February 20, 2019
NEW YORK – AXA Equitable Life, a leading financial services company, today announced the availability of Semester Strategies, a new asset allocation investment program designed for K-12 403(b) retirement plan participants.1 Semester Strategies combines an evolving asset allocation plan commonly found in target-date funds, with some downside market protection2 and the financial guidance of a licensed professional. This holistic approach – combining high-quality products with trusted and personalized financial advice – is central to AXA Equitable Life’s mission to help customers retire with dignity.
Semester Strategies is an optional feature within an AXA Equitable Life variable annuity contract for 403(b) retirement plans,3 and provides educators with a simple way to invest in a diversified portfolio with potential for growth. When available under their employer’s 403(b) plan, individuals will have access to model portfolios that range from conservative to more aggressive based on their years remaining to retirement, risk tolerance and stated investment return objectives. Each model portfolio considers the need for growth earlier on and adjusts to a more conservative approach over time.
SWBC Investment Advisory Services, an independent, SEC-registered investment advisor, created the model portfolios exclusively for AXA Equitable Life. SWBC provides ongoing fiduciary oversight for the program.
“As the leading provider of 403(b) retirement plans for K-12 educators, we continue to look for ways to innovate and provide greater value for our clients,” said Steve Scanlon, Managing Director and Head of Group Retirement at AXA Equitable Life. “Current pension benefits alone are often not enough to allow individuals to live comfortably in retirement. We built Semester Strategies with educators’ unique retirement planning needs in mind by designing it to complement existing pensions with additional fiduciary oversight.”
Semester Strategies is designed to complement a pension by providing more exposure to equity markets, and providing protection for investment losses of up to 10 percent while allowing investment growth up to a cap. This built-in downside protection is offered through an investment option2 in an AXA Equitable Life variable annuity contract for 403(b) retirement plans.
AXA Equitable Life is the leading 403(b) retirement plan provider in the K-12 market by contributions and assets under management, according to a recent industry survey.4 The company’s Group Retirement business was created nearly 40 years ago specifically to serve the unique retirement savings needs of K-12 teachers.
In addition, there are more than 1,000 registered and licensed AXA Advisors Financial Professionals who specifically focus on working with educators and school staff to provide holistic financial services. Many of these financial professionals have a personal connection to educators that has drawn them to this work. Recent independent research commissioned by AXA Equitable Life found K-12 educators who work with a financial professional reported median 403(b) retirement account balances nearly double of those who do not work with a professional.5
Subject to regulatory approval, the Semester Strategies asset allocation program is available to participants in AXA Equitable EQUI-VEST® variable annuity contract for 403(b) retirement plans and will expand to additional AXA Equitable Life variable annuity contracts available to 403(b) and 457 retirement plans in the future. More information can be found at www.axa.com/semesterstrategies.
About AXA Equitable Life
AXA Equitable Life is a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EQH). Founded in 1859, the company is one of America’s leading financial services providers with 2.4 million customers and more than $209 billion of assets under management (as of 9/30/18). AXA Equitable Life’s mission is to help people retire with dignity, protect their families and prepare for their financial futures with confidence.
As with any investment or investment feature, it’s important for current and prospective EQUI-VEST® variable annuity contract holders to understand all applicable restrictions and limitations associated with Semester Strategies. As some examples, the EQUI-VEST® variable annuity contract holder’s Planned Retirement Age cannot be later than the maturity date under their contract, and those currently invested in the contract’s Personal Income Benefit (PIB) are not eligible to participate in Semester Strategies (“Program”) at this time. Also, those with current investments in the SIO may not be eligible to participate in the Program if their current SIO allocations are higher than the Model Portfolio allocations to the SIO.
This press release does not cover all material provisions of the EQUI-VEST® variable annuity contract. For an EQUI-VEST® prospectus, the prospectus for the underlying portfolios, the prospectus for the Structured Investment Option and any applicable supplements, which contain detailed information about the EQUI-VEST® contract, including risks, charges, expenses, investment objectives, limitations and restriction, contact an AXA Advisors Financial Professional. Read these documents and consider this information carefully before purchasing a contract.
The EQUI-VEST® variable deferred annuity is a long-term financial product that is designed for retirement purposes; a contractual agreement in which payments are made to AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, which agrees to pay an income stream or lump-sum amount at a later date. There are contract limitations, fees and charges associated with variable deferred annuities, which include, but are not limited to, mortality and expense risk charges, withdrawal charges and administrative fees. For costs and complete details, see the prospectus or contact your financial professional. The variable investment options offered in this contract will fluctuate and are subject to market risk, including loss of principal.
EQUI-VEST® is a registered service mark of, and is issued by, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, NY, NY 10104. AXA Advisors Financial Professionals offer securities through AXA Advisors, LLC (NY, NY, 212-314-4600), member FINRA, SIPC, and offer annuity and insurance products through AXA Network, LLC (AXA Network Insurance Agency of California, LLC; AXA Network Insurance Agency of Utah, LLC; AXA Network of Puerto Rico, Inc.).
1Semester Strategies is offered through an independent third party, SWBC Retirement Plan Services. SWBC Retirement Plan Services is an unaffiliated third-party and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SWBC, which was established in 1976. Advisory services are offered by SWBC Investment Advisory Services, LLC, d/b/a SWBC Retirement Plan Services, a Registered Investment Advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission. SWBC Retirement Plan Services focuses exclusively on serving the retirement plan market. AXA Equitable has entered into an agreement to make SWBC Retirement Plan Services’ fiduciary services available through Semester StrategiesSM, which is available through AXA Equitable Life’s EQUI-VEST variable annuity contract.
2The downside risk protection of up to negative 10 percent is offered through the Structured Investment Option (SIO), available through a feature in the EQUI-VEST variable annuity contract. If the negative return is in excess of the built-in Segment Buffer protection feature, there is risk of substantial loss of principal. The SIO is an obligation and subject to the claims-paying ability of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. This is not a complete description of the SIO or of the EQUI-VEST® contract.
3AXA Equitable’s variable annuity contract for 403(b) retirement plans is the EQUI-VEST® variable annuity contract.
4See LIMRA’s “Not-for-Profit Retirement Market Report, Q3 2018.” AXA Equitable Life was ranked as the largest provider in a survey of 15 companies based on K-12 403(b) contributions and assets under management.
5See www.axa.com/valueoftheadvisor2018 for full research.