NEW YORK, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, pioneer of the guaranteed minimum income benefit, is now launching Retirement Cornerstone(SM), a variable annuity with a dual-account investment platform expected to transform how investors will view the uses and benefits of variable annuities.
"Last year's market meltdown was a stark reminder of how vulnerable individuals' investment portfolios can be," said Christopher M. "Kip" Condron, chairman and chief executive officer of AXA Equitable. "We believe that Retirement Cornerstone represents a unique response to that sense of vulnerability. It can offer an easy way for investors to put cash back to work and take advantage of what they see as the best growth opportunities, as well as providing downside protection for retirement income."
Retirement Cornerstone is a tax-deferred investment platform that, unlike a traditional annuity, supports two interactive but distinct accounts - one focused on the opportunity to maximize investment performance through some of the most well-respected money managers, the other, an optional account focused on providing innovative retirement protection.
Long-Term Accumulation Account Objective:
- Access the growth potential in more than 90 investment portfolio choices across a broad spectrum of asset classes and investment styles. Most of the actively managed investment portfolios carry top Morningstar Ratings(TM) of four or five stars. This account features some of the most well-respected professional money managers delivered in a tax-deferred structure that may become increasingly valuable if, as many expect, tax rates rise.
Downside-Protection Account Objective:
- Provide a guaranteed income benefit option that invests in asset allocation and index portfolios. Perhaps most important, to help anticipate and protect against the impact of rising interest rates, the Retirement Cornerstone has a new "roll-up" rate declared annually at one point above an average of the 10-year Treasury rate (the initial rate is 5 percent and can adjust to a maximum of 8% and never below 4%). This unique roll-up rate is the annual percentage increase to the benefit base, which is used to calculate a guaranteed minimum income (or withdrawal amount). This innovation, which allows the income benefit to rise in a rising interest rate scenario, sets Retirement Cornerstone apart from the competition.
These tax-deferred complementary accounts in Retirement Cornerstone offer a level of flexibility and efficiency not typical in a variable annuity. This dual-account platform:
- Provides an opportunity for investors to pursue more aggressive investment recovery strategies, while retaining the option of when to optimize the unique guarantee features offered by Retirement Cornerstone;
- Provides access to a professionally managed platform that gives the investor tax control, by providing for tax-free transfers among investment portfolios;
- Allows the investor to sweep cash tax-free from the long-term accumulation account to the downside income protection account to efficiently build lifetime income benefits and respond to changing needs and economic conditions;
- Provides access to the accounts, as well as lifetime income benefits, that lets investors adjust income streams to meet life events and emergencies.
"The extreme volatility of the recent past drove many investors into overly conservative positions at the worst possible moment," Mr. Condron said. "The unique value of Retirement Cornerstone is the simple way it can give people the confidence they need to once again invest for growth, but without giving up the comfort of having a reliable guarantee - all on one platform."
"We've consistently succeeded for more than 150 years by leading the market in innovations like Retirement Cornerstone, and doing so through sustainable, prudent risk management," Mr. Condron said. "The cornerstone of any great building is the architectural basis of its structural integrity, strength and durability - qualities that only a financially stable insurer can offer."
For more information on Retirement Cornerstone, visit www.axa-equitable.com.
About Retirement Cornerstone
Variable annuities are subject to market volatility, including the loss of principal. Withdrawals from annuities are subject to ordinary income tax treatment and, if taken prior to age 59 1/2, may be subject to an additional 10% federal income tax penalty. Withdrawals from the Retirement Cornerstone annuity may also be subject to contractual withdrawal charges. The downside protection account referred to in this release is available as an optional benefit (the "Guaranteed Income Benefit") in the Guaranteed Benefit Account within the Retirement Cornerstone variable annuity, required to be elected at the time of purchase and, when funded, at an additional cost and subject to certain restrictions and limitations. Access to guaranteed annual withdrawal amounts starts after the 5th contract year. Early or excess withdrawals may have an adverse affect on the guarantee. All guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of AXA Equitable. This release does not contain all material provisions of the Retirement Cornerstone contract. Certain types of contracts, features, and benefits may not be available in all jurisdictions.
Consider the charges, risks, expenses and investment objectives before purchasing a variable annuity. Contact a financial professional for a prospectus containing this information. Read it carefully.
Retirement Cornerstone(SM), issued by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company NY, NY and co-distributed by AXA Advisors, LLC and AXA Distributors, LLC, is a service mark of AXA Equitable.
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 and annuity products, as well as investment products and services through its affiliates, including, AXA Advisors, LLC. The company's products and services are distributed to individuals and business owners through its retail distribution channel, AXA Advisors; to the financial services market through its wholesale distribution channel, AXA Distributors, LLC; and to corporations and their employees through its corporate distribution channel, Corporate Markets.
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 www.axa-equitable.com. Guarantees are backed solely by the claims-paying ability of AXA Equitable.
Morningstar Rating(TM) Often simply called the Star Rating, the Morningstar Rating brings performance (returns) and risk together into one evaluation. To determine a portfolio's star rating for a given time period (three, five, or 10 years), the portfolio's risk-adjusted return is plotted on a bell curve: if the portfolio scores in the top 10% of its category, it receives 5 stars (Highest); if it falls in the next 22.5% it receives 4 stars (Above Average); a place in the middle 35% earns 3 stars (Average); those lower still, in the next 22.5%, receive 2 stars (Below Average); and the bottom 10% get only 1 star (Lowest). The Overall Morningstar Rating is a weighted average of the available three-, five-, and 10-year ratings. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Contract form #s: 2010BASE-A/B or 2010BASE-I-A/B and any state variations.
SOURCE AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company