BB&T Bank’s institutional division has added a fixed-annuity option to its 401(k) product.
The product, called ClearCourse, is a Genworth group variable annuity guaranteeing its buyers lifetime income stream. The annuity investments money in the underlying Vanguard Balanced Income Fund, which has historically returned around 7%, said Ray McCullough, executive vice president institutional sales at BB&T in Winston-Salem, N.C. Annuity buyers benefit if the market outperforms its target and protects them from downside risk if it doesn’t.
Guaranteed payouts are based on a sliding scale provided by Genworth. A 30 year old who invests money in the annuity this year would earn a guaranteed payout of 32.556% of that amount at retirement. By comparison, a 45 year old would earn 15.536%, a 55 year old would earn 9.832% and a 65 year old would earn 6% on any contribution in this calendar year.
McCullough has high hopes for the addition. “We believe there’s a strong need for this product given all the market uncertainty,” he said. “While this is just one of many options in our 401(k) plans, we think it’ll have strong attraction,” for plan participants, who designate how much they pay into the annuity. A calculator shows them how much their income from the annuity will be once they reach 65.
The annuity doesn’t cost 401(k) plan holders anything, McCullough says, “plan sponsors can offer it without charge.”
Two other banks—PNC and SunTrust—also offer annuities in their 401(k) offerings.