IRI hires Morningstar annuity executive

The new addition is aimed at bolstering the firm's resources to help advisers with retirement income strategies

Jun 3, 2014 @ 11:16 am

By Darla Mercado

Ramping up its research capabilities, the Insured Retirement Institute has hired Morningstar Inc. veteran Frank O'Connor as vice president of research and outreach.

Mr. O'Connor was previously product manager for asset manager annuity solutions at Morningstar.

In Mr. O'Connor's new role at IRI, he'll be expanding the organization's practice management suite for financial professionals, according to spokesman Andrew Simonelli. The group hopes to develop new resources to help advisers with retirement income strategies.

Mr. O'Connor's track record with Morningstar goes back to 2005 when the investment research firm acquired Finetre Corp.'s VARDS Online. At the time, Mr. O'Connor was director of product development at VARDS.

Advisers who do lots of annuity work are familiar with VARDS and its latest iteration, Morningstar Annuity Research Center. It's a research platform that tracks life insurers' variable annuity prospectuses and product updates that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

MARC also allows advisers to dig up information on annuity sales by carrier and distribution channel, as well as hard-to-find details on product features and fees.

In the long run, Mr. O'Connor's annuity know-how will come in handy for leading the IRI's own industry research, namely when it comes to monitoring product development and distribution trends.

Mr. O'Connor's last day at Morningstar was Friday. For now, Mr. O'Connor will divide his time between Chicago and the IRI's home base in Washington, D.C., with plans to eventually relocate to the nation's capital.

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