ING’s Variable Annuities Lower Shares

On the heels of ING’s negative press regarding variable annuities, their shares fell an average of 5% this week.  This information comes from Henry Steelman’s Annuity News Journal article, “Shares in ING Group Fell 5% Wednesday.”  ING is a huge financial institution all over the world covering banking and investment services as well as variable annuities and life insurance needs.  The downward trend in equities and lower annuity rates have taken a hit on ING’s variable annuities, so much so that the company expects a charge of $1.5 billion for its U.S. insurance unit.

The investment portfolios tied to their variable annuities have been under-performing and the company is paying out much more in premiums because of increasing life spans.  Moody’s lowered ING Group’s financial rating in the U.S. from A2 to A3 and Fitch lowered their ratings as well.  Investors were likely reacting to these financial ratings decreases in addition to the news.  Shares were down 5% in Amsterdam, then closed down 2%.  In the NYSE, ING’s American deposit receipt was down 8%, then closed down 3%.  The company plans to use contingent funding and review many aspects of their variable annuities going forward.  Many analysts are telling investors not to sell their shares of ING just yet.

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