It's counterintuitive-wealth managers are ratcheting up the price and providing lower returns on variable annuities. Some providers have doubled prices in the past six months, and more changes are expected.

Steve Mabry, a senior vice president of annuity product development for Axa Equitable, said the New York company repriced its variable annuity with a living benefit guarantee in November and again in February. "These products are dependent on the interest rate environment," Mabry explained. "Based on the low interest rate condition and the high volatility in the equity markets, we felt it was prudent to make an adjustment."

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