Transamerica launched a new fee-based variable annuity that aims to offer investors and their advisors additional flexibility in planning for retirement.

Transamerica’s Variable Annuity I-Share is available through broker-dealer managed money platforms and charges an annualized fee based on a percentage of the investor’s assets, with no commission charge upon purchase and no surrender charge.

According to a recent Cerulli report, interest in I-share (fee-based) variable annuity products has been “slowly growing” within the industry over the past few years, as most insurers and distributors believes they’ll be needed to comply with the Department of Labor fiduciary rule.

“The investment landscape is changing, and we see that investors and their advisors want more options when choosing how they invest,” Joe Boan, senior vice president with Transamerica, said in a statement. “Transamerica has been helping fee-based advisors and their clients with variable annuities for more than 20 years. The Transamerica Variable Annuity I-Share is intended to help fee-based advisors better serve clients who are planning for retirement income.”

Variable annuities are retirement investments that offer tax-deferred treatment of earnings on the investments. The investor can choose lifetime payout options, death benefit options, and additional death distributions when purchasing a variable annuity.

Annuities have recently come under scrutiny after the passing of the DOL’s fiduciary rule, causing sales to drop.

The Insured Retirement Institute found that industrywide annuity sales in the third quarter of 2016 dropped 12.3% from a year ago, and a report from Cerulli Associates estimated that sales would continue to drop as a direct result of the fiduciary rule.

According to Cerulli, U.S. variable annuity and fixed indexed annuity sales are expected to decline by at least 10% through 2018 as the industry struggles to adapt to regulations put forth by the Department of Labor.

USA Financial Adds Wealth Management Platform

USA Financial announced the launch of its newest platform – USA Financial Exchange.

USA Financial Exchange is a turnkey asset management program (TAMP) for investment advisor representatives of corporate RIAs, hybrid RIAs and stand-alone RIA firms. The TAMP makes dozens of strategies managed by a host of institutional managers available to advisors through a unified management account.

Through USA Financial Exchange, an investor who wishes to employ the strategies of a variety of different money managers can open one account through the TAMP and multiple investment strategies are executed within one account. This reduces paperwork and eliminates the need for different accounts and different custodial platforms.

The new platform does not have a minimum investment amount and has strategies available that will manage as little as $1,000. Victory Capital Expands ETF Business With Enhanced Platform 

Victory Capital announced the next generation of its ETF platform, which is branded VictoryShares.

VictoryShares builds on the firm’s Victory CEMP volatility weighted ETFs, which have grown to approximately $960 million in AUM. In addition to its 11 existing ETFs, Victory plans to launch new ETFs that will track indexes developed in partnership with Nasdaq.

On Wednesday, Victory filed initial registration statements for the new ETFs with the Securities and Exchange Commission with the expectation that the ETFs will begin to launch in Q2 2017.

On Friday, the names of the existing 11 Victory CEMP ETFs were changed effective to reflect the VictoryShares branding. Their tickers and CUSIP numbers will not change, and there is no change to the underlying CEMP indexes or corresponding methodologies.

Lazard Asset Management Launches Real Assets Fund

Lazard Asset Management launched a new portfolio based on its existing Real Assets strategy.

The Lazard Real Assets and Pricing Opportunities Portfolio aims to provide a multifaceted defense against different inflationary forces while seeking to generate current income and capital appreciation.

The fund invests in liquid real assets, including real estate investment trusts (REITs), listed infrastructure companies, commodity futures, companies affected by commodity prices and broader inflation trends, and global inflation-linked bonds.

— Read last week’s roundup here: Vanguard Opens Behavioral Research Center: Top Portfolio Products