The mutual fund world may reside far from that of annuities, but fixed annuities have gained momentum as investors have sought out safe havens for their money. While single-digit fixed annuity yields seemed unappealing during the bull market, now, returns not preceded by a negative sign turn heads.(see chart, page 8).

"The reason for the increase certainly isn't high interest rates. I think it's the fact that, since equity prices are also falling, people are looking for a safe place to put their money, and they're looking for guarantees," said Eric Sondergeld, corporate vice president and director of the retirement research center at LIMRA International of Windsor, Conn.

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