Registered investment advisors may want to consider a new product from Aria Retirement Solutions that offers an alternative to annuities for providing clients with guaranteed income for life.
The product, RetireOne, was created by some former Charles Schwab & Co. executives and uses insurance to provide lifetime income guarantees on a portfolio of investments that the RIA controls. RetireOne offers a way for a financial advisor to create an individual pension-like fund for a client, according to David Stone, a former Schwab legal counsel who is now CEO of Aria Retirement Solutions and one of RetireOne's creators.
Stone says RetireOne offers a stand-alone living benefit without the downside of high fees, commissions and surrender charges. RetireOne wraps an insurance policy around a package of mutual funds and ETFs so that financial advisors maintain control of the investments, which is a key to the product, he adds.
Stone partnered with R. Scott Strait, a technology expert who also previously worked for Schwab, and two others to create Aria Retirement Solutions. Aria stands for Access to Registered Investment Advisors.
So far the only insurance company to participate is AEGON/Transamerica, which partnered with Aria to build RetireOne, but Stone built the system to accommodate more insurance companies and feels he will get others involved.
Transamerica will pay the actual benefits and RetireOne will provide the technology for advisors and their custodians to connect with the product and the insurance companies. It will not manage any of the money; that is left to the advisors. The investments can be changed, but to be covered must be on a list of eligible assets that includes many mutual funds and ETFs from large fund families such as Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab, American Funds, DFA, iShares and many others.
Other companies, including Genworth Financial and Nationwide Financial tried similar products but abandoned their plans. Nationwide may resume offering its stand-alone living benefit product.
"Our goal is to help advisors create lifetime income for their clients. We are committed to offering stand-alone living benefits," says Mike Switzer, Nationwide Financial spokesperson. "However, we have faced some challenges that have caused us to put our current SALB offerings temporarily on hold. The challenges include obtaining state approvals for large states and technology integration.
"We plan to launch the next generation of Select Retirement with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. We remain committed to the SALB business," he adds.
Stone feels RetireOne can succeed where others failed because it is different from other products.