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Demographics are key: Who’s Most Likely to Be Receptive to the FIA Message

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Fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) are a great investment option for many people, especially those who are nearing or concerned about their retirement and who are looking to ensure that they have sufficient finances to support their lifestyle.

Recent research from the Insured Retirement Institute, 2015 Fixed Indexed Annuity Distribution Trends, reveals that consumer interest is high across the board for fixed indexed annuities. “While they are not very likely to ask about [FIAs], almost 40% of distributors believe their customers are completely open to using them in their portfolios,” says the report. According to the IRI survey results, approximately 70 percent of consumers from all demographic groups are at least somewhat receptive to purchasing FIA products, with nearly half (47%) either very receptive or extremely receptive about using them as part of their portfolios.

Brokers who are familiar with the various benefits of this unique annuity type can communicate the details to their clients. But, it turns out that there are specific demographic groups most receptive to hearing the FIA message.

For a recent fixed indexed annuity study sponsored by Athene and done in conjunction with LifeHealthPro, research firm Beacon Technology Partners surveyed 543 brokers who sold at least one annuity product to a client within the previous 12 months, and who worked as an investment or insurance professional for a minimum of one year. The survey found that there are three product FIA selling points – the potential for earnings, high participation rates and guaranteed minimum interest rates. In addition, study participants say that they expect sales of FIAs this year to increase either substantially or somewhat over last year’s levels.

Client age is clearly a strong factor in FIA sales. Survey results reveal that FIAs are a popular topic for clients who have reached age 50, with more than three-fourths (78%) of survey participants indicating that they discuss FIAs with this group. In addition, 82 percent of respondents say that they broach the subject with individuals in their 60s, and 70 percent say they discuss FIAs with their clients who are 70 years old or older.

While Baby Boomers are the most receptive to conversations concerning FIAs, it’s worthwhile to broach the subject with Generation X clients – those who were born roughly between 1965 and 1980, and who are nearing or reaching their 50s.

The Athene study revealed that more than half of brokers (53%) discuss FIAs with clients in their 40s. This group is ripe for the conversation. While their retirement needs may not be as imminent as their slightly-elders, this generation has its own formidable challenges. “Members of Generation X face the daunting task of planning for a retirement that will likely include no pension, a potential Social Security haircut, stagnant wages and high education costs for them and their children,” according to a article. And while this group isn’t nearly as large as the Baby Boomers, Generation X is no small market, with 46 million members.

Gen Y and Millennials should also be made aware of FIAs due to their generation-specific issues. While only 14 percent of brokers bring up FIAs with clients in their 20s and only one-fourth include FIAs in conversations with those in their 30s, individuals who were born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. According to recent data from the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council (IALC), a significant 37 percent of millennials say they have no money at all saved for retirement, and 24 percent of millennials say they owe more money than they’ve been able to save. The good news is that more than half – 52 % of millennials – more than any other age group – report an interest in FIAs.

Broker-dealers also are finding that they are talking more to clients who fit into specific wealth brackets than others. A large percentage of survey participants reported that they occasionally or more often discuss FIAs with clients who fall in the mass affluent range. About three-fourths of surveyed brokers reported that they occasionally or most often talk about FIAs with clients with a net worth of between $100,000 and $999,999. In contrast, 41 percent of brokers speak about FIAs often or occasionally with those with less total net worth. Client-broker conversations about FIAs are taking place occasionally or often when the client is more affluent as well. The Athene survey ascertained that nearly seven in 10 brokers were discussing FIAs with clients that have total net worth in excess of $1 million.


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