Magazine article American Banker

Nationwide Posts Another Hike in Variable Volume

Magazine article American Banker

Nationwide Posts Another Hike in Variable Volume

Article excerpt

For the second straight quarter Nationwide Financial Services Inc. has sold more variable annuities than fixed annuities through the bank channel, reaping the fruit of what an analyst called an effective diversification message.

Nationwide, of Columbus, Ohio, became the second major variable annuity provider to report solid bank sales in the first quarter. It posted $553.3 million of variable annuity volume through banks, 23.3% more than it reported for the fourth quarter and a robust 68.1% leap from the first quarter of last year.

The company reported its variable annuity results this week; Hartford Financial Services Inc., the variable annuity leader in the bank channel, released its first-quarter numbers late last month. Hartford's variable sales climbed 44% from a year earlier, to $957.3 million, though they did slip 4% from the fourth quarter.

But Hartford is not a player in the fixed annuity market. Nationwide is a major player there as well, and it reported a 17% rise from the fourth quarter, to $487.8 million. Fixed sales were flat from the year earlier.

"We had a very solid first quarter," said Matt Riebel, the president of Financial Institutions Distributors Agency Inc., the Nationwide Financial division that markets products through banks.

"From a diversification perspective, it was a solid mix between fixed and variable annuities," he said. "That's certainly been our desire, to have a more balanced approach. …

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