When DST Systems of Kansas City, Mo. surveyed the financial intermediaries that use the company's advisor website to pinpoint what was missing from it, the consensus was variable annuity complexes, according to Kyle Mallot, client services officer at DST. Consequently, in January, the company added a variable annuity interface to the site and signed up the annuities operation of the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company of Fort Wayne, Ind. as the first company to provide data to the site.

Despite the desire on the part of intermediaries to see variable annuities included on a data aggregation site, other annuity companies have not joined, according to the company. DST has recently begun an aggressive marketing campaign to attract variable annuity companies, according to Mallot. The company will begin to promote the variable annuity interface specifically at upcoming industry events, he said.

Vision, which was originally introduced in March, 1998, allows financial intermediaries to gain access to instantaneous fund and shareholder data and documentation and perform fund transactions, according to the company. Currently, over 150 mutual fund families participate on the Vision platform, according to DST.

"Once a few more companies get on board, this is the only place on the Internet where you'll have any type of real-time consolidation of variable annuity data contracted," said Mallot.

In order for a variable annuity company to join the Vision platform, it has to develop its own external interface to communicate with the DST site, according to Mallot.

DST consulted six variable annuity companies in developing the interface, which was completed late in 2000, according to Mallot. Lincoln was involved in a test of the variable annuity features during which the company accessed pricing, contract, and transaction history information using the system, according to DST.

DST also plans to introduce a variable universal life facet to the site in the future, said Mallot.

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