The World Economic Forum has ranked the US as the most competitive economy, ousting Switzerland from a nine-year run atop the ranking. The ranking system was overhauled this year to focus on technology-driven growth expected in the future.
American Equity Investment Life Insurance launched an indexed annuity that offers a crediting strategy linked to the performance of the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats index. The index includes major publicly traded companies with track records of paying solid dividends.
More companies are likely to transfer their pension liabilities to insurance companies as interest rates are rising and corporate pensions are reaching their highest funded level since 2007, according to pension consultants. Last year, companies in the US shifted $23.3 billion of their pension obligations to insurers, but consulting firm Mercer expects that amount will rise to a level between $25 billion and $30 billion this year.
The shift to fee-based annuities is giving financial professionals better tools to meet the needs of clients "no matter where they are within the different stages of the financial lifecycle, from accumulation to income to legacy planning," writes Craig Hawley, head of Nationwide Advisory Solutions. He discusses three types of clients who can benefit from these products.
Annuity products are often missing from the investment menus of workplace retirement plans, but that could change as the importance of guaranteed lifetime income in retirement becomes more widely appreciated, writes Tim Walsh, senior managing director of institutional investment at TIAA. "What can and should be done is to remove impediments to annuity adoption by employers and provide incentives for annuity selection by employees," he writes.
The New Jersey Bureau of Securities has made public a notice of preproposal for a fiduciary duty that would apply to brokers, agents and investment advisors and their representatives who recommend investments to clients. The state is seeking public comments on the draft of the proposal.
A tweet by Tesla CEO Elon Musk resulted in a $20 million fine for Musk and his resignation as chairman. Lawyer Anthony Lendez suggests advisors make sure their social media content does not violate regulations or company policy, saying "Musk's brush with the [Securities and Exchange Commission] is a reminder to financial advisors that the regulatory body is keeping a close eye on social media."
Prospecting should always be "an integral part of your business," writes Perceptive Business Solutions President Bryce Sanders, who says waiting for referrals is passive. He offers 12 reasons advisors should never put prospecting behind them.
Women who share financial decision-making with men feel a higher degree of uncertainty than women who make financial decisions on their own, according to OppenheimerFunds research. Ned Dane of OppenheimerFunds notes a need for better communication and understanding between partners and writes that "advisors are uniquely positioned to help."
The Allianz American Legacies Pulse Survey finds 86% of baby boomers think passing on stories is more important than transferring wealth. Advisors should urge clients to record family stories before it is too late, Mitzi Perdue writes.
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