Variable annuity assets for the second quarter were $829 billion, down 8.9% from the previous year’s $910 billion, according to a report from the National Association for Variable Annuities. Flow figures present a contradictory picture, as total premium flow figures appear relatively stable, while net flow indicates a continued decline in VA assets.

Total premium flows remained nearly level at $28.8 billion, only 1.8% below last year’s flows of $29.3 billion and 10.2% better than the first quarter at $26.2 billion. Net flows, on the other hand, were down a dramatic 18.8% from the second quarter of last year, from $8.3 billion in the second quarter of 2002 to $6.7 billion this year. Furthermore, despite an increase in total premium flows over last quarter, net flows actually decreased by 16.3% from $8.1 billion last quarter.

The picture has become increasingly grim for equity-based accounts in variable annuities. In addition to the overall decrease in annuity assets, the percentage of assets allocated to equity accounts has gone down from 58.5% at the end of 2001 to 54.5% at the end of June. Most of those assets ended up in fixed accounts, with the percentage of assets in such accounts rising from 22.3% to 25.2%. Bond sub-accounts have increased from 7.0% of assets to 8.0% of assets.

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