Variable funds

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.

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Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jun 11, 2007

After reviewing variable fund filings from the month of May we found, as usual, interesting new registrations plus numerous changes and adjustments to fees and expenses, sub-advisors and other matters. Of particular note were some developments related to funds-of-funds (F-of-Fs) which we think may hold some long-term importance...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 14, 2007

During April we didn’t identify a great many new variable fund registrations, rather most SEC filings over the month consisted of routine annual prospectus updates, many of which reiterated, or made official, changes or adjustments filed earlier…


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 16, 2007

If there’s any one trend in variable annuity design we see building momentum, it’s that of insurers offering contracts with lower-than-average costs, usually combined with a relatively modest number of sub-accounts and optional benefits. Since last year we’ve been reporting on such products coming out and lately we’re seeing even more...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 09, 2007

Maybe we’ve said this all too often, but a pervasive theme in variable funds of late has been that of asset allocation, and in March this held true again, as there were a number of new registrations of portfolios that spread their investing among baskets of underlying options, whether they be target strategies or Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). And


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 26, 2007

With this commentary we’ll follow up on our previous report by reflecting on some important themes in the variable annuity industry and how they are intimately connected to the products, features and funds being marketed these days. We’ll also suggest how these issues might play out in the future...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 12, 2007

February is a month where there’s often an increase in the number of variable fund filings as companies prepare changes for the May prospectus update season. This year was no exception as we saw numerous brand-new offerings and plenty of mergers, sub-advisory replacements and other sorts of shifting going on...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Feb 12, 2007

Over the first month of the New Year we identified 13 new variable fund registrations, a fairly modest number, while most of the filing activity in insurance product investment options centered around the trimming of fund platforms – a pattern that’s taken shape over the past several months – and we noticed some interesting adjustments being made t


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 22, 2007

Variable fund filings from December reflected the current emphasis in our business on asset allocation in its various forms, whether through investing in baskets of conventional mutual funds, or newer ideas like Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) or target maturity strategies. And, just as we’ve seen in the previous months, there were quite a few move


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 01, 2007

In getting started with the New Year, we’ll comment on a growing tendency for insurers to trim the number of sub-account options and features on their variable annuities in order to make them simpler for advisors to sell and investors to understand – not to mention easier to hedge against market risk. In this report we’ll look at some recently-fi


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 18, 2006

As the holiday season is now upon us, in our last commentary of the year we’ll take the opportunity to quickly consider how things went for the variable annuity business in 2006, using currently-available data, and suggest some lessons and implications for the future. Once full-year sales are posted we’ll revisit these thoughts and discuss the yea


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 11, 2006

We continue to see variable insurers add funds with sophisticated quantitative and non-correlative investment methods, and one of these cropped up in November, however during that month most activity centered on tweaking and consolidating investment platforms, with a few cases of fund fees being changed...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Nov 20, 2006

Over the month of October, we identified 46 new variable funds registered, and these reflected the current popular interest in hedging and shorting strategies, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), and the use of mathematical modeling in devising investment objectives. There were a good number of portfolio changes, and in this commentary we’ll review them


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 09, 2006

Of the new variable funds registered in September quite a few were illustrative of the current interest in protective or non-correlative investment styles, long/short strategies or sectors like natural resources or commodities. And yet more funds-of-funds were introduced, including some investing in Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). The rate of cha


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Sep 18, 2006

Over the month of August we saw a pickup in the rate of new variable insurance fund registrations, with eight coming out. In addition there were many adjustments done to fund platforms – albeit in different forms than we’ve seen earlier – and in this commentary we’ll catalogue many of them and suggest some emerging trends and themes...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Aug 21, 2006

In composing our usual roundup of variable fund filings from the previous month, we did not see a great many new registrations in July. We identified just two, but they were fairly notable: one was a fund-of-funds that uses technical models to rotate among baskets of Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs); the other a new global bond portfolio...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 10, 2006

We identified 14 new variable insurance funds filed in the month of June, a fairly good number. In addition, activity was fairly energetic around sub-advisory and name changes, mergers, closings and other modifications, covering a wide range of investment styles. We’ll endeavor to comment on as many of these as possible in this commentary...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jun 26, 2006

Insurers have long offered various types of asset allocation and rebalancing services to their variable contract holders, to help them diversify and manage the risk associated with their sub-accounts. In fact, the performance of models and funds-of-funds can play a role in the marketing of products, with companies making any favorable comparisons


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jun 12, 2006

In the month of May we found just two new variable insurance portfolios filed, although we saw quite a few name changes, adjustments and new share classes which we’ll mention in our monthly look at things that are happening in variable insurance underlying investments...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 15, 2006

We identified just three new variable insurance funds registered with the SEC in the month of April, the reduced activity probably because most new investment options had already been filed earlier, well in advance of the May update season. There were plenty of fund changes and adjustments during the month, however...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 10, 2006

Over the first few months of the year we’ve been noticing rather specialized variable insurance funds coming out, some “non-correlative” with the market – in that they may take an inverse position against an index – others that include hedge fund-like strategies such as short-selling or the use of derivatives...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 13, 2006

In the new variable funds filed in February we noticed some general trends continuing, among them the offering of new types of funds-of-funds (F-of-Fs), which to us is not surprising given their frequent use in connection with living benefit features. We also saw more international and emerging markets funds being registered, reflecting the incre


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Feb 27, 2006

The batch of new variable funds registered with the SEC in January was marked by types that emphasize diversification and risk management, just as we’ve been seeing lately. We continue to see filings of funds-of-funds of various types, alternative strategies and international or global funds...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 17, 2006

This commentary is the first in a regular series where we’ll look back at variable insurance funds filed with the SEC over the previous month. In these articles we will review as many new offerings as we can and endeavor to identify dominant trends in investment options, fees and expenses...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 19, 2005

One of the more significant developments in variable insurance over the past few years has been the emergence of various kinds of funds-of-funds as dominant in terms of gathering net new flows…


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