Two Athene fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) – Athene Agility 7 and Athene Protector 5 – have caught our attention. Both have abbreviated surrender schedules of seven and five years, respectively, both of which are lower than average. This is a significant plus if the performance of the annuity is disappointing you for some reason, or, more likely, a more attractive product comes along.
“The ability to break loose from an annuity sooner rather than later, without penalty, is a good thing” says one annuity sales agent. “Who doesn’t like more options?”
Each Athene annuity also offers relatively generous investment terms and at least one above-average benefit in addition to a truncated surrender period.
Agility 7 offers a free guaranteed income rider with attractive terms – no rollup, but a handsome upfront bonus and 4.85% a year for a 65-year-old single person and 4.35% for a married couple with one person of the same age.
The bonus is 35% on the income base, substantially higher than other annuities that offer a bonus. And Agility 7 offers a competitive participation rate on the BNP Paribas Index of 110% over two years, point-to-point. This index invests in bonds and some commodities, as well as stock indexes. (Agility and Protector also offer competitive terms on participation in the S&P 500.)
Protector, a five-year product, offers an unusually generous participation rate on BNP Paribas – 150% one year point-to-point, a substantial increase from the recent past. It also offers a better deal for annuity beneficiaries at a reasonable price. For 40 basis points a year, a beneficiary of a Protector owner the annuity would get 100% of the cost of the annuity and in some cases more if the value of the index has grown.
Lastly, this product also comes with an unusual benefit – at the end of the contract, annuity owners receive a 15% credit if the underlying index has not increased in value, up from 10% previously – an obvious plus for investors pessimistic about market prospects.
Protector, unlike Agility 7, does not offer an income rider.
The minimum investment on both annuities is $10,000.
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