MassMutual subsidiary Flourish, a platform that gives registered investment advisors access to financial products, on Jan. 17 unveiled Flourish Annuities, a new way for RIAs to consider fee-based annuities as an option for client portfolios.
The $350B annuities market has been on the rise, hitting a sales record of $183B in the first half of last year. However, annuities have often been inaccessible to independent RIAs due to the many complexities and pain points of offering insurance products. Problems ranging from client and advisor user experience challenges to licensing and regulatory requirements, as well as a lack of fee-based products that align with RIA billing standards, have sharply limited RIA adoption of annuities in client portfolios.
To open this asset class to advisors, Flourish Annuities has alleviated the three key pain points that have historically prevented advisors from including annuities in client portfolios: burdensome, complicated paper applications, commission structures that conflict with a fiduciary approach, and RIA insurance license requirements.
To solve these challenges, Flourish Annuities developed a streamlined digital application process with the ability for advisors to pre-fill applications on behalf of clients, created an outsourced insurance desk, eliminating the need for advisors to hold insurance licenses, and assembled a marketplace of fee-based annuities from carefully vetted carriers. Additionally, integrations with major reporting and billing platforms make it easy for advisors to treat annuities like any other asset class.
“Annuities can bring clear benefits to client portfolios. Until now, the user experience for both advisors and clients has made annuities more trouble than they’re worth for independent RIAs. We’ve confronted these challenges head-on to deliver easy-to-use, compliant access to the world of annuities for advisors looking for better, more differentiated portfolio options,” said Max Lane, Flourish CEO. “Flourish Annuities introduces a convenient way for RIAs to open the door to these tax-advantaged investments for their clients. As a marketplace of fee-based annuities for RIAs and their clients, Flourish Annuities offers RIAs a truly new opportunity to effortlessly differentiate their client portfolios and improve outcomes.”
Key features include the Flourish Insurance Agency, a licensed insurance producer and outsourced insurance desk (OID), which eliminates the need for advisors to hold insurance licenses; a digital application process to eliminate complicated paperwork; and a diligently vetted marketplace of annuities from multiple carriers. At launch, the Flourish Annuities marketplace will offer fee-based multi-year guaranteed annuities (MYGAs) and intends to offer additional types of annuities in the future, allowing advisors to easily compare investment options for clients.
Today, the Flourish platform supports more than $4.1 billion in assets under custody and is used by more than 700 wealth management firms representing more than $1.5 trillion in assets under management. Flourish is a wholly-owned, independently operating subsidiary of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). For more information, visit www.flourish.com.