The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company has unveiled a guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit for new and existing owners of its Portfolio Director fixed and variable annuity contracts.

The new IncomeLOCK option can lock in an annuity contract’s investment gains annually and automatically for at least 10 years, according to VALIC, Houston, a unit of American International Group Inc., New York.

Investors who choose the option can allocate assets to any investment options within their annuities.

Investors must follow asset withdrawal rules, but they can decide when to begin taking income, how much to withdraw each year, and how long they want the yearly income to last, VALIC says.

Investors who wait until age 65 to take their first withdrawal and limit withdrawals to 5% of the maximum annual withdrawal amount can receive guaranteed lifetime income, VALIC says.

VALIC is responsible for backing the option guarantees.

Current Portfolio Director investors who are age 75 or younger can add the IncomeLOCK option to contracts with at least $50,000 in assets.

New customers who are age 75 and younger can buy the option if they make an initial investment of at least $50,000.

Customers who choose the option must pay an annual fee equal to 0.65% of the withdrawal benefit for as long as the customers remain invested in the contract.

Customers can step up the guaranteed withdrawal amounts at 10 years and 20 years.

If customers buy the option for new contracts, the withdrawal benefit includes the initial investment, plus investments made during the contract’s first 2 years.

If customers apply the option to existing contracts, the withdrawal benefit includes the account value at the time the benefit is added, VALIC says.