WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, NAVA, the Association for Insured Retirement Strategies, announced a complete rebranding, immediately becoming the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI). Along with the name change is a new mission, new location and new staff focused on ensuring the insured retirement strategies industry thrives in the future, while protecting the consumers who invest in guaranteed income products like annuities.
“This is a critical moment in our industry that requires a new, reinvigorated approach,” said Cathy Weatherford, CEO and president of IRI. “IRI will be a trusted resource for consumers looking for guaranteed income in an economy and times where there is little certainty. We will provide consumers with the knowledge and confidence in retirement planning that can no longer be taken for granted.”
IRI’s new mission is to:
? Encourage industry adherence to the highest ethical principles;
? Promote better understanding of the insured retirement value proposition;
? Develop and promote best practice standards to improve value delivery; and
? Advocate before public policy makers on issues affecting insured retirement strategies.
“IRI’s new mission and energy will help to instill confidence in insured retirement strategies by advocating for the consumer and ensuring the highest ethical standards are met by our industry,” said Mark Casady, chairman and CEO of LPL Financial and IRI Chair, Board of Directors. “Becoming IRI is about more than just rebranding – IRI represents a new direction, not only for our association, but also for the entire insured retirement industry and the consumers who rely on our strategies. It’s a change we expect will have an immediate and lasting impact for IRI members, financial advisors and their clients.”
“The success of insured retirement strategies depends on advisors being well-educated and well-informed on the latest developments in order to confidently recommend these products,” said James A. Shepherdson, executive vice president of AXA Equitable and incoming IRI Chair. “That’s why IRI is bringing advisors into the fold – to give them access to as much valuable information as possible to make those recommendations.”
IRI says it will focus on the best interest of the consumer and improved productivity of the industry based on enhanced consumer confidence in the value they receive from insured retirement planning by becoming the authoritative source of all things pertaining to annuities, insured retirement products and retirement planning. The consumer will become a new focal point for intelligence gathering and financial advisors will be brought into membership to provide them with greater information, tools and training.
IRI says it will be the first-choice source for distributors and financial advisors who handle insured retirement strategies and that population will grow as a result of IRI’s education programs and outreach on insured retirement products and consumer need.
IRI has also created a new Web site – www.IRIonline.org – that captures the needs of the investing community and provides relevant content and tools on retirement investing. The new site offers IRI members, financial advisors and consumers a central resource for the latest news and innovative tools for insured retirement planning.
IRI – previously based in Reston, Va. as NAVA – is now headquartered in downtown Washington, D.C. at 1331 L Street, NW, suite 310, 20005. Please visit www.IRIonline.org for a complete list of staff.
What other Industry Leaders are Saying about IRI:
Merry Mosbacher, Principal, Insurance Marketing for Edward Jones: “By transitioning the organization from a single product-based focus to a consumer-need focus, IRI will be able to better position annuities as a potential solution to a client’s retirement income needs. Its educational outreach programs and Web site have been expanded and should reach more financial advisors and consumers, helping to raise the awareness of all of the guaranteed retirement income options that are available today.”
Clifford Jack, Chief Distribution Officer of Jackson National Life Insurance Company: “At this point in the economic cycle, the strategic evolution of IRI is what’s needed in order to improve awareness of and education for the value proposition of insured retirement solutions. By working to meet the needs of its members – as well as advisers, individual investors and the regulatory community – the IRI will not only serve a critical role in the development of our industry, but will also help to enhance the retirement security of millions of Americans.”
Frank Zafran, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and IRI Board member: “Economic uncertainty is disconcerting for all investors — particularly so for those saving for retirement. There’s no doubt that we are experiencing an unprecedented crisis, the extent of which no one could have foreseen. This association recognized the need to evolve and move in a new direction. Our new agenda is an ambitious one – one that will bring together the interests of the industry to help our clients do all they can do to maximize their retirement savings.”
Richard “Mac” Hisey, President of AARP Financial Inc.: “The economic downturn has demonstrated that there are only a handful of truly guaranteed retirement income options. Americans nearing and planning for retirement are looking for sound investment opportunities to help provide a lifetime income stream. We’re pleased the Insured Retirement Institute is placing a renewed focus on strategies for a financially secure retirement.”
Richard Ketchum, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) CEO: “The Insured Retirement Institute’s work has taken renewed importance amid the volatility throughout the financial markets and the U.S. economy, since this volatility coincides also with waves of baby boomers starting to move into retirement. IRI’s initiatives to promote education and understanding of the annuities industry’s many products and services are needed more than ever. In addition, IRI’s commitment to ensure the highest ethical standards throughout the industry is invaluable at a time of depressed investor confidence. There are a lot of investors with questions about retirement security, and this organization, and its members, can play a valuable role in helping investors to make informed decisions. Given FINRA’s focus on investor protection, we look forward to working with the newly rebranded association to complement IRI’s investor education efforts.”