Pensions

Soleares Research, LLC is a market research and consulting firm servicing the annuity and life insurance businesses. We provide, through our website, periodic articles that cover important industry trends; we also offer clients phone or on-site consultations, executive briefings and presentations. We pride ourselves on first-class customer service and responsiveness to our clients. We aim to be an indispensable resource to the marketplace.

List of Articles


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Sep 24, 2012

A dilemma for insurers working in the variable annuity space these days is how to offer guarantees without taking on undue amounts of risk. To our minds this consideration is a priority for the industry, and in this commentary we’ll give our thoughts on where product manufacturing should be moving...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Sep 10, 2012

For the most part, variable annuity insurers are moving away from selling risky benefits, but we think that the process of de-risking will take time, because industry sales are still largely driven by the richest riders. In the meantime, we’ve seen evidence that a few newer product concepts, with much more modest guarantees, are gaining acceptance


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Aug 20, 2012

At different points in the past we have combed through quarterly financials of stock-traded insurers for data related to variable annuity guarantees, in an effort to gain insight on how such benefits might be impacting insurers. We have just compiled second quarter data and found that, as we expected, for most companies account values fell and net


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 09, 2012

It’s our sense that, unless there is a dramatic (and sustained) rebound in the financial markets near term, most variable annuity insurers will be in de-risking mode. For that reason we expect more of the occurrences we’ve become accustomed to of late: temporary fire sales, big moves up and down the sales leader board, and possibly even some compl


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 21, 2010

Sometimes it takes an annuity insurer several attempts to get a new product up and running, especially if it is a first for the industry. Such has been the case with a long-term care benefit that Lincoln National has had in the works for awhile, and, by the looks of things, may debut this year...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Feb 22, 2010

After reviewing fourth quarter variable annuity results of stock-traded companies we regularly monitor, we found a familiar mixed result – a few insurers did well while most others saw deposits decline – reflecting how the industry has looked the past few quarters...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 28, 2009

It’s become our custom to dedicate our last commentary each year to looking back at how the variable annuity business performed, to get the evaluation process started before fourth quarter data are released. Thus in this report we’ll discuss important industry issues and events from 2009, consider which companies did well and which didn’t (and sug


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 07, 2008

As more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, financial services firms will be competing over who will manage the trillions of dollars these folks have socked away in their defined contribution (DC) plans. We anticipate a spirited scramble for assets in the years ahead and insurers will position annuities as one of the best deals available...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 24, 2007

In this report, our last of the year, we’ll conclude our two-part commentary summarizing key forces influencing the sale of variable annuities in 2007 – our main three being “features, shelf space and scale” – and give you some topics to watch for in the coming year...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 23, 2007

In this commentary we’re going to quickly give our perspective on news and developments related to variable annuities and defined contribution (DC) plans, especially 401(k)s, since many insurers perceive these programs to be a possible source of future sales growth...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 02, 2007

There’s little doubt that success in the variable annuity marketplace over the years has been largely dictated by product and distribution strength, competition depending on what’s currently in favor, whether it be the latest VA chassis, living or death benefit, underlying fund type or what have you. But recently insurers have become concerned ab


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 02, 2006

In our last report we discussed how insurers are building fee reductions into their variable annuities, which we think is good for the industry in that it may help counter some negative perceptions. This week, we’re following up on recent media coverage on the pricing front, and we’ll touch on some other hot-button issues as well...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Aug 28, 2006

In our opinion, the new Pension Protection Act of 2006 does much to encourage Americans to save for retirement and contains provisions to make annuities more attractive both within Defined Contribution (DC) plans and in non-qualified settings. Since some portions do not take effect for a few years, the ramifications of the legislation will be lon


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 03, 2006

The sale of annuities in qualified plans has been a controversial subject over the years and the target of a number of law suits alleging that the practice is inappropriate. Lately there have been some new developments on this front that should give insurers pause, although some industry leaders still feel quite optimistic about the continued use