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Annuities

An annuity is a type of investment that pays you a guaranteed stream of income over a period of time. A major attraction of annuities is their certainty, when you purchase an annuity you know how much you will get and how often.

Annuities are products that are purchased from providers such as super funds and insurance companies with a lump sum. Annuities pay out a monthly, quarterly, half yearly or yearly cash flow and the payment can be increased each year by a fixed percentage or indexed to inflation depending on the type of annuity you purchase. Sometimes annuity payments vary depending on the performance of the underlying assets.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what an annuity is, let’s look at some of the ways that annuity products can differ.

The period of time that your annuity pays out a cash flow can change. Common time periods for annuities include till the rest of your life, a fixed number of years, your life expectancy and the guaranteed period. The guaranteed period option means that if you die within a certain period of time, your nominated beneficiary will receive your remaining payments as an income stream or a lump payment.

Alternatively, some other annuities allow you to nominate a “reversionary beneficiary” who will receive a percentage of your payments instead.

Annuity pay out amounts can also change. Fixed annuities are those that pay out a fixed amount whereas variable annuity cash flows might change depending on the underlying asset’s performance for that period of time. This higher risk option decreases their reliable and consistent nature but means that you can take advantage of higher performing years.

Annuities are a common investment for pensioners and retirees as they are a guaranteed regular income stream. The consistency of annuities means that unlike other investment types annuities can be relied upon to not run out before you die (if you chose the “for life” option) and the regular nature of the payments allows for budgeting for years in the future.

Super funds and insurance companies are the main sellers of annuity products.

 

Annuities are locked in after being purchased which is both a pro and a con. On one hand, this means that they can be relied upon and people, especially pensioners need not worry about outliving the annuity (depending on the option chosen) but on the other hand it means that a large sum of money has been tied up into this investment product. There are often fees (usually decreasing over time) if you wish to get out of an annuity. Therefore, the illiquid nature of annuities can be both appealing and frustrating.

Related topics

When you invest in an Active ETF you are investing in a portfolio of many different assets. The Active ETF is actively managed by a portfolio manager and investment team. You will receive distributions of the fund’s net income.

 

Active ETFs are actively managed by a portfolio manager and investment team to generate alpha and outperform a set benchmark. To invest in an Active ETF you will need to buy some units using your broker. You will also pay a management fee which is usually included in the unit price and in return for investing in the Active ETF you will receive distributions of the Active ETF's net income.

 

Investing in an Active ETF means that you will own units in the fund but not the underlying securities or derivatives themselves.

They provide access to a range of asset classes and investment strategies that non-institutional investors may not ordinarily have access to, for example international equities, fixed income securities and currency markets. By investing in an Active ETF/EQMF you can achieve a level of diversification that would normally be too difficult to realise investing in each asset individually. Active ETFs/EQMFs also have no minimum investment requirements which makes them more accessible. They benefit investors who prefer an active investing strategy and want their money to outperform the benchmark.  

 

Furthermore, Active ETFs/EQMFs are a way of investing in an actively managed fund without the hassle of the paperwork required by traditional unlisted managed funds. With no waiting times and the ability to choose which price you invest in the fund, Active ETFs/EQMFs make investing more accessible. Investing more money is as simple as purchasing new units. Investments in Active ETFs/EQMFs are more liquid than traditional managed funds making them a more flexible choice.

A traditional unlisted managed fund often has minimum investment requirements that an Active ETF does not have. Managed funds are not listed on the exchange, and thus require much more paperwork to invest in the fund. Active ETFs, on the other hand, can be traded easily through a broker. Active ETFs can be traded like ordinary shares unlike managed funds.

The increased paperwork associated with traditional unlisted managed funds means that you may have to wait before your money gets invested. Active ETFs make investing more accessible by allowing you to invest quickly and hassle free with the help of your broker. This also means that investments in Active ETFs are more liquid than traditional unlisted managed funds.

Nothing, they are different names for the same investment vehicle. They are also sometimes known as listed managed funds, exchange quoted managed funds (EQMFs) or quoted managed funds. 

An Active ETF is a managed fund traded on a stock exchange. They function like managed funds, but traded like shares which can be bought and sold during trading day on the stock exchange. Active ETFs are actively managed by fund managers to generate alpha and outperform relevant benchmarks.

Active ETFs will aim to beat the benchmark using a number of active investing strategies. They operate in a similar way to traditional managed funds but have the benefit of transparent, live intra-day pricing and market making ability which ensures liquidity 

Investors invest in the Active ETF by using a stockbroker as if they were buying a share. Similarly, liquidating the investment follows a similar process to selling a share. This means that your Active ETF can be monitored and reported like any of your other shares.

Active ETFs are similar to the passively managed ETFs. Instead of using a passive investment strategy mimicking an index or other benchmark, Active ETFs have a fund manager who makes active decisions about what to invest in. Active ETFs aim to beat the benchmark or index whereas ETFs aim to follow the benchmark or index as closely as possible. Whilst Active ETFs will try to avoid falls in the benchmark, ETFs will go down when their benchmarks fall. As a result of an active investing strategy, Active ETFs will have higher fees to pay for the skill and experience of the fund manager.

Active ETFs and ETFs share similarities in that they are both listed on the exchange and investments in them are made through purchasing units via a broker.