March 2014: Advisor Site Annuity Illustration Systems

This Annuity Monitor Report examines the annuity illustration systems, which allow financial professionals to generate informative ledgers of their clients’ product and retirement needs. The three key criteria taken into consideration for this report include:

  • How accessible are illustration tools within the advisor websites and where are they housed?
  • Is the illustration tool’s interface user-friendly and easy to navigate?
  • Does the ledger provide in-depth performance and hypothetical analysis?

Overall, we found that firms offer average to above average illustration systems. Four firms received a grade in the A range due mostly to their exceptional systems, which offer unique report preference options, product updates, illustration guides and more. Eight firms ranked in the B scale due to their noteworthy illustration fixtures, such as client management capabilities and an option to pre-fill client information. These firms, however, could improve in a few key areas, such as by offering additional report preference options.


Navigation to the annuity illustration systems is favorable in this report as firms recognize the importance of the financial professional sales tool. Eighty-six percent of firms in this report offer direct access to illustration systems from a Sales Tools page or Resources page. Seventy-one percent include access points from the main navigation menu and from the advisor site homepage.


The majority of firms (62%) feature a commonly recognizable ForeSight software system, with the other firms using an in-house system. The most inconsistent feature was output preferences before yielding the ledger. Thirty-eight percent of firms enable advisors to include graphs and charts in the ledger, such as historical performance charts, death/income benefit graphs, allocation pie charts and accumulation mountain graphs. We did find that all firms allow users to access a quick view screen with a summary of account values before rendering a ledger.


All of the illustration systems in this report generate ledgers as PDFs with ample product detail and potential account values. Most firms utilize tables in ledgers to highlight the key product features over an extended period of time.


Additional key findings include:

  • Sixty nine percent and 54% of firms provide a glossary of terms or a performance analysis report, respectively.
  • Thirty one percent provide guides that assist users with the illustration tool.
  • Only four firms offer the option to add input summary pages in the ledger.
  • Ten firms allow users to pre-fill client information into the illustration interface.
  • Thirty eight percent provide a description of the annuity product in the ledger.
  • Only one firm offers a downloadable annuity system.