Banks’ sales of fixed and variable annuities remained largely flat in November.

Fixed annuities sales were steady at $1.1 billion, whereas variable annuities gained $100 million from a month earlier ending November at $1.5 billion, according to data from Kehrer-LIMRA.

However, a peak inside those numbers reveals some interesting trends: First, November marks the third straight month that variable annuities have trumped fixed-annuity sales, and the first month since November 2007 that variable annuities were a larger part of banks’ revenue mix, said Janet Cappelletti, associate research director of Kehrer-LIMRA in Windsor, Conn. “If they continue on this trajectory, variable annuities should make a strong comeback,” she said.

Meanwhile, low interest rates continue to dog fixed-annuity sales, but they’re gaining ground against their nemesis, CDs. In October, the average five-year CD paid six basis points more than a five-year fixed annuity, but in November fixed annuities gained ground, paying three basis points more on average. New data for December suggests that fixed annuities are gaining ground fast—they’re now 23 basis points ahead.

“Our rate watch for December shows that while the average five-year CD is paying 1.5%, the average fixed annuity is now paying 1.73%, which is quite a jump,” Cappelletti said. “So I think we’re looking at better days ahead.”


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