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by Ayo Mseka on Jun 20, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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Fixed Indexed Annuities May Outperform Bonds, According to Economist

Uncapped FIAs help control equity market risk, mitigate longevity risk and have the potential to outperform bonds in the near future.

Fixed Indexed Annuities May Outperform Bonds, According to Economist

By Ayo Mseka

 

Roger Ibbotson, economist and creator of the iconic "Stock, Bonds, Bills, and Inflation" (SBBI®) chart, unveiled his latest research that analyzed the emerging potential of Fixed Indexed Annuities (FIAs) as an alternative to bonds in retirement portfolios.

 

Researched and written by Ibbotson and his team 

fixed indexed annuities

at Zebra Capital Management, the whitepaper titled "Fixed Indexed Annuities: Consider the Alternative" suggests that bond returns in today’s historically low interest rate environment may be insufficient in meeting the anticipated retirement needs of U.S. investors, potentially placing many at risk of outliving their retirement savings.

 

Ibbotson is a 10-time recipient of Graham & Dodd Awards for financial research excellence and a professor emeritus at the Yale School of Management. In 1979, his research on risk premiums changed the trajectory of the financial industry, demonstrating the relationship between risk and return and illustrating equities are needed in a portfolio in order to generate long-term growth. During that time, he gained national notoriety for his daring prediction that the Dow would hit 10,000 by the year 2000, which proved accurate within just months of his estimate.

 

Today, Ibbotson’s latest research demonstrates that uncapped FIAs help control equity market risk, mitigate longevity risk, and have the potential to outperform bonds in the near future.

Bond returns in today’s low interest rate environment may be insufficient in meeting the anticipated retirement needs of U.S. investors.

 

"What financial advisors should acknowledge is the immense impact that shifting market conditions, longer life expectancies and uncertainties surrounding the future of Social Security have made on our U.S. economy," said Ibbotson. "In recent years, we recognized the potential of these conditions to result in a perfect storm where investors may be left with insufficient funds to carry them through retirement.

 

"Conventional wisdom has most investors de-risking their portfolios by allocating more heavily to bonds as they approach retirement," continued Ibbotson. "However, investors should consider other alternatives such as FIAs. In this low interest rate environment, complacency can be a danger to our clients’ futures."

 

In collaboration with Annexus, the researchers utilized the S&P 500 Index dynamic participation rates to simulate FIA performance over the past 90 years and presented the results in similar fashion to Ibbotson’s iconic SBBI® chart. The subsequent data, which considered historical volatility, interest rates and dividend rates, indicated the following:

  • Uncapped FIAs would have outperformed bonds on an annualized basis for the past 90 years.
  • It is highly unlikely that bond investors will realize as high a return from capital gains in the coming 10 years as they have realized in the past 10 years. In fact, if rates rise, capital gains in the future will be negative (capital losses).
  • Uncapped FIAs offer a more tailored risk profile than bonds, capturing a portion of the growth offered by largecap stocks, while lowering overall market risk.

 

"This is the single most important body of work I have seen in my 25 years of working in this industry, and the first to validate Fixed Indexed Annuities as an asset class," said Don Dady, co-founder of Annexus. "The evolution of the industry has made these vehicles more flexible and attractive than ever with the emergence of uncapped product designs and Smart Beta indices. In today’s fiduciary environment, it is imperative that advisors know what products are available and best suited to address the needs of their clients."

 

This article appeared in Advisor Today.

 

Topics: Financial Planning