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Biotech Penny Stocks To Watch For June 2021

June
6, 2021

8 min read

This story originally appeared on PennyStocks

Penny Stocks To Watch For June

Trading penny stocks is something that millions of people do daily. But it’s isn’t something that everyone has been able to master. Best-known for their high-flying moves in price, the “land of cheap stocks” is more frequently compared to the Wild West of the market. However, since the 2020 pandemic, the dynamic of how traders approach the markets has changed.

Thanks to stay-at-home orders, lockdown, furloughs, and complete closures of numerous businesses, people were stuck at home trying to find new ways to make money. Penny stocks have been one of the benefactors of this early “stay-at-home trend,” with the retail community growing by the millions.

Apps like Webull and Robinhood have grown in popularity. In fact, if you look at some of the penny stock brokerage growth stats of 2020, Robinhood, in particular, took the crown for growing the quickest. Even in light of major technical glitches and questionable practices, the retail trading army lead by Redditors has made its choice.

Penny Stocks To Watch For June 2021

In this article, we’ll take a look at a few biotech penny stocks to watch for June. Why could they be on traders’ lists? In short, all penny stocks on this list have upcoming dates in June to keep track of, and we know this from looking back at old news and updates.

[Read More] 3 Penny Stocks To Watch Right Now As Meme Stocks AMC & BB Soar

This is one of the beauties of looking at biotech as an industry of interest. We’ll often see companies giving updates on pending FDA decisions, industry presentations, and other future events that could lead to volatility in the stock market.

Here are a few names for your list of penny stocks to watch with upcoming potential catalyst dates this month:

Penny Stocks To Watch #1: Fortress Biotech (NASDAQ: FBIO)

Shares of Fortress Biotech have enjoyed a relatively consistent uptrend over the last 18 months. At the start of 2020, FBIO stock opened at $2.59. By the start of 2021, the biotech penny stock began the year trading around $3.20. Heading into the new month of June, shares are hovering around $4. Between the start of 2020 and now, FBIO has, of course, seen several big pops and drops. Relatively speaking, the uptrend is clear.

One of the high points for the company is its diverse exposure to the biotech industry as a whole. Many of its related companies were founded by Fortress and now trade publicly themselves. We’ll talk about this more later in the article. When it comes to June, Fortress has a few things in the works that could become focal points for traders. In fact, the company itself doesn’t have updates coming, per se, but two of its related names do.

The first is Fortress-founded Caelum Biosciences. The company, along with Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALXN), presents two abstracts accepted for poster presentation at the European Hematology Association Congress 2021 (EHA2021). While the Congress takes place between June 9th and 17th, Caelum’s poster presentation will be made available on June 11th.

The focus of the poster is on the company’s amyloid fibril therapy, CAEL-101. The treatment is currently enrolled in a Cardiac Amyloid Reaching for Extended Survival or CARES Phase 3 clinical program. It will evaluate CAEL-101 combined with the current standard of care in AL Amyloidosis. So the details revealed next week could be important if FBIO or even ALXN is on your list of stocks to watch in June.

2. Mustang Bio (NASDAQ: MBIO)

Coincidentally, the second potential catalyst event for FBIO comes as Mustang Bio is set to present data. Last month, the company announced that it would be delivering interim data from its ongoing Phase 1/2 trial for its targeted CAR T treatment candidate, MB-106. The trial is studying the impact of the drug candidate on high-risk B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Similar to Caelum, Mustang will also be in attendance at the EHA2021. Mustang’s trial data was chosen for a poster presentation, which will get posted on June 11th. MB-106 is being developed in a collaboration between Mustang and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Read More

If you’re looking for some insight on how MB-106 has performed so far, Management comments from CEO Manuel Litchman, M.D. might be of interest. In a May press release, he explained, “The data thus far indicate that MB-106 has a highly favorable safety profile at all dose levels when compared to commercially available CAR T cell therapies targeting CD19. We look forward to the continued progression of this CD20-targeted CAR T cell therapy program for patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas and CLL.”

3. Aptose Biosciences (NASDAQ: APTO)

While Aptose has nothing to do with Fortress, it has multiple upcoming data readouts this month. The company will give an update for each of its clinical trials at the 2021 EHA Virtual Congress. Next week, Aptose presents posters on its CG-806 and APTO-253 treatment candidates on June 11th. Concurrently, the company has scheduled a corporate update to be scheduled the same day.

Available clinical data will be given on CG-806 (luxeptinib), Aptose’s oral FLT3, and BTK kinase inhibitor, which is in two Phase 1 a/b trials. One trial is in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and another is in patients with relapsed or refractory B cell malignancies. Its APTO-253, a small molecule MYC repressor, will give data as well. APTO is in a Phase 1 a/b trial in patients with relapsed or refractory AML or high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

CEO William G. Rice, Ph.D., gave some brief insight into the current progress in its CG-806 trials last month. In Aptose’s Q1 update, Rice said, “In our ongoing Phase 1 a/b clinical trials with luxeptinib (formerly CG-806), we are encouraged by indicators of target engagement and anti-cancer activity, as well as a safety and tolerability profile that has allowed us to continue dose escalations.”

Heading into the next week of June, it will be interesting to see what, if any, new details emerge and how the market reacts. If APTO is on your list of penny stocks to watch, June 11th is a date you’ll want to keep in mind.

4. Regulus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: RGLS)

On the lighter-volume side of things, Regulus may be down in 2021 but not out (yet). Shares took a hit during the end of Q1 and early Q2. This came after the company announced top-line data from the first cohort of a Phase 1b trial of its RGLS4326 for treating Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). The company reported a mixed bag of data on the cohort, which led to a sell-off in the market.

Since reaching lows around $0.80 last month, RGLS stock has managed to recover. Now it could come down to what happens this month. However, instead of the upcoming week, traders will need to wait a little longer for details. Last month the company said additional data from the first cohort would be presented at the PKD Connect. Since the conference doesn’t begin until June 25th, a few weeks of speculation could become a focus.

Despite mixed results earlier this year, treatment with RGLS4326 was said to be generally well-tolerated. The company also explained that no serious adverse events were reported. In an incremental update late last month said Jay Hagan, CEO of Regulus, said, “As previously reported, the ninth and final patient was trending well at the end of the dosing period and saw their polycystin levels continue to rise until study completion, twenty-eight days after the last dose. This pattern was generally consistent across the first cohort and further enhanced the overall mean changes from baseline for both biomarkers.”

We’ll see what the additional data reveals later in June. If RGLS stock is on your list, keep June 25th in mind.

What Do Analysts Think Of These Penny Stocks?

While they shouldn’t be the only thing used, analyst sentiment can be helpful when researching companies. In this case, all penny stocks on this list have received recent analyst ratings. With the understanding of what’s to come, let us know in the comments whether or not you agree with their outlook & if you’re going to be trading penny stocks in June:

CompanyAnalyst FirmRatingPrice TargetFortress Biotech (FBIO Report)B. RileyBUY$9Mustang Bio (MBIO Report)BTIG ResearchBUY$11Aptose Biosciences (APTO Report)OppenheimerOUTPERFORM$9Regulus Therapeutics (RGLS Report)HC WainwrightBUY$2

Best Annuity Companies

June
6, 2021

15+ min read

This story originally appeared on Due

The Despite the fact the annuities can be traced back to Ancient Rome, they haven’t been given the same level of respect as other innovations from that time. I mean when was the last time you criticized the concept of aqueducts, bound books, newspapers, or highways? And, yet, for years people have proclaimed that annuities are too complex, expensive, and irreverent. 
To be fair, there is little truth in these assessments. After all, because there are several different types of annuities, it can be overwhelming if you’re considering purchasing one. However, you really just need to focus on the following types;

Fixed annuities guarantee the principal, as well as a minimum rate of interest. They’re predictable and can provide a lifetime income. 
Variable annuities can also be guaranteed an income for the rest of your life. But, the account value and payments you’ll depend on the performance of a separate investment portfolio, which can fluctuate daily.
Equity indexed annuities contain features of both fixed and variable annuities. As a result, you’ll get a base return while also playing the stock index. 

Also, you can decide if you want your annuity to be immediate or deferred. An immediate annuity is when you take a lump sum of money and convert it into a series of payments that begins paying out right away. With a deferred annuity, you let your assets accumulate until later. 
Even if this is still too much to digest, just know this. An annuity is an insurance contract. It also contains an underlying investment. And, in exchange for either a one-time payment or series of payments over the years, you’ll receive a guaranteed income stream. 
While an annuity shouldn’t replace your 401(k), it should be a part of your retirement plan. Again, an annuity ensures that you’ll never run out of money for as long as you live — annuities also aren’t guaranteed by the FDIC. Because of that, you need to make sure that you’re working with a company that will promise to follow through in this agreement. 
Generally speaking, you want the annuity company to be financially strong and is highly rated through agencies like AM Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s. And, depending on your exact financial situation and plan, you also want to consider the annual payout and the optional riders that the company offers, such as guaranteed minimum living benefits, guaranteed minimum death benefits, and long-term care riders. 
Methodology being a Top Annuity Company
We’ve identified six main ingredients that allow us to understand which is the best annuity out there that works for you. Not every annuity company is created equal and not every annuity company is right for everyone. Some are better for people about to retire while others are better for millennials.
Here is the methodology and data we used to analyze each annuity company:

How easy is signup process
How easy is the funding process
Mobile options to manage annuity
Customer service knowledge and kindness
Cash-out ease
Issues resolved quickly

We have broken down each annuity company into what should work for you at this stage of your life. We hope you enjoy the list.

Now that you understand the criteria and have seen the list, we’ve put together a fairly detailed list of some of the best. While we would love to review every company, we’ve put together a list of ones that we love. Also, to help simplify this process so that you can take advantage of an annuity, here are 25 of the best annuity companies, that should be worth your consideration. 

Due

Best overall annuity company
When it comes to annuities, Due has been the company above others that has quickly become a market leader. Founded by entrepreneur serial and annuity expert John Rampton. So far, the company has already gained more than 12,000 registered users who are earning a guaranteed 3% return. On average, users are receiving $2,100 per month in retirement income.
But what makes Due the nation’s top retirement app is its accessibility. Due was designed to give the average person a fair shake at a guaranteed income. That’s why Due is straightforward with its offering, which again is a 3% return. There’s also a handy annuity calculator that can help you determine how much you need to save each month to reach your retirement goals.  
Furthermore, you can apply for free. Also, it only takes a couple of minutes to get your account rolling. And, if you’re willing about the risk involved, just know that your money will be placed into a Charles Schwab account. From there, it’s managed by two of the top investment firms in the nation: Blackstone (NYSE: BX), and ATHOS Private Wealth. Both of which have a stellar reputation.
Overall, if you’re looking for a no-frills and transparent annuity, then Due might just be your best bet. It’s stellar reputation and quest for the satisfaction of the customer is the reason we named it the best annuity company.

AIG Companies

Highest rated annuity company
Founded in 1919 by Cornelius Vander Starr, American International Group is a multinational finance and insurance corporation. Today, AIG operates in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. 
As for annuities, the company offers index, variable, and fixed. Each of which can be purchased with a lump sum or stream of payments. Also, you can decide on the payment frequency by choosing either lifetime payments, a guaranteed fixed period, or survivorship payments. 
Besides having a long and rich history of providing individuals with asset protection and a guaranteed income, AIG has earned respectable ratings, such as;

A.M. Best Company (Best’s Ratings): A
Moody’s (Financial Strength): A2 
Standard & Poor’s (Financial Strength: A+
Fitch Ratings (Financial Strength): A+ 

What does that all mean. Simply put, AIG is in good and stable condition. And, according to the Better Business Bureau, they’ve done an outstanding job in resolving customer complaints. 
No wonder AIG was one of the leading annuity sellers in 2020. In fact, in the third quarter of 2020, AIG landed in the number one spot of sellers after having $4,334,963 in variable annuities alone.

Jackson National Life

Trusted Leader in Annuities
Founded in 1961 in Jackson, Michigan, Jackson is a subsidiary of the British insurer, Prudential plc. However, don’t confuse this company with Prudential Financial as they are two separate entities. 
Jackson offers multiple fixed, variable, and fixed index annuities. And, to prove that they’re a trusted industry leader they put transparency front and center. Anyone can access their performance center, which is powered by Morningstar, to see data for each of their variable annuity products. 
What’s more, Jackson has a long history of financial know-how and award-winning service. In fact, Jackson National Life Insurance has received an A (Excellent) rating from AM Best, which verifies its financial strength. In other words, you can sleep more easily knowing that Jackson is in a good financial position to pay out their guaranteed annuity contracts.
Additionally, there are several different ways to contact Jackson via phone, fax, mail, or email. Or, you can just access their extensive FAQs page. And, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Jackson is far below the average complaints for a company its size.

Allianz Life of North America 

Best annuity provider for wide range of annuity options
Initially, the company began as North American Casualty by Henry Little of Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1896. But, after merging with the North American Life Association North American Life and Casualty (NALAC). In 1979, the company was acquired by the German conglomerate Allianz.
Allianz is now one of the world’s largest integrated financial services organizations in the world. It offers asset management, life, health, and property-casualty insurance, and banking operations. And, yes, the company provides two annuities; a fixed index and index variable. 
In particular, the Allianz 222 Annuity deserves a shout-out. It’s kind of like the Swiss Army knife of annuities in that it does a little bit of everything. Most notably, it offers principal protection from market loss, potential indexed interest, and the potential for tax-deferred growth. And, you can also receive income increases in two different ways. 
The company also had $2,997,578 in registered index links in quarter three of 2020. And, most importantly, Allianz Life is a very strong insurance company with an A+ AM Best Rating. It also has the following ratings;

Moody’s (21 rankings): A1 (5)
Comdex (percentile of all rated companies): 94
Standard & Poor’s (20 Possible Ratings): AA (3)

Fidelity

Best annuity customer service
Established in 1946, Fidelity is one of the largest asset managers in the world. And, if you want to save for retirement, then you might want to consider one of the following annuity products offered by Fidelity;

Fidelity Personal Retirement Annuity requires a $5,000 minimum investment and has three different investment options. 
New York Life Premier Variable Annuity–P Series with Investment Preservation Rider–P Series requires a $25,000  minimum investment, but returns might outpace inflation.
Deferred fixed annuities have a $10,000 minimum and a fixed interest rate for the first 3 to 10 years.
Deferred income annuities only have a $5,000 minimum, but you can add additional payments.  
New York Life Clear Income Fixed Annuity–FP Series1 requires a hefty $50,000 minimum. However, this offers a fixed rate for the first 7 years and an annual 5% increase on guaranteed lifetime income during the first 10 years.
Immediate fixed income annuities have a $10,000 minimum, but you can add a plus one and cost of living adjustment.

It’s this variety of annuity options that sets Fidelity apart. But, it also provides 24/7 live help and has an A++ (Superior) from A.M. Best for financial strength. 

American Equity

Best immediate annuity option
A relative newcomer, the company was founded in 1995, American Equity specializes in retirement annuities. Specifically, the company offers a traditional fixed annuity and fixed-index annuity. Both of these plans include an immediate option that will payout within 12 months. 
While the company does not disclose rates online, it proudly states that it’s a leader in the fixed indexed annuities marketplace. But, what could be appealing is that American Equity offers an annual, penalty-free withdrawal. And, you can expect a decent return in the 2% to 5% range. 
Online reviews for American Equity state the company has outstanding customer services. And, as far as financial strength, it has earned an A- (Excellent) from A.M. Best. 

Brighthouse Financial

Best newcomer to annuity market
Despite being founded only in 2016, Brighthouse Financial has already become one of the largest providers of annuities and life insurance in the U.S — maybe because of its affiliation with MetLife. For example, in just four years, Brighthouse sold $1,258,324 in traditional variable annuities and $2,981,171 in registered-index linked annuities in the third quarter of 2020 alone.
As you might have surmised, Brighthouse offers an index-level annuity called Shield Level Annuities and Variable Annuities with FlexChoice Access. Both products do not include annual fees and are deferred. Moreover, a minimum initial premium of $25,000 is expected as well. 
The company also has earned an A rating from A.M. Best and Fitch, as well as an A+ from Standard & Poor’s and A3 from Moody’s. Collectively, that means Brighthouse is financially stable and strong. 

American National

No minimum annuity premium
In 1905, Galveston businessman William Lewis Moody Jr. founded American National. Fast forward to today and the company now operates in all 50 states. It also provides a wide range of insurance products and services. This includes life insurance, annuities, health insurance, property and casualty insurance, credit insurance, and pension plan services. 
When it comes to annuities, you’ll find the following at American National;

A fixed deferred annuity that offers a guaranteed and fixed rate of return and grows tax-deferred. There are also optional rider benefits riders and flexible withdrawal options.
A single premium immediate annuity that allows you to convert a lump sum of money into a predictable income stream. 
An index deferred annuity that will protect your principal while allowing you to participate in the market. 

Unlike most other annuity companies, American National does not request a high minimum initial premium. In fact, the company’s fixed annuity and fixed deferred annuity do not require a minimum at all. But, $2,000 is needed for both its multi-year guarantee annuity and flexible premium deferred annuity. 
American National also has an A rating from both A.M. Best. 

CUNA Mutual Group

Best rated fixed annuity product
When the company was founded back in 1935 “CUNA” in the company’s name originally stood for “Credit Union National Association.” But, that doesn’t matter today as this mutual insurance company provides financial services to credit unions, cooperatives, and their members. CUNA also has retirement plans for small business owners and credit union members. 
As for annuities, CUNA offers both group annuities and a popular fixed annuity that’s deferred. There are no annual contact fees associated with the fixed annuity. But, there is a 1.50% contract fee and fund expense ratio with the variable annuity. Furthermore, minimum initial premiums range from $5,000 to $25,000. 
A.M. Best rated CUAN “A,” Standard & Poor’s (S&P) rated it “A+” and Moody’s gave it “A2.” That means the financial future is looking bright for CUNA.

Athene Annuity & Life

Market leader in annuities
It took a lot of courage for James Belardi, former President of SunAmerica Life Insurance Company and now CEO of Athene Holding Ltd., and Chip Gillis, former head of Bear Stearns’ Insurance Solutions Group to launch Athene Holding Ltd. in 2009. Why? Because this was during a financial crisis. 
But, the company has not only thrived but it’s also considered a market leader. Perhaps this is because Athene offers the following individual annuities;

Fixed indexed annuities (FIA) 
Multi-year guarantee annuities (MYGA) 
Registered index-linked annuities (RILA)
Single premium annuities (SPIA)

All individuals annuities require a $10,000 minimum initial premium. And, it also has a good report card after getting the following financial ratings;

A.M. Best Rating (15 possible ratings): A (3)
Fitch Ratings (21 possible): A (6)
Standard & Poor’s (20 possible ratings): A (6)

In addition to individual annuities, the company also offers group annuities — which not many annuity companies provide. This works by having a company’s pension plan purchase a group annuity. Athene will then guarantee that individuals included in the plan will receive guaranteed income payments. 

Global Atlantic

Founded in 2004, Global Atlantic offers a variety of retirement, life, and reinsurance products. And depending on your retirement plan and financial situation, you can choose between a fixed, fixed index, variable, or income annuity. 
The company promises competitive rates and locked-in growth opportunities. But, a key feature that shouldn’t be overlooked is that these are ideal if you’re concerned about long-term care (LTC). Thanks to its ForeCare and SecureFore, you can double or even triple your qualified LTC expenses. 
And, despite the fact that the company isn’t as old as its counterparts, Global Atlantic has received positive rankings. It earned an A from A.M. Best,  Fitch, and Moody’s, along with an A- from Standard & Poor’s for financial strength. 

Great American Insurance Group

Don’t be fooled by the fact that the Great American Insurance Group offers property and casualty insurance for pretty much any business you can imagine. The company also provides personal annuities. These include the following products;

Index Protector 7. A fixed indexed annuity with no annual fees, but there are rider chargers. A $10,000 minimum initial premium is required.
American Landmark 5 is another fixed indexed annuity that includes five indexed strategies. There are no annual fees and a $10,000 minimum initial premium is required.
Index Summit 6 is an index-linked annuity that requires a $25,000 minimum initial premium. It offers a balance of growth and protection. 

However, the company does also offer an immediate annuity option, as well as a group annuity. As for ratings, Great American’s financial strength has received solid ratings overall A.M. Best has given the company an “A+,” Standard and Poor’s (S&P) an “A+” and Moody’s with an“A2”. These ratings respectively equate to “Superior,” “Strong” and “Good.”

Nationwide

Believe it or not, Nationwide began as Farm Bureau Mutual in 1926. The company provided auto insurance to farmers to better reflect their driving habits. Since then, Nationwide has become a Fortune 500 company that offers insurance, retirement, and investment products like annuities. 
Depending on your specific goals, you can choose between;

The Soloist. A variable annuity with a $30 annual contract fee and 1.30% combined administrative and mortality and expense risk fee. But, you don’t have to meet a minimum initial premium.
Nationwide Peak 5 is is a single-purchase-payment deferred fixed indexed annuity with a $25,000 minimum initial premium
Nationwide Quatro Select Annuity is a fixed annuity with no contract fees and a $2,000 minimum initial premium requirement. 
INCOME Promise Select is an immediate annuity with no annual contract fees and could be Medicaid eligible. There’s also a cost-of-living adjustment, as well as a $10,000 minimum. 

What makes Nationwide’s annuities stand out is that they’re flexible. You can either invest a lump sum or over a period of time and receive payments either immediately or at a later date. And, they’ve also received very high financial ratings. A.M. Best rated it an A+ (Superior), Standard & Poor’s (S&P) A+ (Extremely Strong), and Moody’s gave it an A1 (Upper-Medium Grade).

John Hancock Annuities 

Dating back to 1862, John Hancock is one of the highest-rated companies for financial strength and claims-paying abilities. In fact, John Hancock has earned an A+ from A.M. Best, and an AA- from S&P Global Rating and Fitch — all of which is proudly displayed on its website. 
In addition to being forthright on their financial performance and strength, John Hancock also offers a wide range of annuities products including two different types of variable annuities. One is qualified and the other is non-qualified. The difference comes down to taxes. With an unqualified option, taxes aren’t paid until you being receiving payments. 
John Hancock also offers traditional fixed annuities. However, one of the company’s more popular offerings is the group annuity contract that employers can purchase for their employees. 

MassMutual

The Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, MassMutual for short, goes all the way back to 1851. Today, the company is one of the largest United States corporations by total revenue and offers a wide range of financial products. These include life insurance, disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, retirement/401(k) plan services, and last but certainly not least annuities. 
MassMutual offers the following annuities;

Stable Voyage is a fixed deferred annuity with no annual contract fees. You will $10,000 to get started. 
Capital Vantage B-Share also requires a $10,000 minimum initial premium. It’s a variable annuity asking for a $40 annual contract fee, as well as additional administrative, expense risk, and rider fees. 
Transitions Select II is another variable annuity offering with a required $10,000 premium. It also has it’s fair shares of fees like a $40 annual contract maintenance fee.
RetireEase doesn’t ask for an annual contract fee. But, you’ll need $10,000 if you want to invest in this single premium immediate fixed annuity. 

Moreover, between their long and robust history and being named one of the most ethical companies in the world, you can rest assured that your investment is safe with MassMutual. No wonder the company delivered $6.2 billion in life insurance and annuity benefits in 2020 alone. 
When it comes to rankings, Fitch gave it at an AA+ (the second-highest of 21 grades), A.M. Best lists it at an A++ (the highest category of 15), Moody’s ranks it at an Aa3 (fourth-highest of 21), and Standard & Poor’s ranks it at an AA+ (second-highest of 21). 

Lincoln Financial Group

Founded in 1905, the Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation. The company is divided into four different segments; annuities, life insurance, retirement plan services, and group protection. In regards to annuities, Lincoln offers;

The Lincoln MYGuarantee Plus is a fixed annuity with no annual contract fees and a $10,000 minimum premium upfront.  
Lincoln New Directions is a fixed indexed annuity with no annual contract fees and a $10,000 minimum initial premium.
Lincoln Insured Income is an immediate annuity that also doesn’t require annual contract fees. But, there is a $10,000 minimum initial premium.
Lincoln Investor Advantage is a variable annuity with that 10K needed upfront. There are numerous fees, such as a $35 annual fee.
 Lincoln OptiBlend is a fixed indexed annuity with no annual contract fees. But, as expected, you’ll $10,000, to begin with. 

The company is also a member of the Alliance for a lifetime income. Which, according to Lincoln means that they’re “committed to helping you approach retirement with certainty and simplicity.” And, in Q3 of 2020, they were a top-five seller of traditional annuities with $3,970,544 in sales. 
In terms of ratings, A.M Best gave it an A+,  AA- from S&P, A1 from Moody’s, and A+ from Fitch. 

Midland National Life

Founded in 1906 and headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, Midland National Life is another insurance leader. The company focuses mainly on life insurance policies and the following annuity types;

MNL IncomeVantage Pro. A fixed annuity index (FIA) requiring a $10,000 minimum initial premium, but not annual contract fees. 
MNL RetireVantage is another fixed annuity index with no annual fee. There is a $20,000 minimum initial premium.
Guarantee Ultimate is a multi-year guarantee annuity (MYGA) with no annual fee and $10,000 upfront. 
Direct Income is a single premium immediate annuity (SPIA) that has no annual fee. But, you’ll need $25,000 to get started. 

Across the board, from A.M. Best, S&P Global, Fitch, and the Better Business Bureau, Midland has received an A+ rating. Respectively, these grades rank as “superior,” “strong” and “stable. And, they also paid over $ $470 million in annuity benefits just in 2019. 

New York Life

The largest mutual life insurance company in the United States was founded in 1845. And, it’s frequently been the recipient of the best possible ratings by the four independent rating companies; A.M. Best, Fitch, Moody’s, and S&P. Currently, New York Life holds A++, AAA, Aaa, and AA+ grades from these firms, respectively. 
Also, the company has been rated as the best income annuities provider in America every year since 2006 by the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA). And, as if that weren’t enough, New York Life received the highest score among individual annuity providers in customer service by J.D. Power. 
The products that the company offers include;

New York Life Premier Variable Annuity – FP Series is a variable annuity with a $5,000 minimum initial premium. There are fees to aware of though, such as the $30 annual contract fee. 
Clear Income Fixed Annuity – FP Series is a fixed deferred annuity with a $50,000  minimum initial premium. There aren’t annual contract fees, however, 
Secure Term Choice Fixed Annuity II is a fixed deferred annuity with a reasonable $5,000 minimum initial premium and no annual contract fees. 
Secure Term MVA Fixed Annuity II is another fixed deferred annuity with a reasonable $5,000 minimum initial premium. There isn’t an annual contract fee, but since you can add riders expect those various fees. 
Guaranteed Lifetime Income Annuity II is an immediate income annuity. You’ll need $10,000 upfront and there’s no annual charge. 

Northwestern Mutual 

Based in Milwaukee, and dating back to 1857, Northwestern Mutual is an insurance company that just so happens to be the second-largest deferred-income annuity provider in the U.S. Their main selling point is that they’ve “weathered 160 years, two world wars, the Great Depression, and the Great Recession without ever missing a payment (or even coming close).”
And, Northwestern Mutual also proudly states that they’ve “consistently maintained the highest available financial strength ratings from the industry’s third-party rating agencies.” In fact, they have an extremely strong AA+ S&P rating. 
Some of the best annuities offered by Northwestern Mutual include;

Select Fixed Annuity is a fixed annuity with a $10,000 minimum initial premium and no annual fees. 
Select Variable Annuity (Account B) is a variable annuity. Expect the front-loaded contract to contain a 4.50% max sales charge, annual contract fee, and expense risk fee. If back-loaded, you’ll also have an annual and expense fee. There’s also $10,000 to get started. 
Select Immediate Annuity is an immediate annuity that doesn’t require a minimum initial premium. And, there’s no annual contract fee. 

Symetra Life

Founded in 1957 and headquartered in Bellevue, WA Symetra Life is a life insurance and annuity company. To help you retire with confidence, the company offers a fixed deferred annuity, fixed indexed annuity, index-linked annuity, and income annuity. 

Symetra Edge Plus is a fixed indexed annuity requiring $10,000 upfront, but no annual contract fees. 
Symetra Trek is its index-linked annuity. There are no annual contract fees, but a $25,0000 minimum initial premium.
Symetra Custom 5 is a fixed deferred annuity with no annual contract fees and a minimum initial premium of $25,000. 
Advantage Income is a single-premium immediate annuity. You’ll need 10K upfront and there are no annual fees. 

Despite the variety, Symetra is a top-selling index-linked company with $136,794 in sales during the third quarter of 2020. And, it’s also known for paying more than the guaranteed minimum. That means with a Symetra Life contract, such as its Income Edge product, you’ll have one of the best potential annual income options. 
Symetra also has solid financial strength ratings. A.M. Best rated the company an “A” (3rd highest of 16 grades), S&P gave it an “A” (6th highest of 21 grades), and Moody’s rated Symetra an “A1” (5th highest of 21 grades).

OneAmerica

OneAmerica began as a life insurance group in 1877 by the Knights of Pythias but became American Central Life Insurance Company in 1899. As OneAmerica, the company offers individual life, disability, and long-term care insurance, and annuities. And, it’s managed to preserve “superior” financial ratings from A.M.Best, who rated it “A+” and S&P gave the company an “AA-”
OneAmerica’s wheelhouse is offering annuities that will not only provide a guaranteed lifetime income but also ones that address long-term care. That’s because the company offers an SPIA, with $10,000 upfront, known as OneAmerica Annuity Care II that lets you add value for care. 
There’s also a fixed indexed annuity, One America Indexed Annuity Care, that also helps you plan for LTC. There is, however, a $50,000 minimum initial premium. And, its immediate annuity, One America Legacy Care will help you cover LTC expenses. 

Pacific Life 

Founded in 1868 by former California Governor, Leland Stanford, Pacific Life Insurance Company is another insurance company providing life insurance products, pension plans, annuities, and mutual funds. As for annuities, here are the products that the company sells;

Pacific Choice, a variable annuity with a $10,000 minimum initial premium. There’s also a 0.25% administrative fee and a $30 annual contract fee. 
The Pacific Index Foundation is a fixed indexed annuity with no annual fees and a $25,000 minimum initial premium
Pacific Income Provider is its SPIA with no annual fees and $25,000 buy-in.
Pacific Secure Income is a fixed deferred annuity with no annual fees and a $15,000 minimum initial premium.

In Q3 of 2020, Pacific Life was ninth in traditional variable annuity sales with $2,716,030. And, Pacific Life has received the following high ratings; A+ (Superior) from A.M. Best, AA- from both Fitch and S&P, and Moody gave it a good A1.

Protective Life

Established in 1907 in Alabama, this financial service holding company now markets its products in all 50 states. The company, however, mainly focuses on life insurance and annuities. In particular, Protective Life has fixed, indexed, and variable annuities. There’s also an immediate annuity option. 

Protective ProSaver Platinum Plus is a fixed deferred annuity with a $10,000 minimum initial premium and no annual contract fees. 
The Protective Secure Saver is its fixed deferred annuity with $10,000 upfront and no front-end or annual fees.
Protective Indexed Annuity II is a fixed indexed annuity that requires $10,000 to get started. But, there isn’t an annual contract fee. 
Protective Dimensions Annuity IV is a variable annuity with a $50 annual maintenance. You might also expect additional fees, such as variable operating expenses. And, as with its other annuities, a 10 grand minimum initial premium is needed.
Protective ProPayer Income Annuity is an SPIA option with no annual fees. A $50,000 is required. 

While Protective Life may not be a household name, when compared to the likes of Fidelity or Nationwide, it’s still one of the top-selling registered-index-linked companies. And, it has an A+ rating from A.M. Best, AA- from S&P, A1 from Moody’s, and A+ from Fitch.  

Prudential Annuities

We alluded to Prudential earlier. And, it’s not the same company that owns Jackson National Life. Rather, this is the American Fortune 500 company located in Newark, NJ. It’s also the largest insurance company in the U.S. with total assets amounting to over an astounding $1.45 trillion.
As far as annuities go, Prudential offers the following flexible annuities in order to meet your unique retirement goals. 

PruSecure Fixed Indexed Annuity has no annual contract fees but requires a $10,000 minimum initial premium. 
Prudential Fixed Annuity with Daily Advantage Income Benefit also doesn’t come with annual contract fees. There is a 0.95 annual rider fee. And, you’ll need $25,000 to get started. 
Prudential Premier Investment Variable Annuity B Series requires a $10,000 upfront. There’s also investment operating and death benefit fees. And, expect an annual fee that’s lesser than $50 or 2% of your account value.

The company is also one of the top sellers for both variable and index-linked sales. And, it’s also strong ratings from A.M Best (A+), Fitch (AA-), Moody’s (Aa3), and Standard & Poor’s ( AA-). 

Transamerica Life

You’re probably familiar with the famous Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco. But, the company is actually headquartered in Baltimore, MD after being acquired by the Netherlands-based insurer Aegon. Despite this, the company has been around since 1928. 
With the Transamerica Advisory Annuity, you can make the most of your investment because it’s tax-deferred and has lower costs — the company states it’s 70% lower than the average annuity. The company also offers;

Transamerica Inspire Variable Annuity with a low $1,000 minimum initial premium. There are, however, fees associated with this variable annuity including up to $50 annual service charge. There’s also expense risk and administrative charges. 
Transamerica Variable Annuity Series B-Share with a  $1,000 minimum initial premium and similar fees as above. 
The Transamerica Variable Annuity Series C-Share is also similar to the above. 
Transamerica Variable Annuity I-Share also has the same minimum initial premium and fees. 

And, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your annuity is issued by a highly-rated insurer since it falls within the top quarter of the A.M. Best, Moody’s, S&P Global, and Fitch scoring structures.

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4 Things A Successful Hybrid Workforce Requires

4 Things A Successful Hybrid Workforce Requires

As widespread vaccination continues to unfold, business leaders must begin planning for a post-pandemic workforce. It’s important to consider that 77% of employees said they would like to continue working remotely, and another survey even revealed that 30% would quit their jobs entirely if required to return to their desks.Still, many employees and employers do recognize the benefits of in-person work. This is especially true as all the time people have spent videoconferencing during the pandemic has made Zoom fatigue prevalent. What’s more, technology simply can’t replace the full experience of collaborating and engaging in person.

A hybrid work approach could be the happy medium for many. This model offers employees more flexibility when it comes to where and how they work. A hybrid approach can bring greater work-life balance for employees, reduce office expenses for business leaders, and even attract more talent and increase retention.
To realize the benefits of a hybrid workforce, business leaders should address the following considerations:
1. Clear policies and expectations

A hybrid approach should emphasize flexibility. Think of a policy not as a restriction but as guidance to help employees understand how to meet expectations from anywhere. Start with a solid understanding of how your employees work now, how they feel they work best, and how they would prefer to work in the future. Use this information to inform specifics such as office attendance and working hours.

Will days in the office be required or entirely optional? If you decide to require in-person office days, be sure to outline the specific reasoning behind it. If employees need to be online for a set number of hours each day, outline that in the policy. Include guidance and expectations for how employees should communicate times they must be offline during those hours.

“Effective hybrid working means becoming intentional about how, where and when to collaborate across multiple modes of working,” said Alexia Cambon, director of research in Gartner’s HR practice.

2. New management practices
Managing a hybrid workforce will require different skills. Generally, the focus in a hybrid environment should shift from processes to objectives. It’s not about how or where employees work; it’s about what they do. If employees are meeting goals, they should be able to dictate the workflows that help them do so most efficiently. This approach will offer employees greater flexibility in discovering how the hybrid environment can work best for them.
If your hybrid workforce policy allows workers to decide when or whether they will work from the office, managers must also be careful not to incentivize in-office working or reprimand employees for working from home. Employees must feel they have true flexibility to choose.
“While leaders have many decisions and challenges to juggle in preparation for a return to the workplace, one thing is clear — pointing to ‘job requirements’ as the primary reason employees must return to the office will not work,” Kristin Barry and Ben Wigert of Gallup wrote in a recent blog post. Instead, employers should communicate the value proposition of the workplace if they want workers in-office part of the time.
3. Compliance for a dispersed workforce
For companies that deal with sensitive information, especially financial services providers, regulatory compliance deserves an even greater focus when employees are working remotely. Employees might be sharing information on personal devices or just lacking the same compliance reminders they might have in the office.
One way to help employees stay on top of compliance concerns is to make it as easy as possible for them to complete tasks from anywhere — whether in the office, working from the kitchen table, or on the go. They should, for example, be able to report their coming into contact with material non-public information at any time without jumping through hoops.
As Jennifer Sun, CEO of financial compliance software solution StarCompliance, said in a recent article, “Any time you can simplify the self-reporting process, you’re making it likelier that employees do the right thing concerning their access to MNPI — and reduce the burden on your compliance professionals to seek out that information.”
4. Proximity to talent
A great part of a hybrid model is that it can open the door to recruiting talent from anywhere. If you do take this approach, however, consider how you might be able to bring the business closer to them to make in-person collaboration easier when it’s necessary.
“Some roles can be performed from anywhere, but you might need local employees who can commute to your new location during the workweek,” said Subash Alias, CEO of public-private economic development organization Missouri Partnership, in a recent article. “Plus, about 68% of executives think employees should be in the office at least three days a week to maintain a strong company culture. If the town or city you move to has a strong talent pool, you’ll be able to find the workers you need to support your business expansion.”
The pandemic forced employees to adapt swiftly and find new ways to do their best work. Wise business leaders will continue embracing that innovation rather than jumping back into the way things once were. Restructuring your work environment will take time and careful consideration, but the flexibility it will bring to your people and the benefit you will see in return can be well worth the effort.