What You Need to Know
- Gray started out at Allianz Life as an intern.
- He sees global issues adding to the retirement savings gap.
- In his free time, one of the high points is high points.
He hopes to help close the gap between what people have and what they’ll need.
Matt Gray runs a major effort to add guaranteed lifetime income features to 401(k) plans and other defined contribution retirement plans.
He’s hoping the new lifetime income push will improve retirement security for hundreds of thousands of people.
Gray is the assistant vice president for worksite and middle markets at Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America. Allianz Life is one of the biggest individual annuity issuers in the United States, and he now leads the company’s expansion into employer markets.
He has a bachelor’s degree in math from the University of Minnesota. He is both a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
He started out as an intern at Allianz Life and has been with the company ever since.
We asked Gray a set of questions about his professional knowledge and what he does off the clock.
1. What market indicator, industry statistic, regulatory change or advisor trend are you watching most closely right now and why?
At a high level, we look at the retirement savings gap or the shortfall between how much people have saved for retirement and how much they will actually need.
The gap in the U.S. was an estimated $28 trillion in 2015 and is projected to surpass $100 trillion in the next 30 years, according to the World Economic Forum. That increasing gap is a huge problem.
At Allianz Life, we want to address it in a material way, and, as a leading provider of guaranteed lifetime income solutions, such as annuities, we can actually do something about it.
2. How has it been changing recently and how do you expect it to change?
Global issues like the pandemic have exacerbated the retirement savings gap.
For many people, saving for retirement has taken a back seat to meeting basic expenses.
New legislation such as the Secure Act 2.0 and the LIFE Act along with advancements in technology, education, and emerging products and services will hopefully help slow or reverse the trend.
At Allianz Life, we recently introduced a guaranteed lifetime income solution designed specifically for defined contribution plans. Our analysis shows that a solution like this can help plan participants significantly narrow their personal retirement savings gap.
I think all of this together can have a big impact.
3. What would you suggest advisors do now or consider doing in the future about it?
Advisors should continue to listen closely to their plan sponsor clients and plan participants.
Recent research by Allianz Life found that 73% of employer-sponsored participants would consider an option that offers guaranteed income for life in their plan, if available.
We also found that more than 8 in 10 employers that do not offer in-plan guaranteed lifetime income options are at least somewhat likely to offer this option within the next two years — 30% said they are very likely to offer it.
Other industry studies have shown similar preferences.
Given this, advisors need to ask their plan administrator partners to make them available.
4. Who or what critical source of information do you track, or follow online, to keep up with this or other trends?
We have an in-house research team here at Allianz Life and they do primary research.
We also look at studies from our affiliated companies and our peers, support the efforts of industry groups like the Alliance For Lifetime Income and analyze data from other sources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Employee Benefits Research Institute.