Great-West Financial® broadens suite of fee-based variable annuity offerings
Firm leverages decades of experience to offer retirement income options that fit into fee-based platforms
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colorado., February 22, 2017 — Great-West Financial is expanding its line-up of fee-based variable annuity solutions through the company’s growing distribution channels.
Earlier this year, Great-West Financial launched Great-West Smart Track® Advisor Variable Annuity, which is designed to help financial advisors provide their clients with a retirement income solution that offers a unique fee-based compensation structure.
The company also will offer three riders in fee-based models, Great-West Secure Income Foundation GLWB Rider, Great-West Secure Income Plus GLWB Rider and Great-West Secure Income Max GLWB Rider to offer greater enhancements to the new Smart Track Advisor offering.
Great-West Financial, which added 50 new distribution partners in 2016, currently offers fee-based products through distribution partners Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade.
“Great-West Financial has been providing highly successful fee-based products since 1995 and can offer over two decades of experience to the financial advisors interested in using this strategy with their clients,” said Bob Shaw, President of Individual Markets at Great-West Financial.
Shaw noted that year-over-year sales growth in the company’s third-party annuity business served as an indicator that Great-West Financial’s strategy is exceeding market needs. For example, he said, the commission-based Great-West Smart Track® II – 5 Year Variable Annuity, has seen impressive uptake as it offers more income at lower cost1 while providing better protection2 to investors’ long-term financial needs compared to competitors’ products.
For decades, annuities have been a successful solution for managing the risk that clients may outlive their retirement savings by offering an optional guaranteed lifetime income benefit.
"Smart Track Advisor complements the other strategies already available. Our variable annuity suite now provides numerous opportunities for advisors to help their clients create a retirement income stream that’s in line with individual financial goals,” said Mike McCarthy, senior vice president for national sales.
“The proposed Department of Labor fiduciary regulation has inspired insurance companies to go back to the drawing board on fee-based variable annuities to make them more competitive with commission-based products and Great-West Financial has demonstrated leadership and vast experience in this area,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy noted that Smart Track Advisor is well-aligned with Great-West Smart Track® II – 5 Year, offering an optional return-of-premium death benefit and three living benefit options.
Smart Track Advisor3 is a low-cost dual-strategy variable annuity and is designed to provide clients with the following benefits:
- Unique Investment Strategy with more than 90 subaccounts
- Withdrawal rates as high as 6% at age 65 for life4
- Single and joint riders for the same cost5
- Ability to choose single or joint when income starts — not at point of sale
- Multiple ways to increase income after withdrawals start — including age band income resets6
- No managed volatility requirement associated with living benefits
In addition, Smart Track Advisor was created with benefits that are unique to fee-based solutions and uncommon in the current variable annuity market:
- Advisors can choose to bill for the advisory fee separately or have the fee (up to 1.50%) deducted from the annuity contract without disrupting any guarantees
- The guaranteed living and death benefits offered are aligned with those on Great-West Financial’s B-share product
- Advisors can choose the best share class and fee structure that meets the unique needs of each client
Investors choosing Smart Track Advisor only pay for the living benefit guarantee on the amount they allocate to the protected sleeve, so the annuity can be customized to their needs. Smart Track Advisor offers competitive withdrawal rates — up to 6 percent at age 65, 6.5 percent at age 70 and 7.5 percent at age 803 with the opportunity to increase income three ways during retirement: through additional premium, potential annual step-ups and age-band resets.6
About Great-West Financial
Established nearly 125 years ago, Great-West Financial’s offerings range from investments, life insurance, annuities and executive benefits products marketed under the Great-West Financial brand to retirement savings products and services provided by Empower Retirement, the nation’s second-largest retirement plan record keeper by participants.7
The company manages a total of $469.5 billion in assets for more than 8.5 million retirement, insurance and annuity customers.8
Stephen Gawlik | Office: 303-737-0899 | Cell: 617-417-4408
1Compared to other variable annuities with Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefits (GLWBs). Source: IRI Annuity Fact Book, "Fees Associated with GLWB and GMIB," April 2013
2Guarantee is subject to the claims-paying ability of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company or, in New York, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York. More income refers to the Great-West Secure Income Max GLWB rider and its 1% distribution rate increase if the client waits 5 years to begin taking lifetime withdrawals for an additional fee of 1.20%. Lower costs refers to the dual strategy structure of Great-West Smart Track variable annuities allowing clients to only pay a rider fee on assets allocated to the Income Strategy. Better protection refers to clients having the ability to choose single or joint distributions when they begin receiving lifetime income payments and not at the point of sale. See prospectus for full details.
3Variable annuities are long-term investments and may not be suitable for all investors. Earnings are taxable as ordinary income when distributed and may be subject to a 10% additional tax if withdrawn before age 59 ½. A withdrawal charge may also apply. Interstate Compact contract form numbers ICC16-J100 Series (Individual Flexible Premium Variable Annuity), ICC16-AM-SIF, ICC16-AM-SIP, ICC16-AM-SIM (Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit Riders are issued by GWL&A. GWL&A is not licensed to do business in New York. In New York, contract form numbers J100ny (Individual Flexible Premium Variable Annuities) SIF-AMny, SIP-AMny, SIM-AMny (Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit Riders) are issued by GWL&A of NY. Contracts may not be available in all states.
4Withdrawal rate of 6% at age 65 assume the owner elects the Great-West Secure Income Max GLWB rider and receives the Distribution Credit. The Distribution Credit for the Great-West Secure Income Max GLWB Rider is 1% for contributions aged at least five years. The applicable withdrawal percentages are disclosed in the Rate Sheet Supplement in effect at the time the contract is purchased.
5If joint withdrawals are elected, the joint distribution percentage will be based on the younger person's age. The applicable withdrawal percentages are disclosed in the Rate Sheet Supplement in effect at the time the contract is purchased.
6Applies to Great-West Secure Income Foundation, Great-West Secure Income Plus and Great-West Secure Income Max GLWB riders. Additional GLWB riders may be available in the Smart Track II – 5 Year Variable Annuity. Please see the prospectus for full details.
7Pensions & Investments April, 2016
8As of September 30, 2016. Information refers to the entire retirement business of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, including Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York (GWL&A of NY). Of the total $469.5B, $9.6B represents AUA of GWL&A of NY. AUA does not reflect the financial stability or strength of a company. As of September 30, 2016, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company’s assets total $62B and liabilities of $59B. As of the same date, GWL&A of NY’s assets total $2.0B and liabilities of $1.9B. Total participant accounts on this recordkeeping system, as of Sept. 30, 2016, are 8,031,602.