You may have heard about Ken Fisher, the wealthy chairman and CEO of Fisher Investments, and man who constantly rails against annuities in ubiquitous advertisements. His firm — which runs an annuity conversion program — has compared annuity sales approaches to Ponzi schemes and charges that annuity salespeople often lie in quest of high commissions.
What you probably haven’t heard about, however, is what annuity experts think about Fisher. In a nutshell, very little.
In fact, many, including academics, say that pre-retirees and retirees need the protection and guaranteed income of annuities to help offset nearly obsolete private pensions.
“A lot of advisors don’t quite understand what it is they’re selling when they’re selling annuities – but to tarnish the entire industry is ridiculous,” says Moshe Milevsky, an annuity expert and associate professor of finance at York University in Toronto.
There is a “secret sauce” inside an annuity that cannot be replicated in any conventional financial product, Milevsky says.
Adds Michael Finke, coordinator of a doctoral program in personal financial planning at Texas Tech University: “Dismissing variable annuities (Fisher’s biggest target of all) is like dismissing ETFs or mutual funds.”
Also noteworthy is that the U.S. Treasury Department has encouraged 401(k) plans to offer annuities.
For additional insight, read a ThinkAdvisor article on the subject at: