces extreme bad portfolio outcomes when funded from fixed income. (page 10)
2) Inclusion of an FIA reduces extreme bad outcomes in balanced portfolios irrespective of funding source, thus acting as a natural risk mitigation asset. (page 10)
3) If the investor’s primary focus is to significantly reduce extremely bad outcomes, it is reasonable to allocate to the FIA in a prorated fashion from stocks and bonds. However, by doing so the investor gives up some upside. (page 10)
4) For conservative and cash-heavy portfolios, after accounting for liquidity needs, an FIA improves worst and median case total portfolio outcomes. (page 12)
A few snippets from Blackrocks’ Conclusion:
- “Accumulation FIAs can play an important role in helping clients achieve their goal of retiring with confidence”
- “…given the challenging forward-looking return expectations for equities, and low bond yields, it is important to consider complementary product options that can preserve the desired characteristics of retirement portfolios. FIAs may be a good candidate to help investors with protected growth leading up to retirement.”
Overall, I think this paper is extremely timely as retirees are grasping for ideas on how to preserve, yet still accumulate in a challenging market environment. Take this information and run with it, what an awesome time to be in this industry!