NU Online News Service, Dec. 16, 12:13 p.m. – Nationwide Financial Services Inc., Columbus, Ohio, is updating its variable annuity program and setting up a new BEST of AMERICA Advisory Services Program that will help its producers sell fee-based investment advisory services.

The annuity program will offer seven new variable annuities designed for specific channels of distribution; a new “principal protected” fund for customers who are afraid of investment risk but want some exposure to stocks; five subaccounts designed to match customers’ levels of risk tolerance; and new Web tools.

The new fee-based advisory services program will provide model mutual fund portfolios, separately managed account portfolios, mutual funds and a no-load variable annuity. The minimum investment for the mutual fund and variable annuity options will be $25,000.

The program will also provide tools to help advisors generate proposals, assist clients with asset allocation and fund selection, and track and maintain accounts. Nationwide says it has also organized a staff of specialists to support the new advisory program.

Nationwide plans to offer the advisory program starting in early 2003 to financial planning firms, banks, accounting firms and insurance agents.