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: Feb 25, 2008

Product creation in variable insurance funds these days is greatly influenced by the need for insurers to have their sub-accounts like up with the risk management programs backing up their living benefit guarantees, thus we’re seeing an a abundance of specialized fund of fund (F-of-F) strategies being rolled out, as well as portfolios that either t


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 21, 2008

We conducted our regular monitoring of variable fund-related filings to wrap up the last month of 2007 and found evidence of investment trends we’ve been seeing in the industry. New funds-of-funds (F-of-Fs) of different types were in abundance, as they have been of late, and there were the usual run of platform adjustments and changes...


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

Compared to the bull market years, the role that underlying sub-accounts play in the sale of variable insurance products has certainly been diminished, however, a storyline that holds much interest for us is how money is pouring into variable funds-of-funds (F-of-Fs) of different varieties, and we expect this trend to continue for quite awhile...


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: Dec 10, 2007

In November, variable insurance fund filing activity with the SEC was pretty vigorous, and we identified 13 new registrations, notable among them some funds-of-funds (F-of-Fs) and several portfolios with a global or emerging markets focus. In this report we’ll offer our regular monthly observations on the new funds and what we thought was signif


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 03, 2007

In the interest of remaining on top of what’s happening with variable annuity contracts, and given the fact that we haven’t touched on them for several months, this week we’ll give our observations on chassis design trends based on our monitoring of new registrations filed with the SEC this year...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Nov 19, 2007

After conducting our usual compilation and review of variable fund-related filings, for October we identified 12 new registrations, most of them funds-of-funds (F-of-Fs), and in this report we’ll review them and also comment on interesting changes and adjustments we saw during the month...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 08, 2007

Ever since we started publishing our weekly commentaries we’ve been noting how the variable insurance business has steadily been offering more sophisticated underlying investments, and in September there were a few developments related to this topic. We’ll mention them in this report and also provide our regular coverage of what was new and intere


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Sep 10, 2007

For the month August, we conducted our regular “rummage” through SEC filings related to variable insurance funds and found a large and diverse group of documents, many of them centering on mergers and consolidations, sub-advisory replacements and other adjustments. In particular we think we uncovered a larger than usual number of fee-related chan


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Aug 20, 2007

Just as was the case last year, this July there weren’t many new variable funds registered – this time there were only three target maturity funds-of-funds (F-of-Fs) – but there were still plenty of adjustments to fund platforms. In this report we made a special effort to highlight instances where fund fees were changed for any reason, since we kn


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 16, 2007

It’s time once again to perform our regular task of identifying notable variable insurance fund filings from the previous month, and we must say that June had some interesting developments, including seven new registrations, a large number of fund platform consolidations and some merger and acquisition activity...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jun 18, 2007

Since the topic has been on the minds of our contacts and colleagues, in this report we’re going explore the topic of variable annuity net flows, a measurement somewhat controversial when introduced to the industry several years ago, and which at times has proven difficult to apply to the complexities of insurance products...


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


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