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DOL Rule Demise Coincides with Growing Popularity of Hybrid Annuities, says Nationwide Boss

May 10, 2018

Craig Hawley, chief of Nationwide’s advisory solutions unit, is neither celebrating nor mourning the imminent death of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule. But a calmer regulatory environment is coinciding with the growing popularity of some annuity products, he tells ThinkAdvisor.

The saga of the DOL’s rule meant that “the industry hunkered down a little bit,” according to Hawley, head of Nationwide Advisory Solutions, a subsidiary of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company formerly known as Jefferson National, ThinkAdvisor writes. But the rule, which purports to force retirement account advisors to put clients’ interests first and only went into partial effect last summer, was vacated by an appeals court in March, and the DOL has made it clear that it will not go after violations.

And a less uncertain regulatory environment has been accompanied by more interest in hybrid annuities that mix aspects of indexed and variable annuities, such as structured annuities, Hawley tells ThinkAdvisor.

He also sees some changes happening in the RIA space. For example, the lack of young advisors is a result of young people simply not realizing that they could become financial advisors, he tells the publication. But that’s likely to get resolved by simple word of mouth about available opportunities among the younger generation, according to Hawley.

He also believes new RIAs will be able to benefit from artificial intelligence systems to attract and grow assets, Hawley tells ThinkAdvisor. Finally, Hawley sees more focus among advisors on helping clients structure retirement income and legacy planning, according to the publication. To that end, Nationwide plans to launch new products aimed at clients in that planning phase, Hawley tells ThinkAdvisor.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the ThinkAdvisor article cited in this story, click here.