Fidelity announced Monday that the lifetime income variable annuity that it offers through MetLife, the MetLife Growth and Guaranteed Income annuity, has attracted more than $1 billion in sales since it was first offered a year ago.

Fidelity’s variable annuity sales are up 85% year-over-year through November, with MGGI sales being a significant contributor to that growth.

MGGI is the only deferred variable annuity with a living benefit distributed through Fidelity. It allows investors approaching or living in retirement to use a portion of their retirement savings to provide a guaranteed lifetime income stream for an individual or his or her spouse. It offers the potential for growth when markets are up and downside income protection against market declines.

In addition, it offers investors the flexibility of accessing a portion of their account value at any time during the contract. It pays guaranteed lifetime withdrawals of between 4% and 6% of the single premium investment, depending on the age of the client. It invests in a single fund, the multiple asset allocation Fidelity VIP FundsManager 60% Portfolio.

Recent MetLife research found that 69% of Americans do not feel they have an adequate financial safety net. In addition, Fidelity research found that 74% of investors within five years of retirement are looking for a balance between preservation of their savings and growth, and 46% are considering a retirement income product.

“Strong sales of the MGGI variable annuity show a demand and growing receptiveness in the public for a product that can help individuals secure a steady stream of income in retirement,” said Robert E. Sollmann, executive vice president of MetLife. “MetLife’s overall sales of variable annuities continued to be strong, and collaborating with Fidelity to offer individuals this retirement income solution has been an important component of our success.”

Jeffrey K. Cimini, president of Fidelity Investments Life Insurance Company, added: “Investors have found that making decisions about an annuity can be complicated, which is why we’ve worked with MetLife to develop a straightforward offering that uses a single fund, actively managed by Fidelity, with clear costs that investors can easily understand.”

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