New sales of variable annuities ticked up 2.5% in the second quarter, totaling $41.1 billion, compared to first quarter new sales of $40.1 billion. On a year-to-date basis, however, new sales of $81.9 billion lagged 2007′s second quarter year-to-date sales of $86.9 billion by 5.8%.
The top 10 companies accounted for a slightly larger share of the market year over year–71.3% vs. 70.5% in the first half of 2007. This metric, however, has not consistently risen: In the first half of 2006 the top 10 companies accounted for 71.5 % of new sales. Sales of acquired companies are included retroactively in these statistics.
Assets under management were almost flat relative to the end of the first quarter. Assets as of June 30 were $1,406 billion, 0.11% higher than the March 31 total of $1,404.4 billion.
Net flow increased the most of the 3 metrics, to $7.5 billion compared to $7.2 billion in the first quarter of 2008, a 4.2% increase. On a year over year basis, however, net cash flow declined, interestingly, by the same percentage as sales, a 5.8% decrease from $15.6 billion to $14.7 billion.
TIAA-CREF regained the number one position in the sales rankings in the second quarter with an 8.86% new sales market share. TIAA-CREF was followed closely by Metropolitan Life with an 8.63% share of the VA market. ING came in 3rd in the rankings, also with an 8.63% market share and only $200,000 behind Metropolitan. AXA Equitable fell to number 4 with an 8.6% share of the market, and Lincoln National held at 5th place with 7.6% of second quarter VA sales.
The #1 and #2 non-group products in terms of sales in the second quarter were ING GoldenSelect Landmark and John Hancock Venture III, both L-share products distributed through all 3rd party channels, with the strongest sales through independent financial planners and wirehouse firms. Landmark ranked 3rd in both the independent and wirehouse channels, while Venture III took the #1 spot in wirehouse and ranked 5th in independent planner sales. The top 5 products in the wirehouse channel and the 3rd, 4th, and 5th ranked products in the independent planner channel were L-shares; the 1st and 2nd ranked products in the independent planner channel were products with purchase payment bonus features.