HARTFORD, Conn., Oct. 20, 2015 – A majority of financial professionals identified retirement income distribution planning as a key goal for pre-retirees and recent retirees but may be overlooking an opportunity to help them meet that goal, according to a recent survey by Saybrus Partners, Inc.
The survey found that nearly two thirds (65 percent) of financial professionals identified “retirement income distribution planning” as the biggest goal for clients in their 50s and 60s. The survey polled financial professionals at the 2015 FPA Annual conference held in Boston, Sept. 26-27.
Yet, when financial professionals were asked what products and/or services they most frequently recommend for clients in this age group as part of their retirement plan, only 27 percent selected “fixed and/or indexed annuities.”
“Financial professionals may not be recommending annuities as often as they could for pre-retirees,” said Mark Fitzgerald, national sales manager for Saybrus Partners. “It is clear that both new and veteran financial professionals have an opportunity to fill an unmet need in their clients’ portfolios. By educating themselves about today’s fixed and indexed annuities, which are continuing to evolve in their features and benefits, they can provide their clients with a full range of options.”
Fitzgerald continued, “Especially with the recent growth in broker-dealer and bank channels, where FIA market share jumped 10% in 2014 according to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, there is an even greater opportunity for education. Despite the growth, product variations commonly sold in these emerging FIA distribution channels tend to be less benefit-oriented, possibly due to these advisors being less familiar with the more robust features offered with many FIAs available today.” According to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, 67% of broker-dealer sales of FIAs in 2014 elected a guaranteed income rider and just 25% of bank sales did.
Meanwhile, the survey found that the most frequently recommended products by financial professionals were “mutual funds” and “advisory services/actively managed funds,” which were both selected by 60 percent of respondents, followed closely by “managed accounts” (54 percent). “Variable annuities” and “life insurance” were less commonly the top recommendation, at 35 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
“A client’s portfolio is most vulnerable in the years just before and after retirement. Losses, especially in the first few years, combined with withdrawals can significantly impact a client portfolio’s sustainability,” said Fitzgerald. “As such, financial professionals can take this opportunity to ensure these clients are adequately adjusting their portfolio from an asset accumulation strategy to retirement income distribution planning and are using a combination of products and services that both protect against market volatility and insure guaranteed lifetime income for their clients in retirement.”
When the financial professionals were asked what clients in their 50s and 60s consider to be the biggest risk to their retirement portfolios, more than half (58 percent) said “outliving their savings.” Significantly fewer respondents reported risks such as a “major health crisis” (17 percent), “market volatility” (16 percent) and “taxes” (6 percent).
When asked what products and support they would like to add to their offerings to better address clients’ retirement needs, “better education” and “better technology,” were both selected by 60 percent of respondents. Other products and support they said they were seeking included: “more innovative/comprehensive products” (54 percent), “multi-solution products” (35 percent), and “better wholesaling support” (27 percent).
“This data suggests that despite the growth of FIAs and other retirement planning products, there is still a tremendous opportunity for both manufacturers and wholesalers to provide more comprehensive support for financial professionals,” Fitzgerald said.