New buffered index offering - Market Stabilizer Option® II - underscores Equitable's commitment to innovation in the VUL market
Equitable, a leading financial services company and principal franchise of Equitable Holdings EQH, has announced the launch of an enhanced version of its Market Stabilizer Option®. The new offering, Market Stabilizer Option® II (MSO II), is available on all single life variable universal life (VUL) products issued by Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (Equitable Financial) and Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company of America (Equitable America) that are currently sold in the marketplace.1 MSO II helps clients navigate today's volatile markets and enables them to thrive, create wealth and protect legacies.
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Hector Martinez, Head of Life Insurance at Equitable (Photo: Business Wire)
With the launch of MSO II, Equitable Financial and Equitable America are building on more than a decade of experience offering buffered indexed options in the life insurance and annuity markets. The new MSO II options, which include Standard, Step Up and Dual Direction segments that track the S&P 500® Price Return Index, are similar to the most popular buffered options available in Equitable Financial and Equitable America's annuity products. A market leader in the annuity market, Equitable Financial is ranked the #1 Registered Index Linked Annuity (RILA) provider by LIMRA, based on 2021 sales data.2
"In an economic climate marked by equity market volatility, inflation and a possible recession, our clients are more conscious of the need to protect their wealth and are looking for ways to maximize the cash value in their VUL policies to the fullest," said Hector Martinez, Head of Life Insurance at Equitable. "From pioneering the first variable life insurance product in 1976 to being the first insurer to offer VUL with a buffered indexed option in 2010, we have a track record of innovation in the VUL market. MSO II underscores our commitment to this space."
The new MSO II offering takes a unique and innovative approach to managing market volatility. Unlike other VUL offerings that have limited or no buffered indexed options, MSO II offers a choice of five options based on clients' investment goals, risk tolerance and life stage, and three buffers with various levels of downside protection. These options are consistent with some of the most popular options available on Equitable's annuity products, such as Structured Capital Strategies® Income and Structured Capital Strategies® PLUS. The five buffered indexed options include:
- Standard with -10% protection buffer: Provides upside potential with some downside protection and typically has the highest growth cap rate of the five MSO II options. The growth cap rate changes monthly on all options and is 17.50% as of January 20, 2023.
- Standard with -15% protection buffer: Provides a balance of upside potential and downside protection with a growth cap rate of 14.50% as of January 20, 2023.
- Standard with -20% protection buffer: Provides upside potential with the largest downside protection of the five options with a growth cap rate of 12.75% as of January 20, 2023.
- Step Up with -10% protection buffer: Offers potential for a higher return than the index with a return that "steps up" to a cap when the market is either flat or up. The growth cap rate is 13.00% as of January 20, 2023.
- Dual Direction with -10% protection buffer: Provides upside potential, including the possibility of a positive return when the index is down with a growth cap rate of 15.00% as of January 20, 2023.
In addition to the five buffered options, policy owners have more than 80 investment options to select from based on their investment style, including index portfolios, asset allocation portfolios and equity, and fixed income portfolios. Clients can allocate some, none or all of their policy cash value to the buffered options or the other investment funds.
"While many financial professionals and their clients find the value traditional VUL products provide attractive, they often are reluctant to make them a part of a financial plan during periods of market turbulence," said Garry Tilton, Head of Life Insurance Products at Equitable. "Recognizing this reality, we've leveraged our expertise in the buffered indexed option space to design a more well-rounded offering that can provide them with more choice, flexibility, upside potential and downside protection in uncertain times."
Equitable, a principal franchise of Equitable Holdings, Inc. EQH has been one of America's leading financial services providers since 1859. With the mission to help clients secure their financial well-being, Equitable provides advice, protection and retirement strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. Equitable has more than 8,000 employees and Equitable Advisors financial professionals and serves 2.8 million clients across the country. Reference to the 1859 founding applies specifically and exclusively to Equitable Financial.
Variable universal life insurance products, Structured Capital Strategies® Income and Structured Capital Strategies® PLUS are issued by Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (NY, NY) or Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company of America, an Arizona stock corporation and are co-distributed by Equitable Advisors, LLC (Member FINRA, SIPC) (Equitable Financial advisors in MI and TN) and Equitable Distributors, LLC.
A variable universal life insurance contract is a contract with the primary purpose of providing a death benefit. It is also a long-term financial investment that can also allow potential accumulation of assets through customized, professionally managed investment portfolios. These portfolios are closely managed in order to satisfy stated investment objectives. There are fees and charges associated with variable life insurance contracts including mortality and risk charges, administrative fees, investment management fees, front end load, surrender charges and charges for optional riders. Variable universal life insurance is subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal invested
A deferred variable annuity is a long-term financial product designed for retirement purposes. In essence, an annuity is a contractual agreement in which payment(s) are made to an insurance company, which agrees to pay out an income or a lump sum amount at a later date. Typically, variable annuities have mortality and expense charges, account fees, investment management fees and administration fees. In addition, annuity policies have exclusions and limitations, early withdrawals may be subject to surrender charges and, if taken prior to age 59 1/2, a 10% federal income tax penalty. Variable annuities are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal invested.
Equitable is the brand name of the retirement and protection subsidiaries of Equitable Holdings, Inc., including Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (NY, NY), Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company of America, an AZ stock company and Equitable Distributors, LLC. Equitable Advisors is the brand name of Equitable Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI and TN).
S&P 500 Price Return Index — Includes 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy, capturing approximately 80% coverage of U.S. equities. The S&P 500 Price Return Index does not include dividends declared by any of the companies included in this index. Larger, more established companies may not be able to attain potentially higher growth rates of smaller companies, especially during extended periods of economic expansion. S&P®, Standard & Poor's®, S&P 500® and Standard & Poor's 500® are trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC ("Standard & Poor's") and have been licensed for use by the company. Market Stabilizer Option® II rider is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Standard & Poor's, and Standard & Poor's does not make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in the Market Stabilizer Option® II rider.
Variable Universal life Insurance, Structured Capital Strategies® Income and Structured Capital Strategies® PLUS are all sold by prospectus only that contains more complete information about the product, including investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, limitations, and restrictions. Clients should read the prospectus and consider the information carefully before purchasing a policy or sending money. Clients should contact their financial professional for a copy of the current prospectus.
1 MSO II is available in 42 states and jurisdictions.
2 LIMRA Fact Sheet, "Year-End 2021 U.S. Individual Annuity Sales – Variable annuity breakout (Registered Index-Linked)." Secure Retirement Institute U.S. Individual Annuities Sales Survey, 2022. Based solely on year-end 2021 total sales. This ranking does not reflect or account for investment performance, product quality or other criteria.
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