According to the UK’s News Insurances’ Barbara Karouski, AXA Life Europe has made some important changes to their variable annuity products. In the article “AXA: enhancements to the Secure Advantage range of Variable Annuities,” it says that some of the changes include lower minimum contributions, increased age ranges, and more index funds. AXA Life Europe distributes their Secure Advantage variable annuities through AXA Wealth in the UK. After consulting with advisors and researching the growing demand that consumers have for more investment options, AXA has made many changes to their variable annuity products.
The first product, the Secure Advantage Retirement Income Plan, now offers six index funds and four different asset allocation indexes along with the range that was already offered. The minimum investment age went down to 45 from 55 and the minimum initial investment was cut in half. For increased flexibility for those 7-10 years before retirement, the Retirement Income Plan now allows clients to defer crystallization of their retirement plans. While immediate annuities are good for those people about to retire or already retired, this deferment will help pre-retirees prepare.
AXA’s Secure Advantage Capital Protection Plan also saw some important changes. Just like the other variable annuity, the minimum initial investment was cut in half. The new maximum investment age is 75, a large increase from its previous age restriction of 64. They can also stay in the retirement plan past age 75, because there is no longer a stipulation that investors must transfer to an annuity at age 75. The options have been simplified so that investors have guaranteed capital protection with death benefits and the potential for upside gain. They can also crystallize their plan value in the guarantee period now and receive a lump sum pension at age 55. Some of these variable annuity improvements may cross the pond to the US if they remain successful in the UK.