For the first time ever, bank holding companies (BHC) were required by the federal government to report annuity fees and commissions—and it turns out Wachovia earned more than any other BHC.
Wachovia reported $438 million in commissions from annuity sales. JPMorgan Chase & Co. came in second with $163 million, followed by Bank of America ($125 million), Wells Fargo ($116 million), and Suntrust Banks ($115 million). Bank Market Research compiled the list from the Federal Reserve Board’s Y-9 filings, which included annuity sales information from nearly 400 BHCs.
Andrew Singer of the Bank Insurance Market Research Group says Wachovia and Bank of America’s annuity fees include non-branch business. HSBC North America is expected to also be in top 10, but has not yet filed its report. Because this is the first time such information has been required of banks, comparison figures are unavailable.
While there is no breakout for fixed versus variable annuities in the data, Singer says variable annuities are experiencing a big push in the bank distribution channel. “Traditionally the fixed annuities are bigger in banks, but in a climate like this, when you’ve got this inverted yield curve or flat yield curve for along time, it’s really pushed the balance towards the variable annuities,” says Singer.