Equitable Enhances Leading Buffered Annuities as Financial Protection Takes Center Stage in Current Market Environment
October 31, 2022 by Equitable
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Equitable, a leading financial services organization and principal franchise of Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EQH), today announced updates to two of its market-leading registered index linked annuity (RILA) products. These updates are designed to help financial professionals and their clients manage volatile equity markets and generate lifelong income amid rising inflation and interest rates.
Equitable’s Structured Capital Strategies® Income (SCS Income), launched in November 2021, increased certain income rates credited under the income option by 25 bps. SCS Income is a RILA that combines some protection from equity market volatility while allowing investors to take advantage of equity market growth potential up to a cap, with a predictable stream of income in retirement — a significant advantage at a time when equity markets have declined by 20%i, and inflation has reached highs not seen since 1982.ii
In addition, both commission and fee-based versions of Equitable’s Structured Capital Strategies® PLUS (SCS PLUS) RILA are also now available in New York, extending its availability to a greater number of financial professionals and their clients.
“Clients are experiencing the perfect storm — a volatile equity market, inflation higher than we’ve seen in four decades, rising interest rates, and fixed income markets that are not providing the investment diversification they once did,” said Steve Scanlon, Head of Individual Retirement, Equitable. “As a result, the traditional 60/40 stock and bond portfolio has rightfully come into question. We believe that an annuity used as an asset class in a portfolio can help mitigate these challenges by providing for income, growth opportunities and the ability to address some equity market risk. The result of adopting these updated annuity-based products can be a more diversified and resilient portfolio.”
Equitable created Structured Capital Strategies®, the first registered index-linked, or buffered, annuity in 2010.
RILA products such as SCS PLUS can offer clients who are reaching retirement age partial protection from the sequence of return risk associated with a correction or bear market. Recent research shows investors value mitigating risk to their retirement income. In a 2021 study from CANNEX and The Alliance for Lifetime Income, 55% of investors said protected income is important to them.
The opportunity for partial downside protection can also be an ideal portfolio asset for consideration by affluent clients who see the possibility for tax increases on the horizon. Annuities are one type of financial product that can offer tax-deferred accumulation and tax-free movement among subaccounts, and annual contributions are rarely capped. These tax advantages can make the product attractive as a wrapper for investments with high asset turnover, such as REITS and aggressive growth funds.
The latest updates to the Structured Capital Strategies® variable annuity suite follow updates made earlier this year to Equitable’s Investment Edge® investment only variable annuity. Investment Edge updates included the addition of 20 structured investment option segments that provide partial downside protection from equity market losses and upside potential up to a cap — similar to those available in the Structured Capital Strategies® suite of variable annuities — and asset allocation options based on model portfolio strategies for moderate growth and growth risk profiles that give clients access to popular investment choices in a tax-deferred format.
About Structured Capital Strategies®
Through the Structured Capital Strategies® suite of products, clients can participate in one of several mainstream equity market indices up to a cap, with a buffer protecting against the first -10%, -15%, -20% or -30% of potential losses. Clients can choose the equity index on which the performance of their investment is based, such as the S&P 500 Price Return Index, Russell 2000® Price Return Index, iShares® MSCI EAFE ETF or NASDAQ 100 Price Return Index. They can also select the duration of their investment and its level of downside protection based on their goals and risk tolerance.
The Dual Direction feature available in some of the suite’s SCS offerings allows clients to earn a positive return even if the S&P 500 declines. It does this by crediting a return equal to the percentage of the decline up to, or equal to, the amount of the buffer (-10%, -15% or -20%). Positive market returns are credited up to the cap.
Structured Capital Strategies® Income adds two innovative ways to create guaranteed income in retirement, including the ability to start receiving income immediately from a registered index-linked annuity, a level income option which provides an income rate initially based on age at the time of purchase and that does not decrease, and an accelerated income option, which provides a higher rate of income in early retirement when individuals may have higher expenses.
Equitable, a principal franchise of Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EQH) has been one of America’s leading financial services providers since 1859. With the mission to help clients secure their financial well-being, Equitable provides advice, protection and retirement strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. Equitable has more than 8,000 employees and Equitable Advisors financial professionals and serves 2.8 million clients across the country. Reference to the 1859 founding applies specifically and exclusively to Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company.
Registered index-linked annuities (RILA) include a partial protection feature that eliminates a portion of the contract holder’s downside risk, while still giving the contract holder the opportunity to invest for growth up to a cap. Through the partial protection feature, the buffer will absorb the loss up to the buffer selected. However, there is risk of substantial loss of principal because the investor agrees to absorb all losses that exceed the protection provided. An annuity is a long-term financial product designed for retirement purposes. Simply stated, an annuity is a contract between the contract holder and a life insurance company that lets the contract holder pursue the accumulation of assets through equities and other investment options. The contract holder may then take payments or a lump sum amount at a later date. There are fees and charges associated with variable annuities, which contain certain restrictions and limitations and are subject to market risk including loss of principal. All contract and rider guarantee are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing life insurance company. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Equitable Holdings, Inc. subsidiaries do not provide tax, accounting or legal advice or services.
Variable and registered index-linked annuities are offered by prospectus, which contains detailed information about the contract and its charges, risks, expenses, and investment objectives. Prospective contract holders should read the prospectus and consider this information carefully before purchasing a contract or sending money.
This informational article is not intended and should not be construed or relied upon as financial, insurance or investment advice. Equitable is the brand name of the retirement and protection subsidiaries of Equitable Holdings, Inc., including Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (NY, NY), Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company of America, an AZ stock company, NJ, and Equitable Distributors, LLC. “Equitable” is used throughout this release to refer to Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (Equitable Financial) (NY, NY), issuer of the Structured Capital Strategies® and Investment Edge® variable annuities. Effective on or about November 14, 2022, when distributed outside of New York state by Equitable Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI & TN) through Equitable Advisors Financial Professionals (FP) whose business address is not in New York state, or when distributed by Equitable Distributors, LLC through financial professionals of unaffiliated broker/dealers when the solicitation state is not New York, Structured Capital Strategies® Income, Structured Capital Strategies® PLUS, and Investment Edge® variable annuity is issued by Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company of America (Equitable America), an AZ stock company. When offered by Equitable Advisors FPs whose business address is in New York state or when distributed by Equitable Distributors, LLC through financial professionals of unaffiliated broker/dealers when the solicitation state is New York, Structured Capital Strategies® Income, Structured Capital Strategies® PLUS, and Investment Edge® is issued by Equitable Financial. The obligations of Equitable Financial and Equitable America are backed solely by their own claims-paying abilities. GE-5041635.1(10/22)(exp.10/24)
Abby Aylman Cohen