Earlier this week I planned on doing a Black Friday blog post, so here I am at my desk dashing it off, referring to notes I scribbled down in various places, such as my business journal.
I hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving. I won’t make this very long; I just wanted to make sure I got an entry in this month because I had made a resolution to blog more often, but fell short of that goal in October.
My plan through the rest of this year – what is left of it – is to publish around six more issues of The Soleares Report and, unlike in years past, I will probably do one the week of Christmas. If I need to post on the weekends I will. Some of the upcoming reports will be on topics that I have not covered before, such as a relatively new SEC filing that contains data that is revealing, to say the least, so stay tuned.
In addition, I intend to post four more pieces of Featured Research on the Soleares site. Among those will be a list of notable variable annuity product changes that have occurred so far this year (I should post that tonight or tomorrow at the latest), and another covering VA benefit buyout and exchange offers. I will also have a Q3 update to the managed-volatility portfolio tracking sheet.
As for the variable annuity business, we’re in an interesting time, are we not? It seems that lower interest rates made the VA look better than fixed and indexed annuities during Q3. However, VA sales are still on pace to finish either flat or down modestly, about where LIMRA had forecast they would. Despite their drop in Q3, FIA sales will possibly hit another annual record.
So, things are not so bad. Moving forward, low rates will be problematic, even for VAs. I think the Fed will eventually reverse course and tighten again. Perhaps it will once the election is behind us – provided the economy remains healthy. We shall see...