Who is Guggenheim?

Guggenheim Fortune CoverIf you don’t know the name Guggenheim (other than maybe the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum in NYC), that’s about to change.
The next edition of Fortune magazine is ready to hit newsstands March 18th with the cover reading:

“The Mysterious $170 Billion Financial Empire…That’s Gone Hollywood…Guggenheim Partners”

I guess purchasing the LA Dodgers and Dick Clark Productions turns some heads!

Having received an advanced copy of the cover article (CLICK HERE to read it), I’m excited to say the least! It’s no secret that my firm has indirectly partnered with Guggenheim through one of their owned insurance entities Security Benefit LifeAdvisors Excel and Innovation Design Group created a couple proprietary and exclusive index annuities that have taken the industry by storm, finishing 2012 as the #1 and #2 selling products in the country! There are a number of factors that made those products a success, a couple different ingredients in the recipe. But the brainpower, yield-producing ability and financial acumen of Guggenheim are a big part!

In the Fortune article, I couple key points I took were:

  • Its secretiveness is partly strategic and partly a reflection of the reserved, stolid personality of Guggenheim’s CEO, Mark Walter. He has focused on managing the rapidly expanding firm, while its more frenetic president, Todd Boehly, has been driving the glitzy new deals. “They want to be the dark horse in the shadows,” says a former employee.
  • One of Guggenheim’s earliest clients was Sammons Enterprises, a Dallas conglomerate that controls several insurers. Today Sammons owns 35% of Guggenheim, whose employees own just under 50%, including stakes of under 10% each for Walter and Boehly. The Guggenheim family retains a small percentage.
    (Quick side note…Sammons Enterprises is behind Midland and North American Life).
  • The core fixed-income accounts run by CIO Scott Minerd — a former competitive bodybuilder in the superheavyweight division — returned 7.3% annually from 1999 through 2012. That stellar performance attracted a flood of assets, especially from insurers. If you tally up the money Guggenheim manages for insurers (including some the firm has now bought), it totals $75 billion today.
  • Guggenheim had enjoyed huge success managing assets for insurers. Eventually Walter and Boehly found themselves with a new opportunity: to buy some underpriced insurers. That also offered a bonus — they could gain even more investing capital. They’d be able to tap the “float,” the billions insurers hold in between receiving premiums and paying out claims. Warren Buffett has become fabulously rich doing this.
  • In 2009, Guggenheim bought Wellmark Community Insurance. A year later it and other investors spent $400 million for control of Security Benefit, and $470 million to buy life insurer EquiTrust in 2011. Last year a Canadian insurer sold its U.S. annuities business to Guggenheim for $800 million. The firm also acquired two companies, Claymore and Rydex, that sell exchange-traded funds.
  • Meanwhile, the firm is still on the hunt for deals. It wants to add insurance assets and bolster its live events business.

If you’re positioning Security Benefit Life, Equitrust Life, North American Life or Midland annuities with clients – this article is a must read! The magazine will become nearly mandatory to keep close-by for quick credibility reference during appointments.

In addition to the Fortune magazine article, Guggenheim President Todd Boehly was recently interviewed on Bloomberg. It provides amazing insight into how Guggenheim thinks and what direction they’re headed. Do the future of your annuity production a favor and watch this:

Boehly_Bloomberg

After seeing the passion, vision and direction of Guggenheim, draw your own conclusions. But I specifically took note when Mr. Boehly spoke about:

  •  3 legs to the Guggenheim stool – Investments, Securities & Insurance Services. Guggenheim is different because they’re focused on 10 year instead of 90 day cycles. Shareholders aren’t asking “what have you done for me lately” allowing them to take advantages of value-priced assets, primed for long-term appreciation.
  • Around 4-minutes he speaks specifically to Security Benefit Life.
  • At 7:30 Mr. Boehly states “(As population increases) finding income over time is becoming harder and harder because yields are being driven out of assets.” What sets them apart is they are long-term capital investors.
  • Premium content & human capital brands will become more valuable in the future.
  • Buying businesses is a great place to earn return, especially in a 2% treasury environment.
  • Just before 14 minutes, Mr. Boehly speaks to one of the hallmarks of Guggenheim’s success being the ability to quickly respond to opportunities. Looking at how the firm was built, it was a federation of business that recently came together as one. And at the end of the day, you’re no better than the talent you attract and surround yourself with.
  • Innovation is critical to what they do.

If you’ve made it this far, read the article and watched the video I’m sure you feel empowered! Go out and do something with it at the client acquisition level!
As always, I’m here to dig deeper on a personal level if it makes sense. Don’t hesitate to reach out my way.

Advise with Passion.
MJN

(Q32012) Annuity Interview w/ Sheryl J Moore

Indexed Annuity Report – Tips and Trends from Expert Sheryl Moore!

sjmRecently I had the great opportunity to interview fixed indexed annuity expert, Sheryl J. Moore. Sheryl is the President and CEO of Moore Market Intelligence, and collects data on indexed annuity industry trends and the marketplace.  Sheryl has helped me to personally stay on top of the industry, and ahead of the curve, so I was excited when the opportunity to interview her regarding the current state of our marketplace surfaced.

The 3rd quarter, 2012 (3Q2012) AnnuitySpecs.com Indexed Sales & Market Report was just released, and I wanted to spend my time with Sheryl getting her insight into the numbers, and the trends she’s seeing. Hopefully you find her opinions as thought-provoking as I did. Without further ado…


Matt Neuman
: We’re nearly done with 2012 and 75% of the year’s sales data is in. How do you think this year has gone for Fixed Indexed Annuities?

Sheryl Moore: Are you kidding? I am absolutely thrilled about indexed annuity sales in 2012. Our third quarter, 2012 sales were greater than all other quarters in history, with the exception of third quarter, 2010. We are going to blow all records out of the water, come the end of this year. I am projecting that not only will fourth quarter close-out a record year, but that it should be a record-setting quarter as well. Not too bad considering this has been THE most challenging time to sell fixed and indexed annuities!

Matt Neuman: What trends do you see developing as we near 2013?

Sheryl Moore:  First, there will continue to be a rising demand for indexed annuities due to continued market uncertainty and historical-low rates. For these same reasons, we will continue to see many new companies entering the indexed annuity market for the first time. Rider election for Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefits (GLWBs) will continue their downward trend. As companies are forced to scale-back the attractiveness of these benefits, their popularity will decline. Lastly, there will be a continued increase in the development of new indexed crediting strategies.

Matt Neuman: Do you see any new carriers and products making a big impact in the marketplace? Why do you think that is?

Sheryl Moore:  I have seen a few new companies making a splash in the indexed annuity market. Although I do not endorse any company or product, not mentioning Allstate, Pacific Life, and Security Benefit Life’s new products would be an oversight. Allstate’s captive distribution has benefited from their simple and straightforward product designs. Pacific Life is making inroads in the bank and wire house distributions with a relatively competitive GLWB. Security Benefit Life has caught the attention of independent insurance agents with another relatively competitive GLWB in addition to a new indexed annuity based on a proprietary index. Needless to say, the indexed annuity market isn’t lacking for diversity in distribution or product features today.

Matt Neuman: Sheryl, as you know, Advisors Excel is one of the only marketing companies with a selling agreement for the indexed annuities currently offered through Security Benefit Life’s independent agents. I noticed that the SBL Total Value Annuity and Secure Income Annuity are the top two best-selling indexed annuities for the third quarter – is that right?

Sheryl Moore:  That’s right, Matt. The newer of the two products, TVA, was the top-selling indexed annuity this quarter. The Secure Income Annuity came-in a very close second-place according to AnnuitySpecs.com’s Indexed Sales & Market Report for the third quarter of 2012.

Matt Neuman:  Do you see other carriers and products declining in market share? Why do you think that is?

Sheryl Moore:  Nearly all companies and products in the indexed annuity market are losing market share as a whole. There are so many new companies entering this market due to declining fixed and variable annuity sales. In addition, the low-interest rate environment has sparked new product development, as it always does, resulting in a slew of new annuities.

Matt Neuman: Lastly, what product advice would you give financial advisors, as they decide which products to position in the future?

Sheryl Moore:  My best product advice to financial advisors would be to make certain that you understand the needs, objectives, and goals of your prospect prior to making any recommendations. Ensure that YOU know the product like the back of your hand. Then, educate your prospect on the product, in addition to providing your rationale for suggesting it as a solution for them. It is far easier to grow your practice in this manner than to be in a perpetual state of conserving business. And don’t forget to CYA – COVER YOUR ANNUITIES!”

All in all, things are looking great for the fixed indexed annuity industry. Now more than ever, clients need your help and expertise in finding ways to protect their retirements. Take this opportunity to show your clients how you can help them realize their retirement goals! There are more product options and solutions than ever before to help you solve any of your prospects’ needs.

A big thanks to industry expert Sheryl Moore for her insights into 2012 and what to look forward to in our futures. If you’d like to stay connected with Sheryl, check out www.IndexedRockstar.com (be sure to subscribe to the newsletter) or via Twitter @IndexedGirl.

Stay focused and Advise with Passion.
MJN