Flourish Annuities FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Learn more about Flourish Annuities:*

Why is Flourish adding annuities to its product line?

Our vision is for Flourish Annuities to be the premier platform for independent RIAs to offer access to fee-based annuities to their clients. Since 2017, Flourish has been on a mission to help advisors better serve clients and improve outcomes by delivering innovative, delightful, RIA-centric solutions for every aspect of client’s financial lives. Clients increasingly expect their advisors to help with all aspects of their money, expanding beyond investments to the worlds of banking, crypto, and insurance.

In the world of insurance, the annuities market has seen record sales in the last few years, demonstrating an area of huge potential, yet adoption in the independent RIA space has been essentially nonexistent. We want to make it easy for advisors to offer clients access to annuities within their existing workflows so they always have access to the best solutions for their clients with the goal of improving client outcomes, all with the support of Flourish Insurance Agency, a licensed, outsourced insurance desk that handles product recommendations, sales, suitability review and more, so that advisors do not need to be insurance licensed. Read more in the letter introducing Flourish Annuities from Flourish CEO Max Lane.


Will you market Flourish Annuities to my clients?  

We do not send any unsolicited marketing materials to end-clients with respect to any Flourish product until an advisor explicitly decides to bring that product to their clients. We updated Flourish.com to announce the launch and clients may see annuities mentioned there, but we will not email clients about Flourish Annuities or reach out to them directly in any way unless you initiate the process.


I often see information that all annuities are bad/expensive, is that true?

No, this just isn’t true. Annuities certainly have a reputation to overcome, especially in the RIA space. It is true that many products featured high fees and significant complexity and were brought to market with aggressive sales practices.

In recent years, however, insurance carriers have introduced a number of fee-based annuities, which have no commissions and typically have lower fees. We believe many of those annuities stack up very well against products commonly used by advisors today, particularly multi-year guaranteed annuities (MYGAs), which offer attractive risk adjusted returns and principal protection. With a MYGA, “the rate you see is the rate you get” – i.e., the rate is net of fees – and so it is easy for you to evaluate whether the product offers a compelling risk-adjusted return in comparison to other commonly used fixed-income instructions.

While we don’t think annuities are right for all clients, we do think annuities have a place in the RIA toolkit.


Which products do you offer? 

We are starting with simple, fee-based multi-year guaranteed annuities (MYGAs). MYGAs pay a fixed rate over a guaranteed contract term (commonly two to seven years), provide complete principal protection unless funds are withdrawn early, and provide tax deferral until funds are withdrawn.^^ MYGAs are conceptually similar to CDs in the role they play in an investment portfolio, but are issued by insurance companies rather than banks.

Over the next 12-18 months, we plan on expanding Flourish Annuities with additional product types and insurance carriers, and are particularly interested in both Fixed Indexed Annuities and Registered Index Linked Annuities. We will be guided by our research on what products will benefit RIA portfolio construction or could potentially be used to improve client outcomes. 


Why are you starting with MYGAs?

MYGAs are simple. Our research shows that MYGAs often offer attractive risk-adjusted returns in comparison to common fixed-income instruments used by advisors today – at times yielding over 1% more per year than comparable substitutes – and should therefore be on the shelf for RIAs. In addition, MYGAs offer strong behavioral benefits. Unlike instruments like bond funds or brokered CDs whose price fluctuates with interest rate movements, the value in the MYGA will not go down unless funds are withdrawn, which could help clients feel more confident in times of market turmoil. 


Do you plan to offer any other products? 

Yes. We are already in the process of evaluating and expanding our range of annuity options to allow RIAs to provide solutions for a broader set of client needs. From different types of portfolio protection to guaranteed income solutions we are excited to further expand the RIA toolkit. 


What is MassMutual’s involvement in Flourish Annuities?

Flourish is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MassMutual, acquired in 2021, and operates independently from MassMutual. Bringing annuities to advisors was in our founding vision back in 2017, and we began to heavily plan for Flourish Annuities back in 2020 based on feedback received directly by RIAs, over a year before joining MassMutual. We have always believed that advisors should have access to the best products, regardless of product type.

Joining MassMutual was incredibly fortunate – if you’re going to reinvent the way annuities are sold, it’s helpful to leverage the resources and expertise of one of the largest insurance carriers in the country. In addition, MassMutual Ascend## – one of the leading fee-based annuity carriers in the country – is one of the first insurance carriers to join the Flourish Annuities platform. With that said, Flourish Annuities offers RIAs a true marketplace, where all products and carriers are evaluated on a level playing field. 


Are you only offering MassMutual products?

No. We know that having choice and selection is incredibly important to fiduciary RIAs, and so we are building a highly curated marketplace with multiple insurance carriers. Every product will be chosen because we believe it deserves a place in the RIA toolkit.


Will I need to be insurance licensed?

No. One of the benefits of the solution is that Flourish Insurance Agency serves as your fully licensed outsourced insurance desk, handling all aspects of the annuity, from carrier appointment and product recommendation to post sales support.


Will I receive commissions on annuities sold through Flourish Annuities?

No. Unlike traditional annuities, where advisors are paid a commission by the insurance carrier, fee-based annuities offered by Flourish Annuities do not pay commission to the RIA.


Will I be able to charge a fee on this?/How are advisors paid on fee-based annuities?

We expect advisors will want to charge their standard advisory fees based on the value of the annuity, essentially just considering it a part of the portfolio that you manage. Charging an advisory fee out of a MYGA, however, is a taxable event for the client and is generally operationally burdensome and could be disallowed by carriers. As a result, we anticipate that advisors will calculate billing amounts using their performance reporting software and then actually pull fees out of a designated billing account at your primary custodian, much like you would bill on any illiquid investment.^^

Responses are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute any legal, tax, or accounting advice. We recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney and accountant.


Can I only bill my fee on the original contract value?

No. Like any other asset class, advisor billing can be based on the daily value of the annuity for the period that is being billed. MYGAs increase in value every day.^^


Can advisors and clients see the value of the annuity in their Flourish account?

Yes. Both clients and advisors will see annuities through your existing logins within your Flourish account, alongside any other Flourish products.


Will Flourish Annuities be integrated with my performance reporting partner?

The fact that we already have integrations with Envestnet | Tamarac, Orion, eMoney, and Black Diamond was critical to getting Flourish Annuities off the ground. We are working with our integration partners to make Flourish Annuities data available within our existing feeds and expect most, if not all, of our current integration partners to be available within the next few months. 


I already work with an Outsourced Insurance Desk (OID), how does this compare?/How does this compare to existing solutions?

Independent advisors have countless ways of accessing annuities, from going directly to insurance carriers to working with insurance desks to partnering with local insurance agents. Yet the fact remains that annuity adoption in the RIA space is effectively a rounding error, totaling less than 0.5% of annual annuity sales ​– clearly demonstrating that no one has cracked the code on annuity adoption in the RIA space. In conversation with hundreds of advisors, we’ve identified several core hurdles to adoption, ranging from completely outdated technology to overly complex products to insurance licensing.

Flourish Annuities was built to systematically address those hurdles, making it simple for independent RIAs to bring fee-based annuities into their practice. In brief, we’ve completely rebuilt the technology underpinning how annuities are offered to make it digital, delightful, and fully RIA-centric, and paired that with a curated marketplace of fee-based annuities. We believe Flourish Annuities is the first technology platform truly built from the ground-up for the independent RIA space, from automatic ingestion of client data from a CRM to easy prefilling of applications to automated straight-through processing with carriers. Nothing like it exists today.


What happens at the end of the initial guarantee rate period?

If the client did nothing, the funds would stay in the annuity but roll into a new 1-year term with the rate offered at that time and, in that case, would follow the same path already discussed. Alternatively, it could be rolled into another annuity, hopefully one that is supported by Flourish Annuities and, again, stay in the same path. They could also cash out of the annuity and move it into another investment vehicle. 


What happens if Flourish Annuities ceases doing business during the contract?

Clients ultimately hold contracts directly with the insurance carrier, so the contract would remain in force and the client (or, the client’s advisor) could reach out directly to the carrier for assistance. 

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Flourish is an online platform through which investors can access financial services and products. Flourish’s offerings are provided by different entities and are subject to different terms, investor protections, and risks. Flourish Cash is offered by Flourish Financial LLC, a registered broker-dealer and FINRA member. Flourish Financial LLC is not a bank. Check the background of Flourish Financial LLC and its personnel on FINRA's BrokerCheck. Flourish Crypto is offered by Paxos Trust Company, LLC, a New York limited purpose trust company regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services that provides custody and execution services for the Flourish Crypto accounts, and Flourish Digital Assets LLC, registered in New York as a commodity broker-dealer and provides website and other services and support for Flourish Crypto accounts. Paxos is not an affiliate of Flourish. Flourish Annuities refers generally to the annuity platform operated by Flourish Technologies LLC, where applicable, and to Flourish Insurance Agency LLC in its capacity as a licensed insurance producer providing insurance services related to such platform. Flourish Insurance Agency LLC does business in California under the name Flourish Digital Insurance Agency. An annuity is an insurance contract. Annuities shown on the platform are sold through Flourish Insurance Agency LLC, a licensed insurance producer, with offices in Jersey City, New Jersey, and are issued by one or more approved licensed life insurance companies. The Flourish entities mentioned above are affiliates. Flourish Cash, Flourish Crypto, and Flourish Annuities accounts are separate accounts and only assets in Flourish Cash accounts may be eligible for protection by the FDIC or SIPC. Please review the Legal section of our website, and the disclosures provided with each Flourish service or product, for further information. If you were introduced or invited to Flourish by an investment advisor or other third party, please be aware that, unless otherwise disclosed to you, they are not affiliated with any Flourish entity. The role of the investment advisor or other firm that invited you to Flourish may vary between different Flourish services and products, as further described in your terms of service. © 2024 Flourish. All rights reserved. 

* Flourish Annuities refers generally to the annuity platform operated by Flourish Technologies LLC, where applicable, and to Flourish Insurance Agency LLC in its capacity as a licensed insurance producer providing insurance services related to such platform, and where applicable, the individual annuity contracts intended to be purchased by individual clients of registered investment advisors (“RIAs”). Flourish Insurance Agency LLC does business in California under the name Flourish Digital Insurance Agency.

An annuity is an insurance contract. Annuities shown on the platform are sold through Flourish Insurance Agency LLC, with offices in Jersey City, New Jersey, a licensed insurance producer, and are issued by one or more approved licensed life insurance companies. The issuing insurance company, not any Flourish company, is solely responsible for its own financial and contractual obligations. All benefits and guarantees of the annuity contract are subject to the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company. This is not a proposal or a solicitation to purchase insurance. Flourish Annuities is not available to New York residents.

## MassMutual Ascend Life Insurance CompanySM (Cincinnati, Ohio) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual).

MassMutual Ascend Life Insurance Company, and Flourish Insurance Agency LLC and affiliated Flourish entities, are each wholly-owned subsidiaries of MassMutual Life Insurance Company. MassMutual Ascend Life Insurance Company and not MassMutual Life Insurance Company, is fully responsible for its contract obligations.

^^ Flourish Insurance Agency LLC and its Flourish affiliates, and issuing insurance companies do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Applicants and purchasers should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.