AXA Equitable Enhances its Retirement Cornerstone® Variable Annuity in Response to Historic Low Interest Rate Environment

Special Two-Year Rate Hold Offers Clients a Way to Manage Both Low and Rising Treasuries

Sep 14, 2011, 11:01 ET from AXA Equitable

NEW YORK, Sept. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company announced today a special two-year rate hold on the deferral bonus roll-up and annual withdrawal rates on the benefit bases of its groundbreaking Retirement Cornerstone variable annuity's optional Guaranteed Income Benefit rider.

The rates now in effect and valid through Dec. 31, 2011, are a 6% deferral and a 5.5% withdrawal. New business contracts issued Sept. 1, 2011 and later receive the deferral bonus roll-up and withdrawal rates that are in effect at contract issue for two contract years.

"People saving for retirement today are faced with the unique challenges of both unsettling market volatility and anemically low interest rates," said Nick Lane, president of AXA Equitable's Retirement Savings division. "Today's enhancement to our Retirement Cornerstone variable annuity gives these frustrated savers a growth strategy for riding out today's low interest rates and preparing to take advantage of the potential for rising rates."

Retirement Cornerstone, introduced in 2010, is a tax-deferred platform that, unlike a traditional annuity, supports two interactive but distinct accounts – one focused on the opportunity to maximize investment growth potential through over 110 sub-account fund choices, the other on providing innovative retirement income protection that can help address the inflationary impact of rising interest rates.

The product's roll-up benefit base is used to calculate Retirement Cornerstone's guaranteed minimum benefit or annual withdrawal amount. During the special two-year rate hold period, the 6% deferral bonus roll-up rate compounds on the roll-up benefit base, until clients begin to take withdrawals. A 5.5% annual roll-up rate on benefit bases compounds after the first withdrawal, within the two year period.

Beginning with the third contract year, the roll-up benefit bases will have roll-up rates tied to the current 10-year Treasury rate plus 1.5% and will renew annually. Once a contract holder begins taking withdrawals (known as the "income phase"), the annual roll-up rate is equal to the 10-Year U.S. Treasury rate plus 1%. Both rates can be as high as 8% and will never be less than 4%.

"Today's fast-changing market conditions call for innovative product strategies," said Steve Mabry, senior vice president of Individual Annuity Product Development at AXA Equitable. "Our enhanced Retirement Cornerstone variable annuity represents a way for investors to put cash back to work to help protect their retirement income and take advantage of potential growth opportunities."

About Retirement Cornerstone®

The Retirement Cornerstone® variable annuity contains two distinct accounts offering Investment Performance and Protection with Investment Performance within a tax-deferred single platform, providing an innovative, comprehensive approach to managing retirement needs. The Investment Performance Account offers an extensive platform of over 110 highly rated investment portfolios from well-known investment managers. The Protection with Investment Performance Account includes the Guaranteed Income Benefit (GIB) and Guaranteed Minimum Death Benefits (GMDB). The GIB ensures you will be able to generate lifetime income no matter how your investment portfolios perform, and no matter how long you live, as long as you stay within certain withdrawal guidelines. As your needs change over the years, you can simply transfer assets from the Investment Performance Account to this Protection with Investment Performance Account until age 75. Transfers from the Protection with Investment Performance Account to the Investment Performance Account are not allowed.

A variable annuity like Retirement Cornerstone® is a long-term financial product in the form of a contract between you and an insurance company that is designed for retirement purposes. In essence, an annuity is a contractual agreement in which payment(s) are made to an insurance company, which agrees to pay out income or a lump sum amount at a later date.

You may choose to fund the Guaranteed Income Benefit after your contract start date by making a contribution or transfer to the Protection with Investment Performance Account. The Guaranteed Income Benefit option has specific age requirements and percentage withdrawal limits that must be complied with to obtain the benefit. There are contract limitations and fees and withdrawal charges associated with variable annuities, which include, but are not limited to, operations fees, sales and withdrawal charges, administrative fees, and charges for optional benefits. Withdrawals may reduce the death benefit and living benefit, will reduce the cash surrender value, and will, for tax purposes, come from any gain in the contract first. There is a seven year withdrawal charge period which declines from 7% for the Series B product.

All contract and rider guarantees, including optional benefits and any fixed investment option crediting rates or annuity payout rates, are backed by the claims-paying ability of AXA Equitable. They are not backed by the broker/dealer from which this annuity product is purchased, by the insurance agency from which this annuity is purchased or any affiliates of those entities and none makes any representations or guarantees regarding the claims-paying ability of AXA Equitable.

Amounts in a variable annuity's variable investment portfolios are subject to fluctuation in value and market risk, including loss of principal. See a prospectus for more detail. Withdrawals from annuities are subject to normal income tax treatment and, if taken prior to age 59½, may be subject to an additional 10% federal income tax penalty. Withdrawals may also be subject to a contractual withdrawal charge.

AXA Equitable may discontinue contributions and transfers among investment options or make other changes in contribution and transfer requirements and limitations. If we discontinue contributions and transfers into the Protection with Investment Performance Account, you will no longer be able to fund your guaranteed benefits.

Not all types of contracts, features, and benefits are available in all jurisdictions and all markets.

This release does not cover all material provisions of the Retirement Cornerstone® contract. For costs and complete details of coverage, speak to your Financial Professional.

Retirement Cornerstone(SM) is a service mark of AXA Equitable and is issued by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company NY, NY and is co-distributed by AXA Advisors, LLC and AXA Distributors, LLC,

You should carefully consider the investment objectives, charges, and risks of a variable annuity before investing. For a prospectus containing this and other information, please contact a financial professional. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.

About AXA Equitable
In business since 1859, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (NY, NY) is a leading financial protection company and one of the nation's premier providers of life insurance, annuity, and financial products and services. The company's products and services are distributed to individuals and business owners through its retail distribution channel, AXA Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) and to the financial services market through its wholesale distribution channel, AXA Distributors, LLC. Find AXA Equitable on Facebook and Twitter or visit the company's multi-media newsroom The Source @ AXA Equitable.

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" refers to AXA, a French holding company for an international group of insurance and financial services companies together with its direct and indirect consolidated subsidiaries. For more information, visit

Contract form #s: ICC10BASE1 and any state variations

SOURCE AXA Equitable