Investment Service & Product Launches

Equitable expands variable universal life portfolio; First Trust offers alternative assets-based ETFs; and more.

Equitable Expands Portfolio in Variable Universal Life Market

Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company announced an enhancement to its single-life variable life insurance offerings, which provide appreciable life insurance, as well as a cash value account.

The new offering, called Market Stabilizer Option II, will be in all of Equitable’s single-life variable universal life products, according to the New York-based insurer that is part of Equitable Holdings Inc. MSO II is designed to help clients manage volatile markets with a buffer that will limit losses to a percent, depending on the product.

“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,” Hector Martinez, Equitable’s head of life insurance, said in a statement.

First Trust Leans into Alternative Demand with New ETF

First Trust Advisors LP is launching an actively managed exchange-traded fund focused on alternative assets and strategies after a year when both stocks and bonds declined in value.

The First Trust Multi-Strategy Alternative ETF will seek to provide long-term total returns for investors through exchange-traded products, exchange-traded notes and trusts backed by physical commodities or currencies, according to the Wheaton, Illinois-based ETF provider and asset manager.

Exposure to alternative asset categories and investment strategies may help diversify risk, enhance returns or generate higher yield than traditional investments, according to First Trust.

“After a difficult year for both stocks and bonds, it’s no surprise that demand for alternatives has grown stronger,” Ryan Issakainen, senior vice president and ETF strategist at First Trust, said in a statement. “We believe this ETF may be an effective tool for investment professionals seeking to diversify client portfolios while also potentially generating returns from multiple alternative risk premiums in the years ahead.”

Voyant Introduces Retirement Plan Training for Financial Advisers

Voyant Inc. is offering retirement planning strategy training to financial advisers with the goal of helping them grow their businesses by providing retirement guidance.

Voyant’s program follows its four-step model—branded EASE (envision, analysis, solutions and evaluation)—which includes best practices developed by financial advisers with more than 65 combined years of planning experience and nearly $2 billion of assets under management.

According to the Austin-based financial-planning and wealth-management-platform provider, the new program is designed to help advisers learn to create and complete a collaborative financial plan; engage clients with visual “what-if” scenarios and insights; streamline the onboarding process and guide clients through retirement; and develop a scalable, process-driven business strategy.

“Our goal is to help advisors build meaningful, lasting relationships – from initial onboarding to ongoing consulting. The EASE process offers a proven, step-by-step model for interacting with clients on a new level using financial plans that are personalized to meet their goals,” David Kaufman, CEO of Voyant, said in a statement.

Nassau Financial Launches Annuity with Up-Front Bonus

The Nassau Financial Group is offering a fixed indexed annuity with a premium bonus and guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits options.

The Hartford, Connecticut-based life insurance and annuity company has launched Nassau Bonus Annuity, a fixed indexed annuity with an upfront bonus of up to 10% added to the initial premium.

“The launch of Nassau Bonus Annuity enhances our fixed annuities product suite, enabling Nassau to access the growing bonus FIA market,” Phil Gass, chairman and CEO of Nassau Financial Group, said in a statement.

The annuity is designed to grow through 13 indexed accounts and offers a 10% free annual withdrawal to address cash needs.