Clifford Jack is stepping down as executive vice president and head of retail at top-selling variable annuity carrier Jackson National. He is leaving to pursue other opportunities, according to a statement from the company.
The departure will take effect at year-end. Annuity professionals will be watching this change carefully for any signs that it may usher in changes that affect the field in products, services or any other area.
Jack has served Jackson National for 19 years and is widely associated with the company’s fast-growing variable annuity business.
In the first nine months of this year, the carrier ranked first in U.S. individual variable annuity sales with year-to-date (YTD) production totaling more than $18.4 billion, according to estimates reported by LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute (LIMRA SRI).
That production was up by nearly 19 percent from the first nine months of last year when the carrier also held first place with variable annuity sales of nearly $15.5 billion.
This year’s nine-month production is nearly twice that of Lincoln Financial Group, which took second place on YTD variable annuity sales of $9.8 billion, the LIMRA SRI figures show.
The company has been on a growth path in the variable annuity marketplace for the last few years. For example, in 2012, Jackson was in second place at the nine-month mark, on sales of $15.3 billion, according to LIMRA SRI figures. In 2011, it took third place on sales of more than $13.7 billion. In 2010, it also to took third place, but on nine-month sales nearly $10.5 billion.
The company has attributed some of its recent growth to Elite Access, a variable annuity it debuted in 2012. The product includes numerous alternative subaccounts and some “third-party packaged strategies” for asset management, but it has no living benefit guarantee options.
In the carrier’s first-half 2014 report, Michael Wells, president and CEO, alluded to the “continued success of Elite Access” as a factor in the current day revenue streams.
In announcing Jack’s departure, Jackson National credited Jack for being instrumental in developing the company’s variable annuity product line and also for being a key architect of Jackson National’s distribution and organic growth strategy. In addition, the company noted that Jack had launched National Planning Holdings, Jackson’s affiliated broker/dealer network, and Curian Capital, Jackson National’s asset management subsidiary.
Greg Cicotte will become head of U.S. wealth management and distribution. That is a newly created position which will replace the role held by Jack, the company said. Cicotte is currently president of Jackson National Life Distributors, the company’s sales and marketing arm.
Cicotte, who has been with Jackson National for 23 years, will have responsibility for overall product, marketing and distribution strategy and execution across all of Jackson’s U.S. businesses.
The company named five other executives to new posts, in conjunction with Jack’s departure.
Jackson National sells in the fixed annuity market as well as the variable annuity market. However, it is not a high-volume producer on the fixed side. In the first nine months of this year, for example, Jackson ranked in 19th place in U.S. individual fixed annuities on sales of $1.1 billion, the LIMRA data show. Jackson’s fixed sales include production of fixed indexed annuities, which came in at nearly $466.5 million for the first nine months of 2014, according to figures reported by Wink Inc.
Jackson National is an indirect subsidiary of Prudential plc, a company incorporated in England and Wales.
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