More than half of financial advisors believe that annuities are an important part of a retirement plan, but nine out of ten find it difficult to address client needs using a “one-size-fits-all” approach with a single type of annuity.
Of these advisors, almost all (96.4%) said they would likely increase their use of annuities if they had access to a multi-product platform and distribution partners who could help select the best strategies based on client objectives.
These are some of the major findings of a Global Atlantic Financial Group study of 400 financial advisors offering portfolio investment and retirement advice to their clients.
When asked about the benefits of a multi-product annuity platform, the majority of advisors said it allows for customizable retirement planning based on client need and lifestyle, and half (51%) noted the simplicity of a single point of contact for multiple product offerings.
“In this volatile investing environment and with a new era of regulation as a backdrop, advisors need to show clients that they have a full set of solutions at their disposal to meet income planning and retirement savings needs,” said Paula Nelson, President, Retirement at Global Atlantic Financial Group.
The survey also revealed the need for more advisor resources and investor education. While three-quarters of advisors (76%) believe they have a strong understanding of annuities, nearly two-thirds (62%) say their clients do not have a very strong understanding of the product.
“Advisors recognize that they need to offer choices on how to solve their client’s challenges and goals solutions to stay competitive,” noted Nelson. “But in order to be effective, they need partners that are not only offering a robust line-up of products, but also providing education, guidance, and consultation when needed.”
When asked how they educate their clients, most advisors (62%) said they spend time to explain product features and answer questions. About half (53%) use written materials supplied by partners or their company.
When asked what would help them better utilize annuities among clients, half (50%) said better guidance and education from distribution partners on the differences between products, and nearly half (46%) would like the ability to withdraw from the annuity’s value for emergencies. Less than one-third (31%) cited a desire for fee-based rather than commission-based annuities.
The 2018 Global Atlantic Financial Advisor Survey was completed online by Echo Research in March 2018, among 400 financial advisors who offer portfolio investment and retirement advice that includes annuities. The surveyed financial advisors work at full-service brokerages, wire houses, banks, registered investment advisors, and independent and regional broker-dealers.