Annuities have many benefits — security, flexibility, tax efficiency — but few would argue that simplicity is one of them. A successful sale is also an education process, uniquely tailored to the client. The foundation of all of this, of course, is the language. You may not have been directly asked about dollar cost averaging lately, but that doesn’t mean your clients don’t need to know what it is.
How well can you define some of the terms that are foundational to this product line? Keep reading to test your knowledge.
Source: Insured Retirement Institute
Assumed Investment Return (AIR)
Variable annuity payments increase or decrease based on the net performance (returns after fees and expenses) of the underlying investments in relation to a benchmark assumed investment return. If the total investment return minus expenses exceeds the AIR, the payment increases. If the return minus expenses is less than the AIR, the payment decreases. If the return minus expenses equals the AIR, payments remain the same.
B-Share Variable Annuities
Variable annuity contracts characterized by deferred sales charges, which typically range from 5 percent to 7 percent in the first year, and subsequently decline to zero after five to seven years. B-shares are the most common form of annuity contracts sold.
Bonus Share (X-Share) Variable Annuities
A bonus amount, typically defined in the prospectus as a percentage of purchase payments, is allocated to the annuity accumulation value early in the contract period. This type of annuity typically has higher expenses to pay for the cost of the bonus.
Dollar Cost Averaging
A program for investing a fixed amount of money at set intervals with the goal of purchasing more shares at low values and fewer shares at high values. Variable annuity dollar cost averaging programs involve allocating a certain amount to one investment subaccount, such as a money market fund, and then having portions of that payment periodically transferred to other subaccounts. Dollar cost averaging does not guarantee a profit or prevent a loss in declining markets.
The formula that determines which portion of an annuity payment is considered taxable and which is a tax-free return of principal. For variable annuities, this formula is similar; however, due to the fluctuating nature of variable payouts, this is recalculated annually and is reported as an exclusion amount.
I-Share Variable Annuity
Also known as fee-based variable annuities in which an investor pays one fee to have the portfolio managed by an investment advisor. I-shares do not offer a sales commission to the advisor. However, the advisor assesses fees for the services, including the I-share contract, which is agreed upon by the client.