Board members of an annuity manufacturer say the current price of the company’s shares is lower than it ought to be.

American Equity Investment Life Holding Company, West Des Moines, Iowa, says it has spent about $6 million to buy 729,000 common shares under a 10 million-share repurchase authorization announced in November 2007.

The company has set up a 10b5-1 trading plan, which will give the board the ability to buy stock through pre-arrangements with a broker even during trading blackout periods, the company says.

“We believe American Equity’s stock is substantially undervalued, and we continue to have great confidence in the company’s long term value,” American Equity Chairman David Noble says in a statement about the company’s stock repurchase capacity. “All of the fundamental strengths of the company, including asset quality, remain intact. Our stock is suffering from industry and market forces with no direct bearing on how the company is being managed. We see this as an opportunity, and we will continue to be a buyer.”