Innovative Rollover Variable Annuity with Guaranteed Withdrawal Benefit Turns Assets from Retirement Plans Into Guaranteed Income for Life for
Fortune 1000 Employees
NEW YORK, April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, which pioneered living benefits in variable annuities, today launched a new variable annuity -- Crossings(SM): My Lifetime IRA(SM), designed specifically as a rollover option for employees taking distributions from employer-sponsored retirement plans at Fortune 1000 companies. Crossings(SM) is the first product developed by Corporate Markets, AXA Equitable's newly created business unit providing retirement plan solutions and strategies to large corporations. Crossings(SM) is not available through any other business unit. Bill McDermott, Executive Vice President of AXA Equitable and Head of Corporate Markets, made the announcement.
Data from the fourth annual AXA Equitable Retirement Scope released in January 2008, which surveyed workers and retirees about their financial preparations, quality of life and views on retirement, show that Americans are deeply concerned about outliving their retirement savings. They also want protection against market volatility, as well as the ability to maintain their quality of life after retirement. According to the results, more than 70% of workers believe employers are responsible for retirement readiness. Crossings(SM) is designed to address these retirement concerns, and do so as a supplement to the employer's benefit plans.
"Many plan sponsors have focused on employee savings and investment decisions to create retirement readiness," said Mr. McDermott. "But what we call the Third Decision -- that is, the decision on what to do with the plan distribution -- has been largely unaddressed by most plan sponsors." For these reasons, Corporate Markets initially focused on developing a rollover product that also provides comprehensive education and ongoing support for large companies and their employees.
"The core of the Crossings(SM) solution is a variable deferred annuity designed to turn retirement plan assets from defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s and lump sum defined benefit plans, into a guaranteed annual income stream -- regardless of underlying investment performance -- for as long as the retiree lives," added Mr. McDermott. "That's the Crossings guarantee."
Crossings(SM) also allows the individual to choose from a menu of five asset allocation portfolios, ranging from conservative to aggressive. Each portfolio uses a "fund of funds" approach to allocate its assets across multiple asset classes and investment styles using a number of underlying funds. The underlying funds use active management as well as passively-managed strategies and ETFs. The individual's Guaranteed Annual Payment, or GAP, can increase if the individual defers payments, or if investment gains drive the value of the individual's account above the initial rollover value. But the Guaranteed Annual Payment will never decrease, regardless of investment performance as long as an individual does not make withdrawals in excess of the GAP amount in any contract year. Other attractive features include relatively low costs; and the ability for contract owners to maintain access to the account balance if and when they need it.
Along with the product, AXA Equitable's Corporate Markets is providing fact-based education and ongoing support to employees before, at and after retirement delivered through work-site seminars, web-based tools and individual counseling accessible via a service support call center. Additionally, individuals specifically trained to support the large corporate market, will be available at the work-site to provide employees additional one-on-one education and counseling.
"Employers invest significantly in retirement security over the course of an employee's career; yet that security is dependent on the individual's decisions at the cross-over point -- decisions for which many employees lack knowledge and are given minimal support," Mr. McDermott stated. "Crossings can help employers increase the likelihood of actually achieving retirement security for the exiting employee, without taking on additional cost or risk for the organization."
Crossings(SM): My Lifetime IRA(SM): Key Product Features
Professional investment management and choice. Crossings(SM) owners have the flexibility and simplicity of choosing from among five professionally- managed investment portfolios that range from conservative to aggressive so owners can choose the right style to fit their goals. The portfolio choice can be changed at any time with no cost. Amounts in an annuity's variable investment portfolio are subject to fluctuation in value and market risk, including loss of principal.
Guaranteed lifetime income with downside protection. Crossings(SM) owners will receive a Guaranteed Annual Payment (GAP) for the rest of their lives. The GAP amount is 5% of their income base, which is equal to the amount of their initial rollover contribution. The GAP can go up, but it can never go down based on market performance, even if the account balance goes to zero. This feature allows Crossings(SM) owners the opportunity for greater equity exposure. GAP payments, which are withdrawals from the contract, can begin as early as age 59 1/2 and will last for the rest of the owner's life, and the life of his or her spouse if they choose the joint option. The only time the GAP will be reduced is if the owner makes withdrawals in excess of the GAP in a contract year. Withdrawals of taxable amounts are subject to ordinary income tax and if made prior to age 59 1/2, may be subject to additional federal income tax.
Upside potential. Until a Crossings(SM) owner begins withdrawals, the value of the income base will grow by a minimum of 6% annually through a deferral bonus, regardless of investment performance. Through an annual step- up, on each contract anniversary, if the account value is higher than any previous anniversary, the income payment automatically increases and the new, higher GAP is locked in for life. Since the downside protection allows Crossings(SM) owners to remain invested in equities, there is more potential for the account value to increase if the market performs well. Since the account value can go up with strong market performance, Crossings(SM) also gives owners a way to hedge against inflation. Prior to the first withdrawal, any year the owner is eligible for both an annual step-up and a 6% deferral bonus, he or she will get the greater amount.
Access to the account balance. Crossings(SM) owners have control over their money -- they can withdraw their account balance at any time. If the account has been open for three contract years, there is no surrender charge. If an excess withdrawal is needed in the first three years, the owner will pay a surrender charge of 2% of the excess amount. Withdrawals of taxable amounts are subject to ordinary income tax and if made prior to age 59 1/2, may be subject to additional federal income tax. All withdrawals made prior to age 59 1/2 are considered excess withdrawals.
Something for the next generation. Upon the owner's death (or the death of his or her spouse if the joint option is selected), the remaining money in the account balance will be available to the owner's beneficiaries.
A variable deferred 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 will pay out an income or a lump sum amount at a later date based on the contract terms and conditions. Crossings(SM) provides owners with a Guaranteed Annual Payment (GAP) for life determined by the income base. The income base and the GAP can increase, but will never decrease, even if the account balance goes to zero due to poor investment performance. The only way the GAP and income base will be reduced is if the owner makes a withdrawal from the account balance in excess of the guaranteed annual payment in a contract year.
The Crossings(SM) variable annuity has fees which cover mortality and expense (M&E) charges, guaranteed withdrawal benefits and investment management fees. A withdrawal charge of 2% will apply to excess withdrawals during the first three contract years, and, if taken prior to age 59 1/2, a 10% federal income tax penalty may apply.
This is not a complete description of all material provisions of the annuity contract. Annuities have limitations. For costs and complete details, contact a financial professional.
All guarantees discussed are subject to the claims-paying ability of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. The guarantees do not apply to the investment portfolios.
Please also consider the charges, risks, expenses and investment objectives of Crossings(SM): My Lifetime IRA(SM) carefully before investing. For a prospectus containing this and other information, please call the company at 212-314-4181. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.
This press release was prepared to support the promotion and marketing of AXA Equitable variable annuities and is not intended as legal or tax advice. Any tax statements contained herein were not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding U.S. federal, state or local tax penalties. You should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent tax or legal advisor.
Neither AXA Equitable nor AXA Advisors, LLC provides tax or legal advice. You should consult with your own tax and/or legal advisor before investing.
Crossings(SM): My Lifetime IRA(SM) is a variable annuity contract issued by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company and distributed by an affiliate, AXA Advisors, LLC. Crossings(SM) and My Lifetime IRA(SM) are service marks of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company.
Contract form#s 2007IFL-A/B (rev 11-07), 2007IFL-I-A/B(rev 11-07), 2007IFL-I-A(OR), E-2007IFL-ROTH and any state variations.
About AXA Equitable
In business since 1859, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company is a leading financial protection company and one of the nation's premier providers of life insurance, annuity, and investment products and services. AXA Equitable's assets under management totaled $888.6 billion as of December 31, 2007.
The company's products and services are distributed to individuals and business owners through its retail distribution channel AXA Advisors, LLC; to the financial services market through its wholesale distribution channel, AXA Distributors, LLC; and to corporations and their employees through its corporate distribution channel, Corporate Markets.
AXA Equitable, a subsidiary of AXA Financial Inc., is part of the global AXA Group, a worldwide leader in financial protection strategies and wealth management. AXA Group's operations are geographically diverse, with major operations in Western Europe, North America, and the Asia/Pacific region. AXA Group is listed as the 15th largest company in the world on the 2007 Fortune Global 500 list (based on revenues). It had $1.87 trillion in assets under management as of December 31, 2007. Listed on the Paris Stock Exchange, the AXA ordinary share trades under the symbol AXA. The AXA American Depositary Share is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol AXA. All guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company.
AXA Equitable is a sponsor of the Variable Annuities Knowledge Center (http://www.variableannuityfacts.org), an online resource aimed at helping consumers understand the facts surrounding variable annuities. The Variable
Annuities Knowledge Center is operated by a stand-alone, non-profit organization and is overseen by an independent advisory board.
|SOURCE AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company|
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