Do annuities have a place in group retirement plans? There’s a lot of commentary before the Department of Labor about how to handle it if they do, and some companies are going ahead and offering annuities in 401(k) plans already.

So far there doesn’t seem to be much demand from plan participants, but clearly insurers are pushing hard to get their piece of the trillions now invested in 401(k) plans. Up until now, the fiduciary responsibility regulations of 401(k) plan sponsors have more or less kept insurers out of this market. That’s why they are so interested right now in getting a fair harbor provisions straightened out so, for example, plan sponsors won’t be held liable if an insurer offering an annuity in their plan goes out of business.

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