The Department of Labor's final fiduciary rule, published April 6, threw a bucket of cold water on the annuity industry's hottest product, fixed indexed annuities.

For 2015, LIMRA reported that sales of FIAs grew by 13 percent year-on-year to a record $54.4 billion. More than 60 percent of FIA sales are qualified – held in retirement plans or IRAs.

FIAs put an insurance company's guarantee behind all principal while crediting an annual interest rate linked to a market index, up to a cap. Since clients can't lose money, regulators generally have treated FIAs the same as fixed annuities – not as registered securities products like variable annuities. When sold in retirement plan accounts, FIAs have been subject to the same PTE 84-24 exemption as guaranteed life insurance contracts and fixed annuities.

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