Ibbotson Announces Release of First Fixed Annuity Benchmark Series from Beacon Research

CHICAGO, Feb. 3, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Ibbotson Associates, a leading provider of investment tools and knowledge, today announced the first release of The Beacon Fixed Annuity Index: Average Benchmark Series(sm). Ibbotson software users can access fixed annuity performance data allowing bank and insurance marketers to create sales materials that compare their products' performance to annuity benchmarks. Financial professionals will be able to analyze fixed annuities as an asset class for the first time, and include them in model portfolios for clients as appropriate.

The Average Benchmark Series is composed of monthly average interest rates in total and by rate term. The cost for the series is $2,500 per year.

"We are excited about the implications this data may have on our asset allocation consulting and research. For the first time, it allows us to compare fixed annuity products with other investment options on a historical basis," said Peng Chen, director of research, Ibbotson Associates. "While traditional fixed income series can lend some insights into the fixed annuity marketplace, there is no substitute for actual historical performance."

"These comparisons demonstrate the importance of analyzing fixed annuities on an aggregated basis," commented Jeremy Alexander, president of Beacon Research. "Beacon is committed to increasing the kind of transparency for fixed annuities that leads to investor confidence. The Average Benchmark Series breaks new ground in that direction. We are gratified to partner with Ibbotson to make this data available with their suite of powerful analytic tools."

About Ibbotson Associates

Ibbotson Associates, founded by Professor Roger Ibbotson in 1977, is a leading authority on asset allocation, providing products and services to help investment professionals obtain, manage and retain assets.

The company's business lines include investment consulting and research; planning and analysis software; wealth forecasting; educational services and a widely used line of NASD-reviewed presentation materials. With offices in Chicago, New York and Tokyo, Ibbotson Associates provides integrated investment knowledge, leading-edge technology, multi-conceptual education and a variety of sales presentation solutions. Ibbotson markets its integrated product line of investment analytical tools and services to institutional money managers, plan sponsors and consultants for quantitative analysis, high level decision making and presentations. The company's clients also include financial planners, brokers, mutual fund firms, private bankers and small money managers.

About Beacon Research

Founded in 1997, Beacon Research is a fully independent research organization dedicated to meeting the information needs of the financial services industry. It compiles and publishes comprehensive, accurate market intelligence on fixed annuity products for subscribers to its website -- www.annuitynexus.com. Beacon also licenses information to other platforms. Among publishers of fixed annuity data, Beacon Research is unique in its objectivity, accuracy, scope and timeliness.

America's leading insurers use Beacon's fixed annuity data for sales support, rate setting, product development and competition research. Distributors access Beacon's website for product analysis and selection. Internet and intranet platforms use data and software from Beacon research to support proposals, transactions, suitability checks and financial modeling.


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