Fiduciary regulations continue to cause a stir in the financial community. Some have already started to be enforced while others are being rolled out. However, as the fiduciary standards continue to evolve, some experts point to a solution that should not be overlooked: annuities.

“Many advisors and clients are afraid of or misunderstand annuities,” acknowledges Lance K. Carlson, head of sales distribution at Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Great-West Financial. Yet annuities, he says, “need to be part of the conversation.”

He’s talking particularly about retirement planning. Annuities are one of the few financial instruments that can guarantee lifetime income throughout retirement. Financial advisors who ignore them are overlooking what may be a crucial opportunity for their clients.

What’s more, annuities can be a good fit for fiduciary obligations. “If you never have a conversation with clients about how to guarantee retirement income, it might not be a well-thought-out plan,” says Carlson. “Even if a client decides not to go that route, you should at least consider annuities as a viable option.”

To be sure, annuities are many and varied. It can be a full-time job just keeping up with all the options available. Great-West can help. “Our goal is to have a better educated client,” says Carlson, “and if we can help advisors become more comfortable discussing the range of annuity strategies available for helping clients secure their retirement income, they will be better served.”

Serving clients, after all, is what being a fiduciary is all about.

Consider this: clients are concerned about whether they will have enough income in retirement. Most people cannot count on pensions or even Social Security anymore. The prospect of outliving your savings is especially scary during times of market volatility.

Annuities are designed to help clients prepare for market uncertainty, rising expenses, and other unforeseen events, he says. They provide this in several ways:

First, retirement income is contractually guaranteed. There are no nasty surprises on that score. With a lifetime income rider, for an additional fee, the income can continue throughout a client’s life and even throughout the client’s spouse’s life, should the spouse live longer.

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