Competition from bank certificates of deposit and variable annuities may be tempting consumers away from equity-indexed annuities.

Analysts at Fox-Pitt, Kelton, New York, have included that suggestion in a new research note.

Sales of annuities with returns linked to the performance of stock indexes and other investment indexes have grown rapidly in recent years, but sales seem to have slowed this year, the analysts write in the note.

Scrutiny from regulators and rating agencies may be responsible for some of the slowdown, but other factors may be the narrowing of the difference between long-term interest rates and short-term rates, the analysts write.

When short-time rates are almost as high as long-term rates, consumers may have an incentive to choose bank CDs, the analysts write.

But the analysts say competition from variable annuity products with guarantee features may be another important factor shaping the EIA market.

Traditionally, EIA sellers have paid high commission rates, but the regulatory scrutiny could force commissions down, and producers may respond to the scrutiny by de-emphasizing EIA sales, the analysts write.