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Great West Life & Annuity Insurance
S-1 2019-03-29 Public Filing
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GAC 2019-03-29
Part I
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Part II
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8. Financial Statements
Part II
Item 13. Other Expenses of Issuance and Distribution.
Item 14. Indemnification
Item 15. Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities.
Item 16. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules.
Item 17. Undertakings.
EX-5 d707798dex5.htm
EX-21 d707798dex21.htm
EX-23.1 d707798dex231.htm
EX-23.2 d707798dex232.htm
EX-23.3 d707798dex233.htm
EX-24 d707798dex24.htm

Great West Life & Annuity Insurance Filing 2019-03-29

GAC Filing


S-1 1 d707798ds1.htm S-1 S-1
Table of Contents
As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 29, 2019
Registration No. 333-[ ]
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM S-1
Registration Statement Under The Securities Act Of 1933
Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company
Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)
Colorado 6311 84-0467907
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(Primary Standard Industrial Classification Code) (I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
(8515 East Orchard Road, Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111 (800) 537-2033
(Address, Including Zip Code, and Telephone Number, Including Area Code, of Registrant’s Principal Executive Offices)
Robert L. Reynolds
President and Chief Executive Officer
Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company
8515 East Orchard Road
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
(800) 537-2033
Copy to:
Stephen E. Roth, Esq
Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
700 Sixth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC
20001-3980
(Name, Address, Including Zip Code, and Telephone Number, Including Area Code, of Agent for Service)  
Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: Continuously on and after the effective date of this Registration Statement.
If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, check the following box.         x        
If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, please check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.                 
If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.                 
If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.                 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large Accelerated Filer      Accelerated Filer     
Non-Accelerated Filer   X   Smaller Reporting Company     
  Emerging growth company     
 
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.                

 

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE
Title of Each Class of
Securities to be Registered
Amount
to be
Registered
Proposed
Maximum
Offering Price
Per Unit1
Proposed
Maximum
Aggregate
Offering
Price
Amount of
Registration Fee2
Certificates issued pursuant to Guaranteed Income Annuity Contracts 0 N/A 0 0
(1)  As discussed below, pursuant to Rule 415(a)(6) under the Securities Act, this Registration Statement carries over $47,928,000.00 of securities that were previously registered, with respect to which the registrant paid filing fees of $2,790.00. The filing fee previously paid with respect to the securities being carried forward to the Registration Statement reduces the amount of fees currently due to $0.
       Pursuant to Rule 415(a)(6) under the Securities Act, the securities registered by this Registration Statement include unsold securities previously registered for sale pursuant to the registrant’s registration statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-209902), initially filed by the registrant on March 3, 2016 (the “Prior Registration Statement”). The Prior Registration Statement registered securities with a maximum aggregate offering price of $49,424,000.00. Approximately $47,928,000.00 of such securities registered on the Prior Registration Statement remain unsold. The unsold securities (and associated filing fees paid) are being carried forward to this Registration Statement. Pursuant to Rule 415(a)(6), the offering of unsold securities under the Prior Registration Statement will be deemed terminated as of the date of effectiveness of this Registration Statement.
(2)  Previously paid.
The registrant hereby amends this registration statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this registration statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 or until the registration statement shall become effective on such date as the Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.


Table of Contents

Great-West SecureFoundation®
Group Fixed Deferred Annuity Certificate
Issued by:
Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company
April 26, 2019


This prospectus describes the Great-West SecureFoundation® Group Fixed Deferred Annuity Certificate (the “Certificate”) issued by Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company. The Certificate is offered to individual retirement account (“IRA”) owners that purchase shares of one of the Great-West SecureFoundation® mutual funds offered by Great-West Funds, Inc., which currently consist of the Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2020 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2025 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2030 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2035 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2040 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2045 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2050 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2055 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2060 Fund (the “SecureFoundation Lifetime Funds”), and the Great-West SecureFoundation® Balanced Fund (each, a “Covered Fund” and together, the “Covered Funds”). The Certificate provides for guaranteed income for the life of a designated person based on the Certificate Owner’s investment in one or more of the Covered Funds, provided all conditions specified in the Certificate are met, regardless of how long the designated person lives or the actual performance or value of the Covered Funds. The Certificate has no cash value and no surrender value. The interests of the Certificate Owner in the Certificate may not be transferred, sold, assigned, pledged, charged, encumbered, or alienated in any way.
Prospective purchasers may apply to purchase a Certificate through GWFS Equities, Inc. (“GWFS Equities”), the principal underwriter for the Certificates or other broker-dealers that have entered into a selling agreement with GWFS Equities. GWFS Equities will use its best efforts to sell the Certificates, but is not required to sell any specific number or dollar amount of Certificates.
This prospectus provides important information that a prospective purchaser of a Certificate should know before investing. Please retain this prospectus for future reference.
Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
This prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.
The Certificate:
Is NOT a bank deposit
Is NOT FDIC insured
Is NOT insured or endorsed by a bank or any government agency
Is NOT available in every state
The purchase of the Certificate is subject to certain risks. See “Risk Factors,” below. The Certificate is novel and innovative. While we understand that the Internal Revenue Service may be considering tax issues associated with products similar to the Certificate, to date the tax consequences of the Certificate have not been addressed in published legal authorities. Under the circumstances, you should therefore consult a tax advisor before purchasing a Certificate.
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SUMMARY
Preliminary Note Regarding Terms Used in This Prospectus
Certain terms used in this prospectus have specific and important meanings. Some important terms are explained below, and in most cases the meaning of other important terms is explained the first time they are used in the prospectus. You will also find in the back of this prospectus a listing of all of the terms, with the meaning of each term explained.
The “Certificate” is the Great-West SecureFoundation® Group Fixed Deferred Certificate issued by Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company pursuant to the terms of a Group Fixed Deferred Annuity Contract (the “Group Contract”) issued to Great-West Trust Company, LLC (“Great-West Trust” or the “Group Contract Owner”). In certain states this may be an individual contract, which will have the same features and benefits unless otherwise noted.
“We,” “us,” “our,” “Great-West,” or the “Company” means Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company.
“You” or “yours” means the owner of the Certificate described in this prospectus. The terms “you,” “yours,” “Owner,” and “Certificate Owner” may be used interchangeably in this prospectus.
“Covered Person” or “Covered Persons” means the person or persons, respectively, named in the Certificate whose age is used for certain important purposes under the Certificate, including determining the amount of the guaranteed income that may be provided by this Certificate.
“Covered Fund” or “Covered Funds” refer to the Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2020 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2025 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2030 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2035 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2040 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2045 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2050 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2055 Fund, Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2060 Fund and the Great-West SecureFoundation® Balanced Fund. The Covered Funds are not issued by Great-West. Great-West Funds, Inc. is the issuer of the Covered Funds and is an affiliate of Great-West.
The Certificate can be owned in the following ways:
Sole Owner who is an individual and also the Covered Person.
Sole Owner who is an individual and the Covered Person, with his or her spouse as the joint Covered Person.
We believe that in most cases the Certificate will have a sole Owner who is the only Covered Person. Therefore, for ease of reference, most of the discussion in this prospectus assumes you are the sole Owner and the only Covered Person under the Certificate. In some places in the prospectus, however, we explain how certain features of the Certificate differ if there are joint Covered Persons.
The following is a summary of the Certificate. You should read the entire prospectus in addition to this summary.
What is the Certificate?
Certificates are issued pursuant to the terms of the Group Contract, which is a group guaranteed income annuity contract issued by the Company and owned by Great-West Trust. Certificates are offered to IRA owners that purchase shares of a Covered Fund. Currently, there is no other way to purchase the Certificate. The Certificate provides, under certain specified conditions, for guaranteed minimum lifetime income, regardless of how long you live or how the Covered Fund performs. The Certificate does not have a cash value.
Provided all conditions of the Certificate and Group Contract are met, if the value of the shares in your Covered Fund (“Covered Fund Value”) equals zero as a result of Covered Fund performance, the Guarantee Benefit Fee, certain other fees that are not directly associated with the Certificate or Group Contract (e.g., IRA fees, custodian fees, advisory fees), and/or Guaranteed Annual Withdrawal(s) (“GAW”), we will make annual payments to you for the rest of your life.
The amount of the GAW that you may take may increase from time to time based on your Covered Fund Value. It may also decrease if you take Excess Withdrawals (discussed below).
The guaranteed income that may be provided by your Certificate is based on the age and life of the Covered Person (or if there are joint Covered Persons, on the age of the younger joint Covered Person and the lives of both Covered Persons) as of the date we calculate the first Installment. A joint Covered Person must be your spouse and your spouse must be your sole beneficiary under your IRA.
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How much will your Certificate cost?
While your Certificate is in force, a Guarantee Benefit Fee will be calculated and deducted from your Covered Fund Value on a monthly basis. It will be paid by redeeming the number of fund shares of your Covered Fund equal to the Guarantee Benefit Fee. The Guarantee Benefit Fee is calculated as a specified percentage of your Covered Fund Value at the time the Guarantee Benefit Fee is calculated. If we do not receive the Guarantee Benefit Fee (except during the Settlement Phase), including as a result of the failure of your IRA custodian to submit it to us, the Certificate will terminate as of the date that the fee is due. We will not provide Certificate Owners with notice prior to termination of the Certificate and we will not refund the Guarantee Benefit Fee paid upon termination of the Certificate.
The Guarantee Benefit Fee pays for the insurance protections provided by the Certificate.
The guaranteed maximum or minimum Guarantee Benefit Fee we can ever charge for your Certificate is shown below. The amount we currently charge is also shown below.
The maximum Guarantee Benefit Fee for the Certificate, as a percentage of your Covered Fund Value, on an annual basis, is 1.5%.
The minimum Guarantee Benefit Fee for the Certificate, as a percentage of your Covered Fund Value, on an annual basis, is 0.70%.
The current Guarantee Benefit Fee for the Certificate, as a percentage of your Covered Fund Value, on an annual basis, is 0.90%.
We may change the current Guarantee Benefit Fee at any time within the minimum and maximum range described above upon thirty (30) days prior written notice to you. We determine the Guarantee Benefit Fee based on observations of a number of experience factors, including, but not limited to, interest rates, volatility, investment returns, expenses, mortality, and lapse rates. As an example, if mortality experience improves faster than we have anticipated, and the population in general is expected to live longer than initially projected, we might increase the Guarantee Benefit Fee to reflect our increased probability of paying longevity benefits. However, improvements in mortality experience is provided as an example only, we reserve the right to change the Guarantee Benefit Fee at our discretion and for any reason, whether or not these experience factors change (although we will never increase the fee above the maximum or decrease the fee below the minimum). We do not need any particular event to occur before we may change the Guarantee Benefit Fee.
The Guarantee Benefit Fee is in addition to any charges that are imposed in connection with advisory, custodial and other services, and charges imposed by the Covered Funds. Because the Covered Funds are offered by an affiliated company, we may benefit indirectly from the charges imposed by the Covered Funds.
Premium taxes may be applicable in certain states. Premium tax applicability and rates vary by state and may change. We reserve the right to deduct any such tax from premium when received.
Can you cancel your Certificate?
You may cancel your Certificate by causing the Covered Fund Value or the Benefit Base of each Covered Fund to be reduced to zero prior to the Settlement Phase due to one or more Excess Withdrawals or by failing to pay the Guarantee Benefit Fee. However, if the Excess Withdrawal(s) occurs as a result of a same day Transfer between Covered Funds (i.e., shares of a Covered Fund are sold and shares of another Covered Fund are purchased on the same day), then your Certificate will not be canceled even if the Benefit Base of the Covered Fund(s) is reduced to zero.
What protection does the Certificate provide?
The Certificate provides two basic protections to Certificate Owners who purchase this Certificate as a source or potential source of lifetime retirement income or other long-term purposes. Provided that certain conditions are met, the Certificate protects the Certificate Owner from:
longevity risk, which is the risk that a Certificate Owner will outlive the assets invested in the Covered Fund; and
income volatility risk, which is the risk of downward fluctuations in a Certificate Owner’s retirement income due to changes in market performance.
Both of these risks increase as a result of poor market performance early in retirement. Point-in-time risk (which is the risk of retiring on the eve of a down market) significantly contributes to both longevity and income volatility risk.
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The Certificate does not provide a guarantee that the Covered Fund or your IRA will retain a certain value or that the value of the Covered Fund or IRA will remain steady or grow over time. Instead, it provides for a guarantee, under certain specified conditions, that regardless of the performance of the Covered Funds in your Account and regardless of how long you live, you will be able to receive a guaranteed level of annual income for life. Therefore, it is important for you to understand that while the preservation of capital may be one of your goals, the achievement of that goal is not guaranteed by the Certificate.
How does your Certificate work?
The Certificate has three phases: an “Accumulation Phase,” a “GAW Phase,” and a “Settlement Phase.”
The Accumulation Phase: During the Accumulation Phase, you may make additional Certificate Contributions to your Covered Fund, which establishes your Benefit Base (this is the sum of all Certificate Contributions minus any withdrawals and any adjustments made on the “Ratchet Date” as described later in this prospectus), and take withdrawals from your IRA just as you otherwise would be permitted to (although Excess Withdrawals will reduce the amount of the Benefit Base under the Certificate). You are responsible for managing your withdrawals during the Accumulation Phase.
The GAW Phase: After you (or if there are joint Covered Persons, the younger joint Covered Person) have turned age 55, then you can enter the GAW Phase and begin to take GAWs (which are annual withdrawals that do not exceed a specified amount) without reducing your Benefit Base. GAWs before age 59 12 may result in certain tax penalties.
Settlement Phase: If your Covered Fund Value falls to zero as a result of Covered Fund performance, the Guarantee Benefit Fee, certain other fees that are not directly associated with the Certificate or Group Contract (e.g., IRA fees, custodian fees, advisory fees), and/or GAWs, the Settlement Phase will begin. During the Settlement Phase, we make Installments to you for as long as you live. However, the Settlement Phase may never occur, depending on how long you live and how well the Covered Fund performs.
The Installments that you may receive when you are in the GAW Phase or Settlement Phase are determined by multiplying your Benefit Base by the GAW Percentage (GAW%), which is determined by the age of the Covered Person(s) as of the date we calculate the first Installment. As described in more detail below, the amount of the Installments may increase on an annual basis during the GAW Phase due to positive Covered Fund performance, and will decrease as a result of any Excess Withdrawals.
If you withdraw any of your Covered Fund Value during the Accumulation Phase to satisfy any contribution limitation imposed under federal law, we will consider that to be an Excess Withdrawal. Any withdrawals to satisfy your required distribution obligations under the Code will be considered an Excess Withdrawal if taken during the Accumulation Phase. As a result, those who will be subject to required minimum distributions should consider the appropriateness of this product. You should consult a qualified tax advisor regarding contribution limits and other tax implications. We will deem withdrawals taken during the GAW Phase to meet required minimum distribution requirements, in the proportion of your Covered Fund Value to your overall IRA balance (and not taking into account any other IRAs you own), to be within the contract limits for your Certificate and will not treat such withdrawals as Excess Withdrawals.
How do you purchase a Certificate?
You are required to purchase a Certificate in connection with your purchase of shares of a Covered Fund. However, the actual date of purchase of the Certificate will depend on which Covered Fund shares you purchase. For the Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Funds, you will not be deemed to have actually purchased the Certificate until the first business day of the year that is ten years prior to the date in the name of the fund. There is no minimum initial investment. The Certificates are issued in accordance with the terms of the Group Contract issued by us to Great-West Trust. The Group Contract is a group fixed deferred annuity contract. You may invest any amount in any Covered Fund. However, your Benefit Base is limited to $5,000,000. Any amount over $5,000,000 will not increase your Benefit Base.
The Certificate may only be purchased under the Group Contract by owners of applicable IRAs. You may elect to purchase a Certificate by completing an application or other form authorized by us. If this form is accepted by us at our Administrative Office, we will issue a Certificate to you describing your rights and obligations.
What are the Designated Investment Options?
The following is a list of the currently available Covered Funds:
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2020 Fund Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2045 Fund
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Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2025 Fund Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2050 Fund
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2030 Fund Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2055 Fund
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2035 Fund Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2060 Fund
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2040 Fund Great-West SecureFoundation® Balanced Fund
In general, if you purchase shares of one of the Covered Funds, you are required to purchase the Certificate. However, the actual date of purchase will depend on which Covered Fund shares you purchase. For the Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Funds, you will not be deemed to have purchased the Certificate until the first business day of the year that is ten years prior to the date in the name of the fund. Thus, it is possible to redeem the shares of a Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Fund prior to the date in which you would have been deemed to have purchased the Certificate. For example, if you purchase shares of the Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2055 Fund today, you will not purchase the Certificate until January 3, 2045, you will not have any rights or benefits under the Certificate until January 3, 2045, and you will not be charged the Guarantee Benefit Fee until the end of January 2045 and, if you choose to redeem all of your shares prior to January 3, 2045, you will not be charged the Guarantee Benefit Fee.
You may also later decide that you do not want to maintain the Certificate. If so, you will need to redeem all of your shares in the Covered Fund in order to cancel the Certificate. You cannot remain invested in a Covered Fund without owning a Certificate.
Is the Certificate right for you?
The Certificate may be right for you if you believe that you may outlive your retirement investments or are concerned about market risk. If you believe that your retirement investments will be sufficient to provide for your retirement expenses regardless of market performance or your lifespan, then the Certificate may not be right for you.
The Certificate does not protect the actual value of your investments in your IRA or guarantee the Covered Fund Value. For example, if you invest $500,000 in a Covered Fund, and your Covered Fund Value has dropped to $400,000 on the Initial Installment Date, we are not required to add $100,000 to your Covered Fund Value. Instead, the Certificate guarantees that when you reach the Initial Installment Date, you may begin GAWs based upon a Benefit Base of $500,000, rather than $400,000 (so long as specified conditions are met).
The GAWs are made from your own investment. We start using our money to make Installments to you only if your Covered Fund Value is reduced to zero due to Covered Fund performance, the Guarantee Benefit Fee, certain other fees that are not directly associated with the Certificate or Group Contract (e.g., IRA fees, custodian fees, advisory fees), and/or GAWs. We limit our risk under the Certificate in this regard by limiting the amount you may withdraw each year to your GAWs. If you need to take Excess Withdrawals, you may not receive the full benefit of the Certificate. For further information, see “The Accumulation Phase Excess Withdrawals During the Accumulation Phase” and “The GAW Phase Excess Withdrawals During the Accumulation Phase, below.
If the return on your Covered Fund Value over time is sufficient to generate gains that can sustain constant GAWs, then the Certificate would not have provided any financial gain to you. Conversely, if the return on your Covered Fund Value over time is not sufficient to generate gains that can sustain constant GAWs, then the Certificate would be beneficial to you.
You should discuss your investment strategy and risk tolerance with your financial advisor before purchasing the Certificate. You should consider the payment of the Guarantee Benefit Fee (which is in addition to any fee paid for the Covered Fund) relative to the benefits and features of the Certificate, your risk tolerance, and proximity to retirement.
RISK FACTORS REGARDING THE CERTIFICATE
There are a number of risks associated with the Certificate as described below.
The guarantee that may be provided under the Certificate is contingent on several conditions being met. In certain circumstances you may not realize a benefit from the Certificate.
You may die before receiving payments from us or you may not live long enough to receive enough income to exceed the amount of the Guarantee Benefit Fees paid. If you (assuming that you are the sole Covered Person) die before the Covered Fund Value is reduced to zero, you will never receive any payments under the Certificate. The Certificate does not have any cash value or provide a death benefit. Furthermore, even if you begin to receive Installments in the
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  Settlement Phase, you may die before receiving an amount equal to or greater than the amount you have paid in Guarantee Benefit Fees.
The Covered Funds may perform well enough so that you may not need the guarantee that may otherwise be provided by the Certificate. The Covered Funds are managed by a registered investment adviser, Great-West Capital Management, LLC (“GWCM”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Great-West. GWCM manages the Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Funds to become more conservative as time goes on, which may minimize the likelihood that you will experience a significant loss of capital at an advanced age. GWCM also has the flexibility to manage the Great-West SecureFoundation® Balanced Fund conservatively. Therefore, there is a good chance that the Covered Funds will perform well enough that GAWs will not reduce Covered Fund Value to zero. As a result, the likelihood that we will make payments to you is minimal. In this case, you will have paid us the Guarantee Benefit Fee for the life of your Certificate and received no payments in the Settlement Phase in return.
You may need to make Excess Withdrawals, which have the potential to substantially reduce or even terminate the benefits available under the Certificate. Because personal financial needs can arise unpredictably (e.g., unexpected medical bills), you may need to make a withdrawal from your Covered Fund before the start of the GAW Phase or following the start of the GAW Phase in an amount larger than the GAW. These types of withdrawals are Excess Withdrawals that will reduce or eliminate the guarantee that may otherwise be provided by the Certificate. There is no provision under the Certificate to cure any decrease in the benefits due to Excess Withdrawals. To avoid making Excess Withdrawals, you will need to carefully manage your withdrawals. The Certificate does not require us to warn you of Excess Withdrawals or other actions with adverse consequences.
You may choose to cancel your Certificate prior to a severe market downturn. The Certificate is designed to protect you from outliving the assets in your Covered Fund. If you terminate the Certificate before reaching the GAW Phase or Settlement Phase, we will not make payments to you, even if subsequent Covered Fund performance reduces your Covered Fund Value to zero.
You might not begin making GAWs at the most financially beneficial time for you. Because of decreasing life expectancy as you age, in certain circumstances, the longer you wait to start taking GAWs, the less likely it is that you will benefit from your Certificate. On the other hand, the earlier you begin taking GAWs, the lower the GAW Percentage you will receive and therefore the lower your GAWs (if any) will be. Because of the uncertainty of how long you will live and how your investments will perform over time, it will be difficult for you to determine the most financially beneficial time to begin making GAWs.
If you terminate or change the provider of your IRA, you may never receive a benefit from the Certificate. The Certificate is currently available to participants in certain IRAs. The Certificate is held by the IRA trustee or custodian as an asset of each participant’s IRA. If your IRA is terminated, such as by a full distribution of all of the assets in the IRA, or moved to an IRA provider that does not offer the Certificate, you will cause your Certificate to terminate. In that case, you may never receive a benefit from the Certificate, and the Guarantee Benefit Fee will not be refunded.
We reserve the right to increase the Guarantee Benefit Fee at any time. If we increase the Guarantee Benefit Fee, then depending upon how long you live, you may not receive enough income to exceed the amount of total fees paid.
The deduction of the Guarantee Benefit Fee each month will negatively affect the growth of your Covered Fund Value. The growth of your Covered Fund Value is likely important to you because you may never receive Installments during Settlement Phase. Therefore, depending on how long you live and how your investments perform, you may be financially better off without purchasing the Certificate.
The Certificate limits your investment choices. Only certain funds are available under the Certificate. These Covered Funds may be managed in a more conservative fashion than other mutual funds available to you. If you do not purchase the Certificate, it is possible that you may invest in other mutual funds (or other types of investments) that experience higher growth or lower losses, depending on the market, than the Covered Funds experience. It is impossible to know how various investments will fare on a comparative basis.
Covered Funds may become ineligible. If the Covered Fund that you invest in becomes ineligible for the Certificate, you must Transfer the Covered Fund Value to another Covered Fund in order to keep the Certificate in force. If the Transfer is not a same day Transfer, then it could cause your Certificate to be canceled. See “Adding and Removing Covered Funds,” below. We reserve the right to designate Covered Funds that were previously eligible for use with the Certificate as ineligible for use with the Certificate, for any reason including due to changes to their investment objectives. In the event that all Covered Funds become ineligible or are liquidated, we will designate a new fund as a Covered Fund. The new Covered Fund may have higher fees and charges and different investment objectives/strategies than the ineligible Covered Fund. In addition, designating a new fund as a Covered Fund may result in an increase in the current Guarantee Benefit
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  Fee, which will not exceed the maximum Guarantee Benefit Fee of 1.5%. The Guarantee Benefit Fee will not be refunded if the Covered Funds become ineligible or are liquidated.
The Group Contract and Certificate may terminate:
The Group Contract Owner or Great-West may terminate the Group Contract. If the Group Contract Owner or Great-West terminates the Group Contract, such termination will not adversely affect your rights under the Group Contract, except that we will not permit additional Certificate Contributions to the Covered Fund. However, we will accept reinvested dividends and capital gains. You will still be obligated to pay the Guarantee Benefit Fee. See “Termination of the Group Contract,” below.
The IRA may terminate. IRAs can be terminated, such as by a full distribution of all of the assets in the IRA. You generally can choose to discontinue your own IRA, and either receive a distribution from the IRA or transfer it to another IRA provider. Also, most IRA providers reserve the right to resign from the IRA; if that happens, in most cases you can choose to have your IRA either distributed to you or transferred to another IRA provider. In the event of a complete IRA termination, either because your IRA is distributed to you or transferred to another IRA provider that does not offer the Certificate, then all benefits, rights, and privileges provided by the Group Contract, including without limitation, the Certificate, shall terminate. In this event, you may choose to utilize the Covered Fund Value in the ways described later in this prospectus under “Termination of the Group Contract—Other Termination.” The Guarantee Benefit Fee will not be refunded if the IRA terminates.
The Certificate will terminate if the Guaranteed Benefit Fee is not paid. If we do not receive the Guarantee Benefit Fee (except during Settlement Phase), including as a result of the failure of your IRA custodian to submit it to us, the Certificate will terminate as of the date that the fee is due.
Your receipt of payments from us is subject to our claims paying ability.
Any payments we are required to make to you under the Certificate will depend on our long-term ability to make such payments.
We will make all payments under the Certificate in Settlement Phase from our general account, which is not insulated from the claims of our third party creditors. Therefore, your receipt of payments from us is subject to our claims paying ability. The Covered Funds do not make payments under the GLWB.
Currently, our financial strength is rated by three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (“NRSRO”), ranging from superior to excellent to very strong. Our ratings reflect the NRSROs’ opinions that we have a superior, excellent, or a very strong ability to meet our ongoing obligations. An excellent and very strong rating means that we may have somewhat larger long-term risks than higher rated companies that may impair our ability to pay benefits payable on outstanding insurance policies on time. The financial strength ratings are the NRSROs’ current opinions of our financial strength with respect to our ability to pay under our outstanding insurance policies according to their terms and the timeliness of payments. The NRSRO ratings are not specific to the Certificate.
Additional information regarding the Company and its financial condition may be found in this prospectus under “Additional Information Regarding the Company” and in the most recent audited annual financial statements of the Company included in this prospectus in “Appendix A – Company Financial Statements and Other Financial Information”.
There may be tax consequences associated with the Certificate:
The Certificate is novel and innovative and to date, the tax consequences of the Certificate have not been addressed in published legal authorities. You should consult a tax advisor before purchasing a Certificate. See “Taxation of the Certificate” below for further discussion of tax issues relating to the Certificate.
Other Information:
You should be aware of various regulatory protections that do and do not apply to the Certificate. Your Certificate is registered in accordance with the Securities Act of 1933. The issuance and sale of your Certificate must be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Securities Act of 1933.
We have elected to rely on the exemption provided by Rule 12h-7 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“1934 Act”) from the requirements to file reports pursuant to Section 15(d) of that Act. In reliance on that exemption, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company will not file the periodic reports that would otherwise be required under the 1934 Act. Annual Audited Financial Statements and other information regarding the Company required by the Securities Act of 1933 will be provided annually in this prospectus.
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We are neither an investment company nor an investment adviser and do not provide investment advice to you in connection with the Certificate. Therefore, we are not governed by the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”) or the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “1940 Act”). Accordingly, the protections provided by the Advisers Act and the 1940 Act are not applicable with respect to our sale of the Certificate to you.
The Certificate does not protect the assets in your IRA from your creditors. The assets in your IRA are owned by you and not us. We have no control over any of the assets in your IRA. The assets in your IRA are not subject to our creditors. However, assets in your IRA may be subject to being directly attached by your creditors. Any liquidation of any Covered Fund will be considered an Excess Withdrawal and it may reduce your Benefit Base.
THE CERTIFICATE
The Certificate is a group fixed deferred annuity certificate. Certificates are offered only to IRA owners whose assets are invested in one or more Covered Funds. The Certificates are designed for IRA owners who intend to use the investments in the Covered Fund in their IRA as the basis for periodic withdrawals (such as systematic withdrawal programs involving regular annual withdrawals of a certain percentage of the Covered Fund Value) to provide income payments for retirement or for other purposes. For more information about the Covered Funds, you should talk to your advisor and review the accompanying prospectuses for the Covered Funds.
Provided that specified conditions are met, the Certificate provides for a guaranteed income over the remaining life of the Certificate Owner (or, if these are joint Covered Persons, the remaining lives of both joint Covered Persons), should the Covered Fund Value equal zero as a result of GAWs, the Guarantee Benefit Fee, certain other fees that are not directly associated with the Certificate or Group Contract (e.g., IRA fees, custodian fees, advisory fees), and/or Covered Fund performance.
INVESTMENT OPTIONS THE COVERED FUNDS
The Certificate provides protection relating to your Covered Funds by ensuring that, regardless of how your Covered Fund(s) actually performs or the actual Covered Fund Value when you begin your GAWs for retirement or other purposes, you will receive predictable income payments for as long as you live so long as specified conditions are met.
In general, if you purchase shares of one of the Covered Funds, you are required to purchase the Certificate. Currently, you may elect to purchase the Certificate by completing the election form and purchasing one or more of the Covered Funds described below. The actual date of purchase of the Certificate will depend on which Covered Fund shares you purchase. For the Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Funds, you do not actually purchase the Certificate until the first Business Day of the year that is ten years prior to the date in the name of the fund, which is known as the “Guarantee Trigger Date.” (The Guarantee Trigger Date is also your Certificate Election Date.) Thus, it is possible to redeem the shares of a Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Fund prior to the Guarantee Trigger Date. For example, if you purchase shares of the Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2055 Fund, you will not purchase the Certificate until January 3, 2045, you will not have any rights or benefits under the Certificate until January 3, 2045, and you will not be charged the Guarantee Benefit Fee until the end of January 2045, and if you choose to redeem all of your shares prior to January 3, 2045, you will not be charged the Guarantee Benefit Fee.
If you later decide that you do not want to maintain the Certificate, you will need to redeem all of your shares in the Covered Fund in order to cancel the Certificate. You cannot remain invested in a Covered Fund without owning a Certificate.
You should note that the Company issues the Certificates, but the Company is not your investment adviser and does not provide investment advice to you in connection with the Certificate.
As described in more detail in the Covered Fund prospectuses, in addition to the Guarantee Benefit Fee, there are certain fees and charges associated with the Covered Funds, which may reduce your Covered Fund Value. These fees may include management fees, distribution fees, acquired fund fees and expenses, redemption fees, exchange fees, advisory fees, and/or administrative fees.
The following information about the Covered Funds is only a summary of important information you should know. More detailed information about the Covered Funds' investment strategies and risks are included in each Covered Fund’s prospectus. Please read that separate prospectus carefully before investing in a Covered Fund.
The Covered Funds are managed by an investment adviser affiliated with us, which may have an incentive to manage the funds in a way to reduce volatility of the funds' returns in order to lower the amounts that we have to pay under the Certificate. Offering the Certificate in connection with your investment in the Covered Funds, therefore, may subject us to a potential conflict of
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interest. Reducing volatility may have the effect of lowering the returns of the Covered Funds relative to other funds. This may suppress the value of the benefits provided by the Certificate because your Benefit Base will reset only when your Covered Fund Value is higher than your Benefit Base. We took into account the Covered Funds’ use of strategies to lower volatility when we selected them for use with this Certificate.
GREAT-WEST SECUREFOUNDATION® BALANCED FUND
The fund is designed for investors seeking a professionally designed asset allocation program to simplify the accumulation of assets prior to retirement together with the potential benefit of the guarantee that may be provided by the Certificate. The fund strives to provide shareholders with a high level of diversification primarily through both a professionally designed asset allocation model and professionally selected investments in underlying portfolios (the “Underlying Portfolios”). The intended benefit of asset allocation is diversification, which is expected to reduce volatility over the long-term.
The fund is a “fund of funds” that pursues its investment objective by investing in other mutual funds, including Underlying Portfolios that may or may not be affiliated with the Great-West SecureFoundation® Balanced Fund, cash and cash equivalents.
Only the Class L share class of the Great-West SecureFoundation® Balanced Fund is available. Class L shares have a distribution or “Rule 12b-1” plan. The distribution plan provides for a distribution fee that is paid out of Class L’s assets on an ongoing basis. Because the distribution fee is paid out of Class L’s assets on an ongoing basis, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than paying other types of sales charges.
Investment Objective
The fund seeks long-term capital appreciation and income.
GREAT-WEST SECUREFOUNDATION® LIFETIME FUNDS
There are nine separate Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Funds. These are the:
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2020 Fund
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2025 Fund
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2030 Fund
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2035 Fund
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2040 Fund
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2045 Fund
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2050 Fund
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2055 Fund
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2060 Fund
Each Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Fund provides an asset allocation strategy and is designed to meet certain investment goals based on an investor’s investment horizon (such as projected retirement date) and personal objectives.
Each Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Fund is a “fund of funds” that pursues its investment objective by investing in other mutual funds, including mutual funds that may or may not be affiliated with the Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Funds (collectively, “Underlying Portfolios”), a fixed interest contract issued and guaranteed by GWL&A, cash, and cash equivalents. The Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Funds use asset allocation strategies to allocate assets among the Underlying Portfolios.
Only the Class L share class of the Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Funds is available. Class L shares have a distribution or “Rule 12b-1” plan. The distribution plan provides for a distribution fee that is paid out of Class L’s assets on an ongoing basis. Because the distribution fee is paid out of Class L’s assets on an ongoing basis, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than paying other types of sales charges.
Investment Objective
Each Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation and income consistent with its current asset allocation.
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ADDING AND REMOVING COVERED FUNDS
We may, without the consent of you or the Group Contract Owner, offer new Covered Fund(s) or cease offering Covered Fund(s). We will notify the Group Contract Owner whenever the Covered Fund(s) are changed. If we cease offering a Covered Fund in which you are invested, then you must Transfer the Covered Fund Value to another Covered Fund in order to keep the Certificate in force. This Transfer must be a same day Transfer between Covered Funds (i.e., shares of a Covered Fund are sold and shares of another Covered Fund are purchased on the same day). If it is not a same day Transfer between Covered Funds, then this is considered an Excess Withdrawal. Excess Withdrawals could cause the Benefit Base of the Covered Fund(s) to be reduced to zero, which would generally cause your Certificate to be canceled. In the event that we cease offering all of the Covered Funds, we will designate a new fund as a Covered Fund. The new Covered Fund may have higher fees and charges and different investment objectives/strategies than the ineligible Covered Fund. In addition, designating a new fund as a Covered Fund, may result in an increase in the current Guarantee Benefit Fee, which will not exceed the maximum Guarantee Benefit Fee of 1.5%.
IRA ROLLOVERS
You may fund your IRA with proceeds rolled over or directly transferred from a tax-deferred retirement plan established under Section 401(a), 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b) of the Code (“tax-deferred retirement plan”). If your rollover is from a tax-deferred retirement plan and you have previously elected a Great-West guaranteed lifetime withdrawal product as part of your investments in your tax-deferred retirement plan, your Benefit Base may be equal to your benefit base as it existed under your prior tax-deferred retirement plan immediately prior to your rollover. Your new Benefit Base after the IRA rollover will only equal the benefit base you had under your tax-deferred retirement plan if you: (a) invest the rollover or transfer proceeds covered by the Great-West guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit product immediately prior to distribution from the tax-deferred retirement plan in the Covered Fund(s); (b) invest in the same Covered Fund approved by Great-West, as described below, except if you are in Settlement Phase; and (c) you Request the restoration of the benefit base as it existed under your tax-deferred retirement plan. To maintain the same Benefit Base, you must be in the same Phase that you were in at the time of the rollover or transfer after the rollover or transfer is complete. If you do not meet these requirements, a new Benefit Base will be established that is equal to your Covered Fund Value as of the date of the rollover and your Guarantee Benefit fee will be calculated as a percentage of your Covered Fund Value.
In order to be eligible to maintain your Benefit Base from your tax-deferred retirement plan, you must invest in the corresponding Covered Fund in the IRA as described below:
Covered Fund held in tax-deferred retirement plan Corresponding Covered Fund in IRA
Great-West SecureFoundation® Balanced Fund Investor Class or Service Class Great-West SecureFoundation® Balanced Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2020 Fund Investor Class or Service Class Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2020 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2025 Fund Investor Class or Service Class Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2025 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2030 Fund Investor Class or Service Class Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2030 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2035 Fund Investor Class or Service Class Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2035 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2040 Fund Investor Class or Service Class Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2040 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2045 Fund Investor Class or Service Class Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2045 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2050 Fund Investor Class or Service Class Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2050 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2055 Fund Investor Class or Service Class Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2055 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2060 Fund Investor Class or Service Class Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2060 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Balanced Trust Great-West SecureFoundation® Balanced Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2020 Trust Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2020 Fund Class L
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Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2025 Trust Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2025 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2030 Trust Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2030 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2035 Trust Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2035 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2040 Trust Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2040 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2045 Trust Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2045 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2050 Trust Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2050 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2055 Trust Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2055 Fund Class L
Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2060 Trust Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime 2060 Fund Class L
Your new Covered Fund Value after the IRA rollover will initially equal the Covered Fund Value as of the date of the rollover. We will calculate your Guarantee Benefit Fee as a specified percentage of your Covered Fund Value.
THE ACCUMULATION PHASE
As stated previously in this prospectus, the Certificate has three phases: an “Accumulation Phase,” “GAW Phase,” and “Settlement Phase.” The Accumulation Phase is described in the following section of this prospectus.
The Accumulation Phase is the period of time between the Certificate Election Date, which is the date your Certificate is issued by Great-West, and the first day of the GAW Phase. During this Phase, you will establish your Benefit Base which will be used later to determine the amount of your GAWs.
Covered Fund Value
Your Covered Fund Value is the aggregate value of the shares in each Covered Fund held in your Account. If your Covered Fund Value is reduced to zero as a result of Covered Fund performance, the Guarantee Benefit Fee, certain other fees that are not directly associated with the Certificate or Group Contract ( e.g., IRA fees, custodian fees, advisory fees), and/or GAWs, we will make annual payments to you for the rest of your life. See “The Settlement Phase,” below. Your Covered Fund Value also determines the amount of the Guarantee Benefit Fee we deduct under the Certificate. See “Guarantee Benefit Fee,” below.
Your Covered Fund Value is an actual cash value separate from your Benefit Base (which is only used to calculate Installment Payments during the GAW Phase and the Settlement Phase). Your Covered Fund Value and your Benefit Base may not be equal to one another.
We do not increase or decrease your Covered Fund Value. Rather, your Covered Fund Value is increased or decreased in the same manner that all mutual fund values increase or decrease. For example, reinvested dividends, settlements, and positive Covered Fund performance (including capital gains) will increase your Covered Fund Value, and fees and expenses associated with the Covered Funds and negative Covered Fund performance (including capital losses) will decrease your Covered Fund Value.
Your Covered Fund Value will also increase each time you purchase additional fund shares, such as by making a Certificate Contribution, and will decrease each time you redeem shares, such as through payment of the Guarantee Benefit Fee or as a result of Distributions, Excess Withdrawals, Installments, and Transfers from a Covered Fund to another investment option offered under the IRA (other than another Covered Fund).
Your Covered Fund Value is not affected by any Ratchet or Reset of the Benefit Base (described below).
Benefit Base
Your Benefit Base is separate from your Covered Fund Value. It is not a cash value. Rather, your Benefit Base is used to calculate Installment Payments during the GAW Phase and the Settlement Phase. Your Benefit Base and your Covered Fund Value may not be equal to one another.
On your Certificate Election Date, the initial Benefit Base is equal to your Covered Fund Value on that date. However, if your initial Certificate Contribution is a rollover from a tax deferred retirement plan, your Benefit Base may instead equal the benefit base you had under your tax deferred retirement plan. See “IRA Rollovers,” above, for more information. Each Covered Fund will have its own Benefit Base. A Covered Fund Benefit Base cannot be transferred to another Covered Fund unless the covered Fund in which you are invested is eliminated or liquidated by us.
We increase your Benefit Base on a dollar-for-dollar basis each time you make a Certificate Contribution.
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We decrease your Benefit Base on a proportionate basis each time you make an Excess Withdrawal.
On each Ratchet Date (described below), we will increase your Benefit Base to equal your current Covered Fund Value if your Covered Fund Value is greater than your Benefit Base. (If so, your Benefit Base will then reflect positive Covered Fund performance.)
A few things to keep in mind regarding the Benefit Base:
The Benefit Base is used only for purposes of calculating your Installment Payments during the GAW Phase and the Settlement Phase. It has no other purpose. The Benefit Base does not provide and is not available as a cash value or settlement value.
It is important that you do not confuse your Benefit Base with the Covered Fund Value.
During the Accumulation Phase and the GAW Phase, the Benefit Base will be re-calculated each time you make a Certificate Contribution or Excess Withdrawal, as well as on an annual basis as described below, which is known as your Ratchet Date.
Subsequent Certificate Contributions to Your Account
During the Accumulation Phase, you may make additional Certificate Contributions to the Covered Funds in addition to your initial Certificate Contribution. Subsequent Certificate Contributions can be made by cash deposit (subject to limitations under federal tax law), Transfers, or may include rollovers from other retirement accounts. Additional Certificate Contributions may not be made after the Accumulation Phase ends.
All additional Certificate Contributions made after the Certificate Election Date will increase the Benefit Base dollar-for-dollar on the date the Certificate Contribution is made. We will not consider the additional purchase of shares of a Covered Fund through reinvested dividends, capital gains, and/or settlements to be a Certificate Contribution. However, they will increase the Covered Fund Value.
Great-West reserves the right to refuse additional Certificate Contributions at any time and for any reason. Exercising this right may limit your ability to increase your Benefit Base by making additional Certificate Contributions. If Great-West refuses additional Certificate Contributions, you will retain all other rights under the Certificate.
Ratchet Date Adjustments to the Benefit Base
During the Accumulation Phase, the Benefit Base will be evaluated and, if necessary, adjusted on an annual basis. This is known as the Ratchet Date and it occurs on the anniversary of the Certificate Election Date. It is important to be aware that even though your Covered Fund Value may increase throughout the year due to dividends, capital gains, or settlements from the underlying Covered Fund, the Benefit Base will not similarly increase until the next Ratchet Date. Unlike Covered Fund Value, your Benefit Base will never decrease solely due to negative Covered Fund performance.
On each Ratchet Date during the Accumulation Phase, the Benefit Base is automatically adjusted (“ratcheted”) to the greater of:
(a) the current Benefit Base; or
(b) the current Covered Fund Value.
Example of Ratchet Date Adjustments during the Accumulation Period
Assume the following:
Benefit Base on Certificate Election Date (of January 2) = $100,000
Covered Fund Value on Certificate Election Date = $100,000
Increase in Covered Fund Value due to Dividends and Capital Gains paid July 1 = $5,000
Covered Fund Value on July 1 = $105,000
Benefit Base on July 1 = $100,000
No other Certificate Contributions, Dividends, or Capital Gains are paid to the Account for the rest of the year.
Covered Fund Value on January 2 of the following year = $105,000
So, because the Covered Fund Value is greater than the Benefit Base on the Ratchet Date (January 2 of the following year), the Benefit Base is adjusted to $105,000 effective January 2.
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Excess Withdrawals During the Accumulation Phase
Because the Certificate is held in your IRA, you may make withdrawals or change your Account investments at any time and in any amount that you wish, subject to any federal tax limitations. During the Accumulation Phase, however, any withdrawals or Transfers from your Covered Fund Value will be categorized as Excess Withdrawals. Any withdrawals to satisfy your required distribution obligations under the Code will be considered an Excess Withdrawal if taken during the Accumulation Phase.
You should carefully consider the effect of an Excess Withdrawal on both the Benefit Base and the Covered Fund Value during the Accumulation Phase, as this may affect your future benefits under the Certificate. In the event you decide to take an Excess Withdrawal, as discussed below, your Covered Fund Value will be reduced dollar-for-dollar in the amount of the Excess Withdrawal. The Benefit Base will be reduced at the time the Excess Withdrawal is made by the ratio of the Covered Fund Value after the Excess Withdrawal reduction is applied. Accordingly, your Benefit Base will be reduced by more than the amount of the withdrawal when your Benefit Base is greater than your Covered Fund Value, which is likely to occur after periods of negative market performance.
Example of Effects of an Excess Withdrawal taken during the Accumulation Period
Assume the following:
Covered Fund Value before the Excess Withdrawal adjustment = $50,000
Benefit Base = $100,000
Excess Withdrawal amount: $10,000
So,
Covered Fund Value after adjustment = $50,000 - $10,000 = $40,000
Covered Fund Value adjustment = $40,000/$50,000 = 0.80
Adjusted Benefit Base = $100,000 x 0.80 = $80,000
Types of Excess Withdrawals
All Distributions and Transfers during the Accumulation Phase, including Transfers from one Covered Fund to another, are treated as Excess Withdrawals. An Excess Withdrawal will reduce your Benefit Base and Covered Fund Value. A Distribution occurs when money is paid to you from the Covered Fund Value. A Transfer occurs when you transfer money from a Covered Fund to another IRA investment. A Transfer will occur even if you transfer money from one Covered Fund to a different Covered Fund in your IRA. If you Transfer any amount out of out of the Great-West SecureFoundation® Balanced Fund or the Great-West SecureFoundation® Lifetime Funds after the Guarantee Trigger Date, then you will be prohibited from making any Transfers into the same Covered Fund for at least ninety (90) calendar days.
Note: The Certificate does not require us to warn you or provide you with notice regarding potentially adverse consequences that may be associated with any withdrawals or other types of transactions involving your Covered Fund. You should carefully monitor your Covered Fund, any withdrawals from your Covered Fund, and any changes to your Benefit Base. You may contact us at (866) 317-6586 for information about your Benefit Base.
Treatment of a Distribution During the Accumulation Phase
At the time of any partial or periodic Distribution, if the Covered Person is 55 years of age or older, you may elect to begin the GAW Phase (as described below) and begin receiving GAWs at that time. If you choose not to begin the GAW Phase, the Distribution will be treated as an Excess Withdrawal and will reduce your Covered Fund Value and your Benefit Base (as described above).
If the Covered Person is not yet 55 years old, then any partial or periodic Distribution will be treated as an Excess Withdrawal as described above.
Any Distribution made during the Accumulation Phase to satisfy any contribution limitation imposed under federal law will be considered an Excess Withdrawal at all times. You should consult a qualified tax advisor regarding contribution limits and other tax implications.
Death During the Accumulation Phase
If a GLWB Elector dies during the Accumulation Phase, then we will terminate the Certificate and pay the Covered Fund Value to the Beneficiary in accordance with the terms of the IRA (unless an election is made by a Beneficiary that is the spouse of the GLWB Elector). A Beneficiary that is the spouse of the GLWB Elector may choose either to:
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become a new GLWB Elector and maintain the deceased GLWB Elector’s current Benefit Base (or proportionate share if multiple Beneficiaries) as of the date of death; or
to establish a new Account with a new Benefit Base based on the current Covered Fund Value on the date of the deceased GLWB Elector’s death.
In either situation, the spouse Beneficiary shall become a GLWB Elector and the Ratchet Date will be the date when his or her Account is established.
A Beneficiary who is not the spouse of the GLWB Elector cannot elect to maintain the current Benefit Base, but may elect to establish a new Account. The Benefit Base and Certificate Election Date will be based on the current Covered Fund Value on the date his or her Account is established.
To the extent to that the Beneficiary becomes a GLWB Elector, he or she will be subject to all terms and conditions of the Certificate, the IRA Contract, and the Code. Any election made by Beneficiary pursuant to this section is irrevocable.
THE GAW PHASE
The GAW Phase begins when you elect to receive GAWs under the Certificate. The GAW Phase continues until the Covered Fund Value reaches zero and the Settlement Phase begins.
The GAW Phase cannot begin until all Covered Persons attain age 55 and are eligible to begin distributions under the IRA and the Code. The Code generally permits distributions from IRAs at any time (subject to a penalty tax in some cases), as do most (but not all) IRAs. Installments will not begin until Great-West receives appropriate and satisfactory information about the age of the Covered Person(s) in good order and in manner reasonably satisfactory to Great-West.
In order to initiate the GAW Phase, you must submit a written Request to Great-West. At that time, you must provide sufficient documentation for Great-West to determine the age of each Covered Person.
Because the GAW Phase cannot begin until all Covered Persons under the Certificate attain age 55, any Distributions taken before then will be considered Excess Withdrawals and will be deducted from the Covered Fund Value and Benefit Base. See “Accumulation Phase,” above, for more information. No Certificate Contributions may be made to the Covered Fund(s) on and after the Initial Installment Date, which is the date that GAWs begin.
Because of decreasing life expectancy as you age, in certain circumstances, the longer you wait to start taking GAWs, the less likely it is that you will benefit from your Certificate. On the other hand, the earlier you begin taking GAWs, the lower the GAW Percentage you will receive and therefore the lower your GAWs (if any) will be. You should talk to your advisor before initiating the GAW Phase to determine the most financially beneficial time for you to begin taking GAWs.
Installments
It is important that you understand how the GAW is calculated because it will affect the benefits you receive under the Certificate. Once the GAW Phase has been initiated and the age of the Covered Person(s) is verified, we will determine the amount of the GAW.
To determine the amount of the GAW, we will compare the current Benefit Base to the current Covered Fund Value on the Initial Installment Date. If the Covered Fund Value is greater than the Benefit Base, we will increase the Benefit Base to equal the Covered Fund Value, and the GAW will be based on the increased Benefit Base amount.
During the GAW Phase, your Benefit Base will receive an annual adjustment or “ratchet” just as it did during the Accumulation Phase. Your Ratchet Date will become the anniversary of Initial Installment Date and will no longer be the anniversary of the Certificate Election Date.
Just like the Accumulation Phase, the Benefit Base will be automatically adjusted on an annual basis, on the Ratchet Date, to the greater of:
(a) the current Benefit Base; or
(b) the current Covered Fund Value.
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Your Benefit Base is used to calculate the GAW you receive. However, even though the Benefit Base is adjusted annually, your GAW% will not change unless you request a Reset of the GAW%. See “The GAW Phase—Optional Resets of the GAW% During the GAW Phase,” below.
It is important to note that Installments during the GAW Phase will reduce your Covered Fund Value on a dollar-for-dollar basis, but they will not reduce your Benefit Base.
Calculation of Installment Amount
The GAW% is based on the age of the Covered Person(s) as of the date we calculate the first Installment. If there are two Covered Persons the percentage is based on the age of the younger Covered Person.
The GAW is based on a percentage of the Benefit Base pursuant to the following schedule:
Sole Covered Person   Joint Covered Person
4.0% for life at ages 55-64   3.5% for youngest joint life at ages 55-64
5.0% for life at ages 65-69   4.5% for youngest joint life at ages 65-69
6.0% for life at ages 70-79   5.5% for youngest joint life at ages 70-79
7.0% for life at ages 80+   6.5% for youngest joint life at ages 80+
The GAW will then be calculated by multiplying the Benefit Base by the GAW%. The amount of the Installment equals the GAW divided by the number of payments per year under the elected Installment Frequency Option, as described below.
Numerical Example of GAW Calculation
Assume the following:
  
Sole Covered Person
Age of Covered Person at Initial Installment Date: 60
Covered Fund Value = $120,000
Current Benefit Base = $115,000
Adjusted Benefit Base at Initial Installment Date = $120,000*
GAW% based on Age = 4.0%
  
GAW% x (Adjusted Benefit Base) = 4.0% x $120,000 = $4,800
Installment Frequency = Monthly (12 payments per year)
  
So GAW/Installment Frequency = $4,800/12 = $400
The monthly Installment will be $400
Numerical Example of GAW Calculation, Joint Covered Persons
Assume the following:
  
Joint Covered Persons
Age of primary Covered Person at Initial Installment Date: 65
Age of joint Covered Person at Initial Installment Date: 58
Youngest Age for Determination of GAW: 58
Covered Fund Value = $120,000
Current Benefit Base = $115,000
Adjusted Benefit Base at Initial Installment Date = $120,000*
GAW% based on Age = 3.5%
  
GAW% x (Adjusted Benefit Base) = 3.5% x $120,000 = $4,200
Installment Frequency = Monthly (12 payments per year)
So GAW/Installment Frequency = $4,200/12 = $350
The monthly Installment will be $350
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*  On the Initial Installment Date, we compare the current Benefit Base to the current Covered Fund Value. If the Covered Fund Value is greater than the Benefit Base, we will increase the Benefit Base to equal the Covered Fund Value, and the GAW will be based on the increased Benefit Base amount. See “Installments,” above.
Any election which affects the calculation of the GAW is irrevocable. Please consider all relevant factors when making an election to begin the GAW Phase. For example, an election to begin receiving Installments based on a sole Covered Person cannot subsequently be changed to joint Covered Persons once the GAW Phase has begun. Similarly, an election to receive Installments based on joint Covered Persons cannot subsequently be changed to a sole Covered Person, nor may the beneficiary designation of a joint election be changed.
Installment Frequency Options
Your Installment Frequency Options are as follows:
(a) Annual the GAW will be paid on the Initial Installment Date and each anniversary annually, or next business day, thereafter.
(b) Semi-Annual half of the GAW will be paid on the Initial Installment Date and in Installments every 6 month anniversary, or next business day, thereafter.
(c) Quarterly one quarter of the GAW will be paid on the Initial Installment Date and in Installments every 3 month anniversary, or next business day, thereafter.
(d) Monthly one-twelfth of the GAW will be paid on the Initial Installment Date and in Installments every monthly anniversary, or next business day, thereafter.
You may Request to change the Installment Frequency Option starting on each Ratchet Date during the GAW Phase.
Lump Sum Distribution Option
At any time during the GAW Phase, if you are receiving Installments more frequently than annually, you may elect to take a lump sum Distribution up to the remaining scheduled amount of the GAW for that year.
Numerical Example of Lump Sum Distribution
Assume the following:
GAW = $4,800 with a monthly distribution of $400
Three monthly Installments have been made (3 x $400 = $1,200)
Remaining GAW = GAW paid Installments to date = $4,800 - $1,200 = $3,600
So, a Lump Sum Distribution of $3,600 may be taken.
Suspending and Re-Commencing Installments After a Lump Sum Distribution
It is your responsibility to Request the suspension of the remaining Installments that are scheduled to be paid during the year until the next Ratchet Date and to re-establish Installments upon the next Ratchet Date, if applicable. If you choose not to suspend the remaining Installments for the year, an Excess Withdrawal may occur. See “Effect of Excess Withdrawals During the GAW Phase,” described below.
After receiving a Lump Sum Distribution and suspending Installments, you must notify Great-West that you wish to recommence Installment payments for the next year. Great-West must receive notice 30 calendar days before the next Ratchet Date that you wish to recommence payments; otherwise, Great-West will not make any Installments. The Ratchet Date will not change if Installments are suspended.
Optional Resets of the GAW% During the GAW Phase
You may Request, on an annual basis, a Reset of the GAW% during the GAW Phase at least thirty (30) calendar days prior to the Ratchet Date.
If requested, Great-West will multiply the Covered Fund Value as of the Ratchet Date by the GAW% (based on your, or the younger joint Covered Person’s, Attained Age on the Ratchet Date) and determine if it is higher than the current Benefit Base multiplied by the current applicable GAW%. If so, the current GAW% will change to the Attained Age GAW% and the Benefit
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Base will change to the current Covered Fund Value as of the Ratchet Date. If it does not, the Reset shall be void but a Ratchet may still occur. If the Reset takes effect, it will be effective on the Ratchet Date as the Ratchet Date does not change due to Reset.
If (Attained Age GAW%) x (Covered Fund Value as of Ratchet Date) is greater than
(Current GAW%) x (Current Benefit Base)
Then (Attained Age GAW%) x (Covered Fund Value as of Ratchet Date) becomes new GAW and
(Covered Fund Value) = (New Benefit Base)
Numerical Example When Reset is Beneficial
Assume the following:
  
Age at Initial Installment Date: 60
Attained Age: 70
Covered Fund Value = $120,000
Current Benefit Base = $125,000
Current GAW% before Ratchet Date: 4%
Attained Age GAW% after Ratchet Date: 6%
  
(Current GAW%) x (Current Benefit Base) = 4% x $125,000 = $5,000
(Attained Age GAW%) x (Covered Fund Value) = 6% x $120,000 = $7,200
  
So, New GAW Amount is $7,200
New Benefit Base is $120,000
New GAW% is 6%
Numerical Example When Reset is NOT Beneficial
Assume the following:
  
Age at Initial Installment Date: 60
Attained Age: 70
Covered Fund Value = $75,000
Current Benefit Base = $125,000
Current GAW% before Ratchet: 4%
Attained Age GAW% after Ratchet Date: 6%
  
(Current GAW %) x (Current Benefit Base) = 4% x $125,000 = $5,000
(Attained age withdrawal %) x (Covered Fund Value) = 6% x $75,000 = $4,500
  
So, because $4,500 is less than current GAW of $5,000, no Reset occurs.
Effect of Excess Withdrawals During the GAW Phase
After the Initial Installment Date, a Distribution or Transfer, including a Transfer from one Covered Fund to another, that is greater than the GAW will be considered an Excess Withdrawal. The Benefit Base will be adjusted by the ratio of the new Covered Fund Value (after the Excess Withdrawal) to the previous Covered Fund Value (after the GAW).
If an Excess Withdrawal occurs, the GAW and current Benefit Base will be adjusted on the next Ratchet Date. When your Benefit Base is greater than your Covered Fund Value, an Excess Withdrawal may reduce your future benefits by more than the dollar amount of the Excess Withdrawal.
Numerical Example Effect of Excess Withdrawals During the GAW Phase
Assume the following:
  
Covered Fund Value before GAW = $55,000
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Benefit Base = $100,000
GAW%: 5%
GAW Amount = $100,000 x 5% = $5,000
  
Total annual withdrawal: $10,000
So,
Excess Withdrawal = $10,000 $5,000 = $5,000
Covered Fund Value after GAW = $55,000 $5,000 = $50,000
Covered Fund Value after Excess Withdrawal = $50,000 $5,000 = $45,000
Covered Fund Value Adjustment due to Excess Withdrawal = $45,000/$50,000 = 0.90
Adjusted Benefit Base = $100,000 x 0.90 = $90,000
Adjusted GAW Amount (assuming no Benefit Base increase on succeeding Ratchet Date) = $90,000 x 5% = $4,500
Withdrawals taken during the GAW Phase to meet required minimum distribution requirements, in the proportion of your Covered Fund Value to your overall IRA balance (and not taking into account any other IRAs you own), will be deemed to be within the contract limits for your Certificate and will not be treated as Excess Withdrawals. The required minimum distribution shall not exceed the required minimum distribution amount calculated under the Code and regulations issued thereunder as in effect on the Certificate Date. In the event of a dispute about the required minimum distribution amount, our determination will govern.
Note: The Certificate does not require us to warn you or provide you with notice regarding potentially adverse consequences that may be associated with any withdrawals or other types of transactions involving your Covered Fund. You should carefully monitor your Covered Fund, any withdrawals from your Covered Fund, and any changes to your Benefit Base. You may contact us at (866) 317-6586 for information about your Benefit Base.
Death During the GAW Phase
If You Die After the Initial Installment Date as a Sole Covered Person
If you die after the Initial Installment date without a joint Covered Person, the Certificate will terminate and no further Installments will be paid. The remaining Covered Fund Value shall be distributed to the Beneficiaries in accordance with the IRA. If permitted by the IRA and the Code, the GLWB Elector’s Beneficiary may elect to become an Owner in which event an initial Benefit Base shall be established and he or she will be subject to all terms and conditions of the Certificate, the IRA Contract and the Code. This will be a new Certificate Election Date. Any election made by the Beneficiary is irrevocable.
If You Die After the Initial Installment Date while Joint Covered Person is Living
Upon your death after the Initial Installment Date, and while the joint Covered Person is still living, the joint Covered Person/Beneficiary may elect to become an Owner (if permitted by the IRA and the Code) and he or she will acquire all rights under the Certificate and continue to receive GAW Installments based on your original election. Installments may continue to be paid to the surviving Covered Person based on the GAW% for joint Covered Persons as described above.
Installments will continue to be paid to the surviving Covered Person until his or her death and the surviving Covered Person’s beneficiary will receive any remaining Covered Fund Value on the date of death. Alternatively, he or she may elect to receive his or her portion of the Covered Fund Value on the date of death as a lump sum Distribution or can separately elect to become an Owner and will be subject to all terms and conditions of the Certificate, the IRA Contract and the Code. If the surviving Covered Person elects to separately become an Owner, the date of the election will be the new Ratchet Date.
Any election made by the Beneficiary is irrevocable.
THE SETTLEMENT PHASE
The Settlement Phase begins when the Covered Fund Value has reduced to zero as a result of negative Covered Fund performance, the Guarantee Benefit Fee, certain other fees that are not directly associated with the Certificate or Group Contract (e.g., IRA fees, custodian fees, advisory fees), and/or GAWs, but the Benefit Base is still positive. It is also important to understand that the Settlement Phase is the first time that we use our own money to make Installments to you. During the GAW Phase, the GAWs are made first from your own investment.
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Installments continue for your life under the terms of the Certificate, but all other rights and benefits under the Certificate will terminate. Installments will continue in the same frequency as previously elected, and cannot be changed during the Settlement Phase. If the Covered Fund Value is less than the amount of the final Installment in the GAW Phase, Great-West will pay the Installment within 7 days from the Installment Date. Distributions and Transfers are not permitted during the Settlement Phase.
During the Settlement Phase, the Guarantee Benefit Fee will not be deducted from the Certificate or from the Installments.
When the last Covered Person dies during the Settlement Phase, the Certificate will terminate and no Installments will be paid to the Beneficiary.
EXAMPLES OF HOW THE CERTIFICATE WORKS
A note about the examples:
All Certificate Contributions are assumed to be at the end of the year and occur immediately before the next Ratchet Date.
All withdrawals are assumed to be at the beginning of the year and occur on the Ratchet Date.
All positive investment performance of the Covered Fund is assumed to be net of investment management fees.
In all of the examples, you have access to your Covered Fund Value until it is depleted:
If you die before the Covered Fund Value is depleted, the remaining Covered Fund Value would be available to your Beneficiary.
If you need to take a withdrawal in excess of your GAW, you may take up to the Covered Fund Value, which will be considered an Excess Withdrawal.
Example 1 Basic: Assume you buy the Certificate at age 65 and start taking GAWs in annual Installments immediately. Also, assume that the Covered Fund Value (net of investment management fees) decreases by 10% in the first two years and increases by 5% every year thereafter.
Details:
Sole Covered Person
Initial Covered Fund Value: $500,000
GAW Percent: 5%
GAW Amount: $500,000 x 5% = $25,000
Guarantee Benefit Fee: 0.90%
Changes in Covered Fund Value (net of investment management fees):
Year 1: -10%, Year 2: -10%, Years 3+: 5%
Result:
You annually withdraw $25,000 from your Covered Fund until about age 87 when the Covered Fund is depleted:
At age 87 your Covered Fund Value is $9,474.
You withdraw the $9,474 which depletes the Covered Fund and you are now in Settlement Phase.
We provide the remaining $15,526 necessary to make the Installment of $25,000.
We continue to pay Installments of $25,000 each year for your life.
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Illustration:
Example 2 Ratchet: Assume you buy the Certificate at age 55 and start taking GAWs in annual Installments at age 65. Also, assume that the Covered Fund Value (net of investment management fees) increases by 5% in years 1 through 7, decreases by 10% in years 8 through 11, and increases by 5% thereafter.
Details:
Sole Covered Person
Initial Covered Fund Value: $500,000
GAW Percent: 5%
Guarantee Benefit Fee: 0.90%
Changes in Covered Fund Value (net of investment management fees):
Years 1 through 7: 5%, Years 8 through 11: -10%, Years 12+: 5%
Result:
Positive Covered Fund performance through year 7 results in a Covered Fund Value of $662,407 on your Ratchet Date.
Your Benefit Base Ratchets to $662,407.
Covered Fund Value at the beginning of year 10 is $468,552, but GAWs are based on the Benefit Base, which is $662,407.
GAWs are $662,407 x 5% = $33,120.
You annually withdraw $33,120 from your Covered Fund until about age 81 when the Covered Fund is depleted:
At age 81, your Covered Fund Value is $13,326.
You withdraw the $13,326 which depletes the Covered Fund and you are now in Settlement Phase. We provide the remaining $19,794 necessary to make the Installment $33,120.
We continue to pay Installments of $33,120 each year for your life.
Illustration:
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Example 3 Additional Certificate Contributions: Assume you buy the Certificate at age 55 and you make annual Certificate Contributions of $2,500 until you start taking GAWs in annual Installments at age 65. Also, assume that the Covered Fund Value (net of investment management fees) decreases by 5% in years 1 through 10 and increases by 5% thereafter.
Details:
Sole Covered Person
Initial Covered Fund Value: $500,000
Additional Annual Certificate Contributions until GAWs Begin: $2,500
GAW Percent: 5%
Guarantee Benefit Fee: 0.90%
Changes in Covered Fund Value (net of investment management fees):
Years 1 through 10: -5%, Years 11+: 5%
Result:
Poor Covered Fund performance in years 1 through 10 results in a Covered Fund Value of $291,493 at the end of year 10.
Your Benefit Base at the end of year 10 is $525,000 as a result of the additional Certificate Contributions in years 1 through 10.
GAWs are $525,000 x 5% = $26,250.
You annually withdraw $26,250 from your Covered Fund until about age 79 when the Covered Fund is depleted:
At age 79, your Covered Fund Value is $8,316. You withdraw the $8,316 which depletes the Covered Fund and you are now in Settlement Phase. We provide the remaining $17,934 necessary to make the
Installment $26,250.
We continue to pay Installments of $26,250 each year for your life.
Illustration:
GUARANTEE BENEFIT FEE
After you purchase your Certificate, you are required to pay the Guarantee Benefit Fee. The Guarantee Benefit Fee is set forth in your Certificate, and is based on the dollar amount of your Covered Fund Value (which may be the same as, higher than, or lower than, your Benefit Base due to factors that affect your Covered Fund Value between Ratchet Dates, such as Covered Fund performance). The Guarantee Benefit Fee will be deducted monthly as a separate charge from your Covered Fund and will be paid by redeeming the number of fund shares of your Covered Fund(s) equal to the Guarantee Benefit Fee.
Pursuant to the terms of the Certificate, you have agreed to have the Covered Fund’s transfer agent redeem the appropriate number of Covered Fund shares and transmit the corresponding amount of cash to your IRA custodian. The custodian, in turn, will submit this cash to us as payment of the Guarantee Benefit Fee. We will collect the fee from the custodian on a monthly basis in arrears. We reserve the right to change the frequency of the deduction, but will notify you in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to the change. Because your Benefit Base may not exceed $5,000,000, we will not charge the Guarantee Benefit Fee on an amount of your Covered Fund Value that exceeds $5,000,000.
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Currently the Guarantee Benefit Fee is 0.90% and is subject to a minimum of 0.70% and a maximum of 1.50%. This is the guaranteed maximum or minimum Guarantee Benefit Fee we can ever charge for your Certificate. We may change the current fee within this minimum and maximum range at any time upon thirty (30) days written notice to you. We determine the Guarantee Benefit Fee based on observations of a number of experience factors, including, but not limited to, interest rates, volatility, investment returns, expenses, mortality, and lapse rates. We reserve the right to change the Guarantee Benefit Fee at our discretion and for any reason, whether or not these experience factors change (although we will never increase the fee above the maximum or decrease the fee below the minimum). We do not need any particular event to occur before we may change the Guarantee Benefit Fee.
The Guarantee Benefit Fee is in addition to any charges that are imposed in connection with advisory, custodial, and other services, and charges imposed by the mutual funds in which you invest.
At the time we calculate the Guarantee Benefit Fee, the Covered Fund Value may be less than the Benefit Base:
Example of how the Guarantee Benefit Fee is Computed (Covered Fund Value is Less Than Benefit Base)
Date: 1/31
Covered Fund Value = $100,000
Benefit Base = $125,000
Guarantee Benefit Fee = 0.90% x Covered Fund Value / 12
Guarantee Benefit Fee = 0.90% x $100,000 / 12 = $75.00
At the time we calculate the Guarantee Benefit Fee, the Covered Fund Value may be greater than the Benefit Base:
Example of how the Guarantee Benefit Fee is Computed (Covered Fund Value is Greater Than Benefit Base)
Date: 1/31
Covered Fund Value = $130,000
Benefit Base = $125,000
Guarantee Benefit Fee = 0.90% x Covered Fund Value / 12
Guarantee Benefit Fee = 0.90% x $130,000 / 12 = $97.50
The Guarantee Benefit Fee compensates us for the costs and risks we assume for providing the Certificate (including marketing, administration, and profit).
If we do not receive the Guarantee Benefit Fee (except during Settlement Phase), including as a result of the failure of your IRA custodian to submit it to us, the Certificate will terminate as of the date that the fee is due.
Will you pay the same amount (in dollars) for the Withdrawal Guarantee every month?
Example 1: Declining Covered Fund Value results in declining Guarantee Benefit Fee
Date: 1/31
Covered Fund Value = $100,000
Benefit Base = $125,000
Guarantee Benefit Fee = 0.90% x Covered Fund Value / 12
Guarantee Benefit Fee = 0.90% x $100,000 / 12 = $75.00
Date: 2/28
Covered Fund Value = $90,000
Benefit Base = $125,000
Guarantee Benefit Fee = 0.90% x Covered Fund Value / 12
Guarantee Benefit Fee = 0.90% x $90,000 / 12 = $67.50
Note: in this example, the Guarantee Benefit Fee declined because the Covered Fund Value declined. This could be the result of negative Covered Fund performance.
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Example 2: Increasing Covered Fund Value results in increasing Guarantee Benefit Fee
Date: 1/31
Covered Fund Value = $100,000
Benefit Base = $125,000
Guarantee Benefit Fee = 0.90% x Covered Fund Value / 12
Guarantee Benefit Fee = 0.90% x $100,000 / 12 = $75.00
Date: 2/28
Covered Fund Value = $120,000
Benefit Base = $125,000
Guarantee Benefit Fee = 0.90% x Covered Fund Value / 12
Guarantee Benefit Fee = 0.90% x $120,000 / 12 = $90.00
Note: in this example, the Guarantee Benefit Fee increased because the Covered Fund Value increased. This could be the result of several factors including positive Covered Fund performance, Transfers, or Certificate Contributions.
DIVORCE PROVISIONS UNDER THE CERTIFICATE
In the event of a divorce whose decree affects a Certificate, we will require written notice of the divorce in a manner acceptable to us and a copy of the applicable Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”). A QDRO is a domestic relations order that creates or recognizes the existence of an Alternate Payee’s right to receive all or a portion of the benefits payable with respect to a GLWB Elector. A QDRO may also assign an Alternate Payee the right to receive these benefits.
Depending on which phase the Certificate is in when we receive the QDRO, the benefits of the Certificate will be altered to comply with the QDRO. The Alternate Payee under the QDRO may make certain elections during the Accumulation or GAW Phases. Any elections made by the Alternate Payee are irrevocable to the extent that an Alternate Payee becomes a GLWB Elector, he or she will be subject to all terms and conditions of the Certificate, the IRA Contract and the Code.
During the Accumulation Phase
Great-West will make payments to the Alternate Payee and/or establish an Account on behalf of the Alternate Payee named in a QDRO approved during the Accumulation Phase. The Alternate Payee is responsible for submitting a Request to begin Distributions in accordance with the Code.
If the Alternate Payee is the GLWB Elector’s spouse during the Accumulation Phase, he or she may elect to become a GLWB Elector, either by:
(i) maintaining the current proportionate Benefit Base of the previous GLWB Elector; or
(ii) establishing a new Benefit Base based on the current Covered Fund Value on the date his or her Account is established and he or she will continue as a GLWB Elector.
If the Alternate Payee elects to maintain the current Benefit Base, the Benefit Base and the Covered Fund Value will be divided between the GLWB Elector and the Alternate Payee. The Covered Fund Value will be divided pursuant to the terms of the QDRO. The Benefit Base will be divided in the same proportion as the Covered Fund Value.
In either situation, the Alternate Payee’s Certificate Election Date shall be the date the Account is established.
A non-spouse Alternate Payee cannot elect to maintain the current Benefit Base, or proportionate share, but may elect to establish a new GLWB. The Benefit Base and Certificate Election Date will be based on the current Covered Fund Value on the date his or her Account is established. Any election made by an Alternate Payee described in this section is irrevocable.
During the GAW Phase
Great-West will make payment to the Alternate Payee and/or establish an Account on behalf of the Alternate Payee named in a QDRO approved during the GAW Phase. The Alternate Payee is responsible for submitting a Request to begin Distributions in accordance with the Code.
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If there is a Sole Covered Person
Pursuant to the instructions in the QDRO, the Benefit Base and GAW will be divided in the same proportion as their respective Covered Fund Values as of the effective date of the QDRO. The GLWB Elector may continue to receive the proportional GAWs after the accounts are split. If the Alternate Payee is the GLWB Elector’s spouse, he or she may elect to receive his or her portion of the Covered Fund Value as a lump sum Distribution or can separately elect to become a GLWB Elector.
If there are two Covered Persons
Pursuant to the instructions in the QDRO, the Benefit Base and GAW will be divided in the same proportion as their respective Covered Fund Values as of the effective date of the QDRO. The GLWB Elector may continue to receive the proportional GAWs after the accounts are split, based on the amounts calculated pursuant to the joint Covered Person GAW%.
If the Alternate Payee is the GLWB Elector’s spouse, he or she may elect to receive his or her portion of the Covered Fund Value as a lump sum Distribution or can separately elect to continue proportionate GAWs in the GAW Phase based on the amounts calculated pursuant to the joint Covered Persons GAW%, described in the “GAW PhaseCalculation of Installment,” after the accounts are split. A new Ratchet Date will be established for the Alternate Payee on the date the Accounts are split. Within thirty (30) days of each person’s Ratchet Date, the GLWB Elector and Alternate Payee can each elect a Reset based on the person’s own Attained Age GAW% for joint Covered Persons.
In the alternative, the Alternate Payee may establish a new GLWB in the Accumulation Phase with the Benefit Base based on the current Covered Fund Value on the date his or her Account is established.
A non-spouse Alternate Payee cannot elect to maintain the current Benefit Base or GAW but may elect to establish a new GLWB. The Benefit Base and Certificate Election Date will be based on the current Covered Fund Value on the date his or her Account is established. Any election made by an Alternate Payee described in this section is irrevocable.
During the Settlement Phase
If a Request in connection with a QDRO is approved during the Settlement Phase, Great-West will divide the Installment pursuant to the terms of the QDRO. Installments will continue pursuant to the lives of each payee.
EFFECT OF ANNUITIZATION
If you elect to annuitize, if permitted by the IRA, prior to the Initial Installment Date, the Certificate will terminate for those Covered Fund assets and the Guarantee Benefit Fee will not be refunded. If, based upon information provided by the Certificate Owner, the GLWB Elector is entitled to a Distribution under the applicable terms and provisions of the IRA and the Code sections governing the IRA, all or a portion of an Account may be applied to an annuity payment option selected by the GLWB Elector, so long as the requirements of the Code are met. Thereafter, the Certificate shall no longer be applicable with respect to amounts in the annuity payment option.
The amount to be applied to an annuity payment option is: (i) the portion of the Account value elected by GLWB Elector, less (ii) Applicable Tax, if any, less (iii) any fees and charges described in the Certificate. The minimum amount that may be applied under the elected annuity option is $5,000. If any payments to be made under the elected annuity payment option will be less than $50, Great-West may make the payments in the most frequent interval that produces a payment of at least $50.
Great-West will issue a certificate or other statement setting forth in substance the benefits, rights, and privileges to which such person is entitled under the Group Contract, to each Annuitant describing the benefits payable under the elected annuity payment option.
Election of Annuity Options
An Annuitant is required to elect an annuity payment option. The Annuitant must Request an annuity payment option or change an annuity payment option no later than 30 days prior to the Annuity Commencement Date elected by the GLWB Elector.
To the extent available under the IRA, the annuity payment options are:
Income for Single Life Only
Income for Single Life with Guaranteed Period
Income for Joint Life Only
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Income for Joint Life with Guaranteed Period
Income for a Specific Period
Any other form of annuity payment permitted under the IRA, if acceptable to Great-West.
The annuity option that will always be available is the Income for Single Life Only Annuity. If this annuity option is elected, Great-West will make payments to the Annuitant at a frequency specified in the annuity certificate or other statement for the duration of the Annuitant’s lifetime. Payments will cease pursuant to the terms of the certificate or other statement.
Annuity purchase rates will be the same rates that are available for a Single Premium Immediate Annuity currently offered by Great-West at the time of annuitization.
TERMINATION OF THE GROUP CONTRACT
Either Great-West or the Group Contract Owner may terminate the  Group Contract with advance written notice to the other party. The  Group Contract termination date shall be the seventy-fifth (75th) or next Business Day after the date written notice is received in the Administrative Offices in good order. Prior to the  Group Contract termination date, Great-West and the Group Contract Owner may agree to an alternate  Group Contract termination date.
If the Group Contract Owner or Great-West Terminates the Group Contract
If the Group Contract Owner or Great-West terminates the Group Contract, such termination will not adversely affect the Certificate Owner’s rights under the Group Contract, except that additional Certificate Contributions may not be invested in the Covered Fund(s) other than reinvested dividends and capital gains. You will still be obligated to pay the Guarantee Benefit Fee.
Other Termination
Your rights under the Group Contract and the Certificate will automatically terminate if: (i) your Financial Services Provider discontinues the use of the Covered Fund and a rollover or transfer is not applicable; (ii) Great-West is unable to collect the Guarantee Benefit Fee; or (iii) Great-West cannot effectively administer the Contract. If the Contract is automatically terminated, we will not refund the Guarantee Benefit Fee.
In addition, your rights under the Group Contract and the Certificate terminate if you terminate your IRA, such as by making a full distribution of all of the assets in the IRA, or move your IRA to an IRA provider that does not offer the Certificate. We will not refund the Guarantee Benefit Fee upon termination of the IRA.
In the event of a complete IRA termination, the affected GLWB Elector (“Terminated GLWB Elector”) may elect a direct rollover of his or her Covered Fund assets to an IRA that offers a Great-West approved GLWB feature, if available. In this situation, the Benefit Base and GAW, if applicable, will be retained as of the date of Distribution from the Covered Fund(s) and will apply to the new GLWB feature. Great-West determines in its sole discretion whether or not it will approve any GLWB feature. The terms and conditions of any new GLWB feature will likely differ from the terms and conditions of the Certificate. In addition, the fees associated with any new GLWB feature will likely differ from, and may be greater than, the Guarantee Benefit Fee. The Terminated GLWB Elector may instead choose to transfer the Covered Fund Value to any investment vehicle that does not offer a GLWB feature or to an investment vehicle that offers a GLWB feature, but does not permit the GLWB Elector to apply his or her Benefit Base and GAW to such feature. In this situation, the Benefit Base and GAW, if applicable, will be reduced to zero as of the date of the Distribution from the Covered Fund(s).
TERMINATION OF THE CERTIFICATE
The Certificate will terminate upon the earliest of:
a. the date of death of a GLWB Elector during the Accumulation Phase (unless an election is made by a Beneficiary who is the spouse of the GLWB Elector to continue the Certificate); or
b. the date of death of the Certificate Owner after the Initial Installment Date if there is no surviving Covered Person; or
c. the date of death of the last Covered Person during the Settlement Phase; or
d. the date that you cancel the Certificate as a result of reducing the Covered Fund Value or the Benefit Base to zero prior to the Settlement Phase due to one or more Excess Withdrawals or by failing to pay the Guarantee Benefit Fee; or
e. the date that we do not receive the Guarantee Benefit Fee (except during the Settlement Phase, when no fee is due); or
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f. the date that you annuitize some or all of the Covered Fund assets (the Certificate will terminate only with respect to the Covered Fund assets that are annuitized).
We will not provide Certificate Owners with notice prior to termination of the Certificate and the Guarantee Benefit Fee will not be refunded upon termination of the Certificate.
If the Group Contract has terminated, we will not accept any additional Certificate Contributions. If the Group Contract has not terminated, but the Certificate has terminated, then we will treat any new Certificate Contribution to a Covered Fund as a new election and will issue a new Certificate. We will calculate the Benefit Base based on the current Covered Fund Value on the date the new Certificate is established.
MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
Periodic Communications to Certificate Owners
Account statements will be provided to you periodically by your IRA custodian, or its designated third party.
Amendments to the Group Contract and Certificate
The Contract and Certificate may be amended to conform to changes in applicable law or interpretations of applicable law, or to accommodate design changes. Amendments (if any) to accommodate design changes will be applicable only with respect to purchasers of new Certificates, unless the Company reasonably determines the change would be favorable for all existing Certificate Owners. Changes in the Group Contract and Certificate may need to be approved by the state insurance departments. The consent of the Group Contract Owner and/or Certificate Owner to an amendment will be obtained to the extent required by law.
Successor Trustee
We have entered into a Trust Agreement with the Group Contract Owner to establish and maintain a Trust for the purpose of making the guarantee available on a group basis and to obtain coverage on a group basis. The Group Contract Owner serves as the trustee. Pursuant to the terms of the Trust Agreement, the Group Contract Owner may not terminate the Trust until a successor trustee is named. If a successor trustee is named and the Trust is terminated, the Certificate Owner will not lose his or her rights under the Certificate.
Assignment
The interests of the Certificate Owner in the Certificate may not be transferred, sold, assigned, pledged, charged, encumbered, or, in any way, alienated.
Cancellation
Once you purchase the Certificate, you can cancel your Certificate by causing the Covered Fund Value or the Benefit Base to be reduced to zero prior to the Settlement Phase due to one or more Excess Withdrawals or by failing to pay the Guarantee Benefit Fee. However, if the Excess Withdrawal(s) occurs as a result of a same day Transfer between Covered Funds (i.e., shares of a Covered Fund are sold and shares of another Covered Fund are purchased on the same day), then your Certificate will not be canceled even if the Benefit Base of the Covered Fund(s) is reduced to zero.
Misstatements
We may require adequate proof of the age and death of the Annuitant, GLWB Elector or Covered Person(s) before processing a Request for GAWs and annuity payments. If the age of the Annuitant, GLWB Elector or Covered Person(s) has been misstated, the Installment or annuity payment established for him or her will be made on the basis or his or her correct age.
Any correction required due to misstatements may be corrected by Great-West, including increasing or decreasing future payments, in accordance with applicable law.
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FINANCIAL CONDITION OF THE COMPANY
Many financial services companies, including insurance companies, have faced challenges in this low interest rate environment, and we are not immune to those challenges. We know it is important for you to understand how these or similar events may affect our ability to meet guarantees that may be provided under your Certificate. The Certificate is not a separate account product, which means that no assets are set aside in a segregated or “separate” account to satisfy all obligations under the Certificates. Installments during Settlement Phase (if any) will be paid from our general account and, therefore, are subject to our claims paying ability. We issue other types of insurance policies and financial products as well, such as group variable annuities offered through retirement plans, term and universal life insurance, funding agreements, funding agreements backing notes and guaranteed investment contracts (“GICs”), and we also pay our obligations under these products from our assets in the general account. In the event of an insolvency or receivership, payments we make from our general account to satisfy claims under the contract would generally receive the same priority as our other policyholder obligations.
As an insurance company, we are required by state insurance regulation to hold a specified amount of reserves in order to meet all the contractual obligations of our general account to our contract owners. In order to meet our claims-paying obligations, we regularly monitor our reserves to ensure we hold sufficient amounts to cover actual or expected contract and claims payments. In addition, we actively hedge our investments in our general account. However, it is important to note that there is no guarantee that we will always be able to meet our claims paying obligations, and that there are risks to purchasing any insurance product.
State insurance regulators also require insurance companies to maintain a minimum amount of capital, which acts as a cushion in the event that the insurer suffers a financial impairment, based on the inherent risks in the insurer’s operations. These risks include those associated with losses that we may incur as the result of defaults on the payment of interest or principal on our general account assets, which include bonds, mortgages, general real estate investments, and stocks, as well as the loss in value of these investments resulting from a loss in their market value.
Additional information regarding the Company, its business, senior management, and financial condition, is presented below in “Additional Information Regarding the Company.” We encourage both existing and prospective Owners to read and understand our audited financial statements, which are included in this prospectus in “Appendix A – Company Financial Statements and Other Financial Information.” We prepare our audited financial statements on a statutory basis pursuant to laws and regulations promulgated by the Colorado Division of Insurance (this method of accounting is referred to herein as “Statutory” accounting). You may obtain a free copy of our financial statements for the most recent fiscal year by calling (800) 537-2033 or writing to the Administrative Office. In addition, our financial statements filed with this prospectus are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.govand on our website at www.greatwest.com.
You also will find on our website information on ratings assigned to us by one or more independent rating organizations. These ratings are opinions of an operating insurance company’s financial capacity to meet the obligations of its insurance and annuity contracts based on its financial strength and/or claims-paying ability.
TAXATION OF THE CERTIFICATE
The following is a general discussion based on our interpretation of current United States federal income tax laws. This discussion does not address all possible circumstances that may be relevant to the tax treatment of a particular Certificate Owner. In general, this discussion does not address the tax treatment of transactions involving investment assets held in your IRA except insofar as they may be affected by the holding of a Certificate. Further, it does not address the consequences, if any, of holding a Certificate under applicable federal estate tax laws or state and local income and inheritance tax laws. You should also be aware that the tax laws may change, possibly with retroactive effect. You should consult your own tax advisor regarding the potential tax implications of purchasing a Certificate in light of your particular circumstances.
In General
The Certificate is a novel and innovative instrument and, to date, its proper characterization and consequences for federal income tax purposes have not been directly addressed in any cases, administrative rulings or other published authorities. We can give no assurances that the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) will agree with our interpretations regarding the proper tax treatment of a Certificate or the effect (if any) of the purchase of a Certificate on the tax treatment of any transactions in your Account, or that a court will agree with our interpretations if the IRS challenges them. You should consult a tax advisor before purchasing a Certificate.
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IRAs
A Certificate may be used only with traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs (collectively, “IRAs”). A Certificate may be purchased by an IRA, including a brokerage account held under that IRA. A Certificate is not available as an Individual Retirement Annuity or for use with any other type of tax-qualified retirement plan.
The tax rules applicable to Certificates vary according to the type of IRA and the terms and conditions of the IRA. Adverse tax consequences may result if you do not ensure that contributions, distributions and other transactions with respect to the Certificate comply with the law. No attempt is made here to provide more than general information about the use of the Certificate with the IRA. Owners of IRAs, as well as beneficiaries, are cautioned that the rights of any person to any benefits under such IRA may be subject to the terms and conditions of the IRA itself or limited by applicable law, regardless of the terms and conditions of the Certificate.
A Certificate is available only with respect to the IRA for which the Certificate is purchased.
A Certificate is intended for purchase only by the trustee or custodian of an IRA.
We are not responsible for determining whether a Certificate complies with the terms and conditions of, or applicable law governing, any IRA. You are responsible for making that determination. Similarly, we are not responsible for administering any applicable tax or other legal requirements applicable to your IRA. You or a service provider for your IRA is responsible for determining that distributions, beneficiary designations, investment restrictions, charges and other transactions under a Certificate are consistent with the terms and conditions of your IRA and applicable law.
If your spouse is a joint Covered Person, your spouse must be your sole beneficiary under your IRA.
IRAs may be subject to required minimum distribution rules. Withdrawals during the GAW Phase from your Covered Fund Value taken to meet required minimum distribution requirements, in the proportion of your Covered Fund Value to your overall IRA balance (and not taking into account any other IRAs you own), will be deemed to be within the contract limits for your Certificate and will not be treated as Excess Withdrawals. The required minimum distribution shall not exceed the required minimum distribution amount calculated under the Code and regulations issued thereunder as in effect on the Certificate Date. In the event of a dispute about the required minimum distribution amount, our determination will govern.
IRAs can be terminated. You generally can choose to discontinue your own IRA, and either receive a distribution from the IRA or transfer it to another IRA provider. Also, most IRA providers reserve the right to resign from the IRA; if that happens, in most cases you can choose to have your IRA either distributed to you or transferred to another IRA provider. If your IRA is either distributed to you or transferred to another IRA provider that does not offer the Certificate, you will cause your Certificate to terminate.
Numerous changes have been made to the income tax rules governing IRAs as a result of legislation enacted during the past several years, including rules with respect to: maximum contributions, required distributions, penalty taxes on early or insufficient distributions, and income tax withholding on distributions. The following are general descriptions of the various types of IRAs and of the use of the contracts in connection therewith.
Individual Retirement Accounts. Code Sections 408 and 408A permit eligible individuals to contribute to an individual retirement program known as an “IRA” or “Roth IRA.” These IRAs are subject to limitations on the amount that may be contributed, the persons who may be eligible, the time when distributions must commence, and certain other transactions. The contributions to an IRA may be deductible in whole or in part, depending on your income and other circumstances. In addition, distributions from certain other types of qualified plans may be “rolled over” on a tax-deferred basis into an IRA without regard to deduction limitations.
Tax on Certain Distributions Relating to IRAs. Distributions under a Certificate may be paid to the IRA, if permitted under the terms of the IRA, or directly to you. Distributions paid to the IRA are not in and of themselves taxable.
In the case of distributions from a traditional IRA to you, including payments to you from a Certificate, a ratable portion of the amount received is taxable, generally based on the ratio of your cost basis (if any) to your total accrued benefit under the IRA. Section 72(t) of the Code imposes a 10% penalty tax on the taxable portion of any distribution from IRAs. To the extent amounts are not includable in gross income because they have been properly rolled over to another IRA or to another eligible qualified plan, no tax penalty will be imposed. The tax penalty also will not apply to: (a) distributions made on or after the date on which you reach age 59 12; (b) distributions following your death or disability (for this purpose disability is as defined in Section 72(m)(7) of the Code); (c) distributions that are part of substantially equal periodic payments made not less frequently
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than annually for your life (or life expectancy) or the joint lives (or joint life expectancies) of you and your designated beneficiary; and (d) certain other distributions specified in the Code.
Distributions from a Roth IRA generally are not taxed, except that, once aggregate distributions exceed contributions to the Roth IRA, income tax and a 10% penalty tax may apply to distributions made (1) before age 59 12 (subject to certain exceptions) or (2) during the five taxable years starting with the year in which the first contribution is made to any Roth IRA. A 10% penalty tax may apply to amounts attributable to a conversion to a Roth IRA from a traditional IRA if they are distributed during the five taxable years beginning with the year in which the conversion was made.
Generally, distributions from a traditional IRA must commence no later than April 1 of the calendar year following the year in which the individual attains age 70 12. Required distributions must be over a period not exceeding the life expectancy of the individual or the joint lives or life expectancies of the individual and his or her designated beneficiary. Distribution requirements also apply to IRAs (including Roth IRAs) upon the death of the IRA owner. If the required minimum distributions are not made, a 50% penalty tax is imposed as to the amount not distributed.
Distributions from IRAs and Roth IRAs generally are subject to withholding for the individual’s federal income tax liability, subject to the individual’s election not to have tax withheld. The withholding rate varies according to the type of distribution and the individual’s tax status.
Distributions that are rolled over to an IRA within 60 days are not immediately taxable, however only one such rollover is permitted each year. Beginning in 2015, an individual can make only one rollover from an IRA to another (or the same) IRA in any 12-month period, regardless of the number of IRAs that are owned. The limit will apply by aggregating all of an individual’s IRAs, including SEP and SIMPLE IRAs as well as traditional and Roth IRAs, effectively treating them as one IRA for purposes of the limit. This limit does not apply to direct trustee-to-trustee transfers or conversions to Roth IRAs.
The Certificate provides that upon your death, a surviving Spouse may have certain continuation rights that he or she may elect to exercise for the Certificate’s death benefit and any joint-life coverage under the GLWB. All Certificate provisions relating to spousal continuation are available only to a person recognized as a spouse under federal law. The term, Spouse, does not include a party to a registered domestic partnership, civil union, or similar formal relationship recognized under state law that is not denominated a marriage under that state’s law. Consult a tax adviser for more information on this subject.
Annuity purchases by nonresident aliens. The discussion above provides general information regarding U.S. federal income tax consequences to annuity purchasers that are U.S. citizens or residents. Purchasers that are not U.S. citizens or residents will generally be subject to U.S. federal withholding tax on taxable distributions from annuity contracts at a 30% rate, unless a lower treaty rate applies. In addition, such purchasers may be subject to state and/or municipal taxes and taxes that may be imposed by the purchaser’s country of citizenship or residence. Prospective purchasers are advised to consult with a qualified tax adviser regarding U.S., state, and foreign taxation with respect to an annuity contract purchase.
Seek Tax Advice. The above description of federal income tax consequences of the different types of IRAs which may be funded by a Certificate offered by this prospectus is only a brief summary meant to alert you to the issues and is not intended as tax advice. Anything less than full compliance with the applicable rules, all of which are subject to change, may have adverse tax consequences. Any person considering the purchase of a Certificate in connection with an IRA should first consult a qualified tax advisor, with regard to the suitability of a Certificate for the IRA.
SALES OF THE CERTIFICATES
We have entered into an underwriting agreement with GWFS Equities for the distribution and sale of the Certificates. Pursuant to this agreement, GWFS Equities serves as principal underwriter for the Certificates, offering them on a continuous basis.
GWFS Equities is located at 8515 East Orchard Road, Greenwood Village, CO 80111. GWFS Equities will use its best efforts to sell the Certificates, but is not required to sell any specific number or dollar amount of Certificates.
GWFS Equities was organized as a corporation under the laws of the State of Delaware in 1984 and is an affiliate of ours. GWFS Equities is registered as a broker-dealer with the SEC under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as well as with the securities administrators in the states in which it operates, and is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”).
GWFS Equities offers the Certificates through its registered representatives who are registered with FINRA and with the states in which they do business. More information about GWFS Equities and its registered representatives is available at www.finra.org or by calling 800-289-9999. You can also obtain an investor brochure from FINRA describing its Public Disclosure Program.
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Registered representatives with GWFS Equities are also licensed as insurance agents in the states in which they do business and are appointed with us.
GWFS Equities may also enter into selling agreements with unaffiliated broker-dealers to sell the Certificates. The registered representatives of these selling firms are registered with FINRA and with the states in which they do business, are licensed as insurance agents in the states in which they do business, and are appointed with us.
We do not pay commissions to GWFS Equities or to the unaffiliated broker-dealers in connection with the sale or solicitation of the Certificates. However, we may provide non-cash compensation in the form of training and education programs to registered representatives of GWFS Equities who sell the Certificates as well as registered representatives of unaffiliated broker-dealers. Registered representatives of GWFS Equities also sell other insurance products that we offer and may receive certain non-cash items, such as conferences, trips, prizes and awards under non-cash incentive compensation programs pertaining to those products. None of the items are directly attributable to the sale or solicitation of the Certificates. Such compensation will not be conditioned upon achievement of a sales target. Finally, we and GWFS Equities may provide small gifts and occasional entertainment to registered representatives with GWFS Equities or other selling firms in circumstances in which such items are not preconditioned on achievement of sales targets.
At times, GWFS Equities may make other cash and non-cash payments to selling firms for expenses relating to the recruitment and training of personnel, periodic sales meetings, the production of promotional sales literature and similar expenses. These expenses may also relate to the synchronization of technology between the Company, GWFS Equities, and the selling firm in order to coordinate data for the sale and maintenance of the Certificates. The amount of other cash and non-cash compensation paid by GWFS Equities or its affiliated companies ranges significantly among the selling firms. GWFS Equities and its affiliates may receive payments from affiliates of the selling firms that are unrelated to the sale of the Certificates. Any amounts paid by GWFS Equities to a selling firm or by Great-West to a selling firm are derived from the general account assets of Great-West and are not deducted from the Guarantee Benefit Fee. The Guarantee Benefit Fee does not vary because of such payments to such selling firms.
Although the Company and GWFS Equities do not anticipate discontinuing offering the Certificates, we do reserve the right to discontinue offering the Certificates at any time.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING THE CERTIFICATE
Owner Questions
The obligations to Owners and Covered Persons under the Group Contracts and Certificates are ours. Please direct your questions and concerns to us at our Administrative Office.
Return Privilege
Within the free-look period (up to 30 days under applicable state law) after you receive an individual contract, you may cancel it for any reason by delivering or mailing it postage prepaid to:
Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company
Annuity Administration
8515 East Orchard Road
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
If the Owner cancels an individual contract, the individual contract will be void. Any applicable free-look does not include the Covered Fund, which is a separate investment from the individual contract. There is no free-look period for purchasers of Certificates.
State Regulation
As a life insurance company organized and operated under the laws of the State of Colorado, we are subject to provisions governing life insurers and to regulation by the Colorado Commissioner of Insurance. Our books and accounts are subject to review and examination by the Colorado Division of Insurance.
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Evidence of Death, Age, Gender, or Survival
We may require proof of the age, gender, death, or survival of any person or persons before acting on any applicable Certificate provision.
LEGAL MATTERS REGARDING THE CERTIFICATE
Certain matters regarding the offering of the securities herein have been passed upon by the Associate General Counsel for the Company. Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP has provided advice on certain matters relating to the application of federal securities laws to the Certificates.
Cyber Security Risks
Our variable annuity contract business is highly dependent upon the effective operation of our computer systems and those of our business partners, so that our business is potentially susceptible to operational and information security risks resulting from a cyber-attack. These risks include, among other things, the theft, misuse, corruption, and destruction of data maintained online or digitally, denial of service on our website and other operational disruption, and unauthorized release of confidential owner information. Cyber-attacks affecting us, the Portfolios, intermediaries and other affiliated or third-party service providers may adversely affect us and your Annuity Account Value. For instance, cyber-attacks may interfere with our processing of Contract transactions, including the processing of Transfer Requests from our website or with the Portfolios, impact our ability to calculate accumulation unit values, cause the release and possible destruction of confidential owner or business information, impede order processing, subject us and/or our service providers and intermediaries to regulatory fines and financial losses and/or cause reputational damage. Cyber security risks may also impact the issuers of securities in which the Portfolios invest, which may cause the Portfolios underlying your Contract to lose value. There can be no assurance that we or the Portfolios or our service providers will avoid losses affecting your Contract due to cyber-attacks or information security breaches in the future.
Abandoned Property Requirements
Every state has unclaimed property laws that generally provide for escheatment to the state of unclaimed property (including proceeds of annuity contracts) under various circumstances. This “escheatment” is revocable, however, and the state is obligated to pay the applicable proceeds if the property owner steps forward to claim it with the proper documentation. To help prevent such escheatment, it is important that you keep your contact and other information on file with us up to date, including the names, contact information, and identifying information for owners, annuitants, beneficiaries, and other payees.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING THE COMPANY
Corporate Organization and Overview
Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company is a stock life insurance company that was originally organized under the laws of the State of Kansas as the National Interment Association. Our name was changed to Ranger National Life Insurance Company in 1963 and to Insuramerica Corporation prior to changing to our current name in 1982. In September of 1990, we re-domesticated under the laws of the State of Colorado. Our executive office is located at 8515 East Orchard Road, Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111.
The Company is a direct wholly-owned subsidiary of GWL&A Financial Inc. (“GWL&A Financial”), a Delaware holding company. GWL&A Financial is a direct wholly-owned subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco U.S. LLC. (“Lifeco U.S.”) and an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc. (“Lifeco”), a Canadian holding company.  Lifeco operates in the United States primarily through the Company and through Putnam Investments, LLC (“Putnam”), and in Canada and Europe through The Great-West Life Assurance Company (“Great-West Life”) and its subsidiaries, London Life Insurance Company (“London Life”), The Canada Life Assurance Company (“CLAC”), and Irish Life Group Limited.  Lifeco is a subsidiary of Power Financial Corporation (“Power Financial”), a Canadian holding company with substantial interests in the financial services industry.  Power Corporation of Canada (“Power Corporation”), a Canadian holding and management company, has voting control of Power Financial. The Desmarais Family Residuary Trust, through a group of private holding companies that it controls, has voting control of Power Corporation.
The shares of Lifeco, Power Financial, and Power Corporation are traded publicly in Canada on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
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Business of the Company
The Company offers retirement plans and services, investment products, and annuities to individuals, businesses, and other private and public organizations throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands. The Company is authorized to engage in the sale of life insurance, accident and health insurance and annuities. It is qualified to do business in all states in the United States, except New York, and in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Company is also a licensed reinsurer in New York.
The Chief Operating Decision Maker (“CODM”) of the Company is also the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of the Company and Lifeco U.S. The CODM reviews the financial information for the purposes of assessing performance and allocating resources based upon the results of Lifeco U.S. and other U.S. affiliates prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards. The CODM, in his capacity as CEO of the Company, reviews the Company’s financial information only in connection with the periodic reports that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Consequently, the Company does not provide its discrete financial information to the CODM to be regularly reviewed to make decisions about resources to be allocated or to assess performance. For purposes of SEC reporting requirements under a statutory basis of accounting, the Company has chosen to present its financial information in three segments, notwithstanding the above. The three segments are: Individual Markets, Empower Retirement, and Other.
Through its Empower Retirement segment, the Company provides various retirement plan products and investment options as well as comprehensive administrative and recordkeeping services for financial institutions and employers which include educational, advisory, enrollment, and communication services for employer-sponsored defined contribution plans and associated defined benefit plans. Effective January 1, 2015, the retirement services businesses of the Company, the acquired J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services (“RPS”) and Putnam merged under the Empower Retirement brand, creating the second largest recordkeeping provider in the U.S.
Through its Individual Markets segment, the Company offers various forms of life insurance, annuity, and retirement products. On January 24, 2019, the Company announced that it had that it had entered into an agreement with Protective Life Insurance Company (“Protective”) to sell, via indemnity reinsurance, substantially all of its non-participating individual life insurance and annuity business and group life and health business, including the Contracts. Subject to the provision of certain services by the Company or its affiliates for a transitional period following the closing, Protective will agree to provide administration for the Contracts in accordance with their terms and conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2019 subject to regulatory and customary closing conditions.
No customer accounted for 10% or more of the Company’s consolidated revenues during the years 2018, 2017, or 2016. In addition, no segment of the Company’s business is dependent upon a single customer or a few customers, the loss of which would have a significant effect on it or its business segments’ operations. The loss of business from any one, or a few, independent brokers or agents would not have a material adverse effect on the Company or its business segments.
Empower Retirement Segment Principal Products
Through its Empower Retirement segment, the Company provides various retirement plan products and investment options, as well as comprehensive administrative and recordkeeping services for financial institutions and employers, which include educational, advisory, enrollment, and communication services for employer-sponsored defined contribution plans and associated defined benefit plans under Internal Revenue Code Sections 401(a), 401(k), 403(b), 408, and 457. Defined contribution plans provide for benefits based upon the value of contributions to, and investment returns on, an individual’s account. This has been a rapidly growing portion of the retirement marketplace in recent years.
The retirement plan products and investment options offered by the Company include mutual funds and collective trusts, guaranteed interest rate investment products, and variable annuity products designed to meet the specific needs of the customer. In addition, the Company offers both customized annuity and non-annuity products.
IRAsThe Company offers an individual retirement account (“IRA”) product to the public and as a distribution option for employees terminated from employer-sponsored defined contribution plans. The Company earns asset-based fees and per account fees for providing administrative and recordkeeping services for IRA accounts. For those IRAs invested in mutual funds, the Company can be reimbursed by the mutual funds for marketing, sales, and service costs under various revenue sharing agreements.
Mutual funds and collective trusts - The Company earns administration fees under various revenue sharing agreements from mutual funds and collective trusts for marketing, sales, and service costs incurred while providing services to individuals and
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institutional clients on behalf of the funds. On proprietary collective trusts, the Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Great-West Trust Company, LLC (“Great-West Trust Company”), earns an asset-based management fee.
Guaranteed interest rate investment products - On its guaranteed interest rate investment products, the Company earns investment margins on the difference between the income earned on investments in its general account and the interest credited to the participant’s account balance. The Company’s general account assets support the guaranteed investment products. The Company also manages fixed interest rate products known as stable value funds that may be structured as separate accounts, pooled collective trusts, and custom collective trusts for which it is paid a management fee that is earned by the Company either directly or through its wholly-owned subsidiaries Great-West Capital Management, LLC (“Great-West Capital Management”) or Great-West Trust Company.
Variable annuity products - The Company’s variable annuity products provide the opportunity for clients to invest on a tax deferred basis with the ability to annuitize assets. Variable annuities can be made available with GLWB which guarantees that the client is able to take contractually specified withdrawals from their assets that will continue for life regardless of market performance or longevity. The Company earns fees from the separate account for mortality and expense risks pertaining to the variable annuity contract and/or for providing administrative services. For variable annuity assets invested in mutual funds, the Company is reimbursed by the mutual funds for marketing, sales, and service costs under various revenue sharing agreements. There are additional fees charged for election of guaranteed minimum benefits. The GLWB products may be available in variable annuity products or as a stand-alone contract.
Administrative and recordkeeping services - The Company receives asset-based and/or participant-based fees for providing third-party administrative and recordkeeping services to financial institutions and employer-sponsored retirement plans. The number of Empower Retirement participant accounts has grown to 8.8 million at December 31, 2018, from over 8.3 million at December 31, 2017.
The Company’s marketing focus is directed toward providing investment management, advisory services, and recordkeeping services under Internal Revenue Code Sections 401(a), 401(k), 403(b), 408, and 457 to private corporations, state and local governments, hospitals, non-profit organizations, and public school districts. Through the Company’s wholly-owned, registered subsidiaries, Great-West Capital Management, and Advised Assets Group, LLC (“Advised Assets Group”), the Company provides investment management and advisory services. Through the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary FASCore, LLC, the Company targets and partners with other large financial institutions to provide third-party recordkeeping and administration services.
Certain revenues and expenses generated from the above products from the Empower Segment are represented in changes in value of investment in subsidiaries, as discussed further in the statutory financial statements attached.
Individual Markets Segment Principal Products
The Company’s Individual Markets segment distributes life insurance, annuity, and retirement products to both individuals and businesses through various distribution channels. Life insurance products in-force include participating and non-participating term life, whole life, universal life, and variable universal life.
Participating life insurance - Participating policyholders share in the financial results of the participating business in the form of policyholder dividends that reflect the difference between the assumptions used in the premium charged and the actual experience on those policies. The policyholder dividends can be distributed directly to the policyholders in the form of cash or through an increase in benefits such as paid-up additions. The Company no longer actively markets participating products.
Term life - Term life insurance products provide coverage for a stated period and generally do not include the accumulation of cash values. Term life insurance products pay a guaranteed death benefit only if the insured dies within the coverage period. The Company’s term life insurance earnings come from the difference between cumulative premiums collected and actual death claims.
Whole life - Whole life insurance products provide guaranteed death benefits in exchange for level premium payments for the life of the insured. Whole life insurance products include the accumulation of cash values. The policyholder can receive the accumulated cash value as a payment by surrendering the insurance policy before the death of the insured. The Company’s whole life insurance earnings come from investment income earned on assets held as reserve in the General Account and the difference between premiums collected and actual death claims.
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Universal life - Universal life insurance products include a cash value component that is credited with interest at regular intervals. The account balances for the universal life products are held in the Company’s general account. The Company’s universal life insurance earnings result from the difference between the investment income and interest credited on customer cash values and from differences between charges for mortality and actual death claims. Universal life cash values are charged for the cost of insurance coverage and for administrative expenses.
Variable universal life - Variable universal life products provide insurance coverage on the same basis as universal life, except that the account balance is directed by the policyholder into either separate account investment options or into the Company’s general account as a fixed option within the variable product. In the separate account investment options, the policyholder bears the entire risk of the investment results. The Company’s variable universal life insurance earnings result from asset-based fees, as well as from the difference between fees collected for mortality as compared to actual death claims paid.
Variable annuity products - The Company’s variable annuity products provide the opportunity for clients to invest on a tax deferred basis with the ability to annuitize assets. Variable annuities can be made available with guaranteed minimum death benefit (“GMDB”) which guarantees the client’s beneficiaries will receive at least a return of premium (less the impact of withdrawals) upon death as well as a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (“GLWB”) which guarantees that the client is able to take contractually specified withdrawals from their assets that will continue for life regardless of market performance or longevity. The Company earns fees from the separate account for mortality and expense risks pertaining to the variable annuity contract and/or for providing administrative services. For variable annuity assets invested in mutual funds, the Company is reimbursed by the mutual funds for marketing, sales, and service costs under various revenue sharing agreements. There are additional fees charged for election of guaranteed minimum benefits. The guaranteed minimum benefits may be available in variable annuity products or as a stand-alone contract.
Retention is an important factor in profitability and is encouraged through product features. For example, the Company’s life insurance and annuity contracts may impose a surrender charge on policyholder balances withdrawn within the first 10 years of the contract’s inception. The period of time and level of the surrender charge vary by product.
One of the principal markets for the Individual Markets segment is the executive benefits market. The primary executive benefits products are single premium universal life insurance, registered variable universal life insurance, private placement variable universal life insurance (“PPVUL”), and PPVUL with a stable value guarantee feature. These executive benefits life insurance policies indirectly fund employee post-retirement benefits and non-qualified benefit plans for executives.
Community and regional / national banks are the primary purchasers of single premium universal life insurance utilizing the general account and hybrid products. Regional / national banks sometimes buy PPVUL with a stable value guarantee. Corporations indirectly funding executive benefits purchase the registered variable universal life insurance and PPVUL product. The PPVUL products offer a wide array of equity and bond fund investment options.
Another principal market for the Individual Markets segment is the financial institutions market, which is a partnership between the Company and retail financial institutions to distribute individual life and annuity products. Through its institutional partners, the Company has in excess of 182,000 advisors who sell its products. During 2018 and 2017, the Company focused on the needs of the retiree marketplace by providing wealth transfer solutions to its bank partner’s customers via a single premium universal life product and meeting the retirement income needs via its variable annuity products including guaranteed benefits. Additionally, the Company continues its efforts to partner with large financial institutions to provide individual term life insurance.
Future Policy Benefit Liabilities and Life Insurance In-Force
The amount of fixed annuity products in-force is measured by future policy benefits. The following table shows group and individual annuity policy benefits supported by the Company’s general account as well as the annuity balances in Empower Retirement and Individual Markets separate accounts for the years indicated:
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  (In millions)
Year Ended
December 31,
General Account
Annuity Benefits Liabilities
Empower Retirement
Annuity Separate Accounts
Individual Markets
Annuity Separate Accounts
2018 $12,948 $14,763 $3,009
2017 $12,556 $18,729 $2,577
2016 $12,279 $19,157 $1,957
2015 $11,309 $19,340 $1,660
2014 $10,890 $20,220 $1,581
For Variable Annuities, the future policy benefit liabilities are computed on the basis of prescribed Statutory valuation interest rates and other assumptions as required by Statutory Valuation Law. For all other annuities policy benefit liabilities are established at the contract holder’s account value, which is equal to cumulative deposits and credited interest, less withdrawals, mortality and certain other charges.
The general account also has immediate annuities. The policy benefit liabilities for the immediate annuities are computed on the basis of prescribed Statutory valuation interest rates and mortality (where payouts are contingent on survivorship). These assumptions generally vary by plan, year of issue, and policy duration. Policy benefit liabilities for immediate annuities without life contingent payouts are computed on the basis prescribed Statutory valuation interest rates.
The following table summarizes Individual Markets life insurance future policy benefits liabilities, Individual Markets life insurance separate account balances, and Individual Markets life insurance in-force prior to reinsurance ceded for the years indicated:
  (In millions)
Year Ended
December 31,
Individual Markets Life
Insurance Future Policy
Benefits Liabilities
Individual Markets
Life Insurance
Separate Accounts
Individual Markets
Life Insurance
In-force
2018 $14,554 $6,304 $98,202
2017 $14,031 $6,215 $97,801
2016 $13,397 $5,771 $96,711
2015 $13,245 $5,479 $97,862
2014 $12,712 $5,308 $97,170
For both the Individual Markets life insurance future policy benefits liabilities and life insurance separate accounts, the future policy benefits are computed on the basis of prescribed Statutory valuation interest rates and mortality. These future policy benefits liabilities are calculated as the present value of future benefits (including dividends) less the present value of future net premiums, subject to a cash surrender value floor. The assumptions used in calculating the future policy benefits liabilities generally vary by plan, year of issue, and policy duration.
Additionally, for both the Individual Markets life insurance future policy benefits liabilities and life insurance separate accounts, policy and contract claim liabilities are established for claims that have been incurred but not reported based on factors derived from past experience.
The aforementioned policy benefit liabilities are computed amounts that, with additions from premiums and deposits to be received and with interest on such liabilities, are expected to be sufficient to meet the Company’s policy obligations (such as paying expected death or retirement benefits or surrender requests) and to generate profits.
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Method of Distribution of Products Within the Empower Retirement and Individual Markets Segments
The Empower Retirement segment distributes products to plan sponsors through a subsidiary, GWFS Equities, Inc. (“GWFS Equities”), as well as through brokers, consultants, advisors, third-party administrators, and banks. It markets IRAs as a distribution option for employees terminated from employer-sponsored defined contribution plans through its Retirement Solutions Group, which includes a retail sales force. Recordkeeping and administrative services are distributed through institutional clients.
The Individual Markets segment distributes individual life insurance through wholesale and retail sales force, banks, broker-dealers, and investment advisors. Executive benefits products are distributed through wholesalers and specialized consultants.
Competition Within the Empower Retirement and Individual Markets Segments
The retirement plan services, life insurance, and investment marketplaces are highly competitive. The Company’s competitors include insurance companies, banks, investment advisors, mutual fund companies, and certain service and professional organizations. No individual competitor or small group of competitors is dominant. Competition focuses on name recognition, service, technology, cost, variety of investment options, investment performance, product features, and price, in addition to financial strength as indicated by ratings issued by nationally recognized agencies.
Empower Retirement Outlook
As the second largest recordkeeping provider in the U.S., Empower Retirement is positioned for significant growth opportunities with expertise and diversification across all plan types, company sizes and market segments. The Company continually examines opportunities to structure products and develop strategies to stimulate growth in assets under management.
In 2019, Empower Retirement’s strategies to drive sales growth will continue to include active marketing of the brand, investing in product differentiation and offering a best-in-class service model. In 2018, service enhancements were made to this model including standardizing and improving client-facing tools, optimizing advisor relationship management and client alignment as well as adopting best practices for participant communications. In 2019, investments will continue to be made to improve the customer web experiences. This includes Empower Retirement's unique, interactive web-based experience which was launched to help participants understand their retirement income needs. These efforts are expected to increase customer retention and ultimately increase participant retirement savings.
The Company will continue to pursue operational efficiencies. Great West Global Business Services India Private Limited (“Great West Global”), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Lifeco U.S. in India, which launched in 2015 and has over 1,000 professionals based in India, will continue to expand with a focus on driving lower unit costs.
Individual Markets Outlook
On January 24, 2019, the Company announced that it had entered into an agreement with Protective Life Insurance Company (“Protective”) to sell, via indemnity reinsurance, substantially all of its non-participating individual life insurance and annuity business and group life and health business. The transaction is in its initial stage, and is expected to close in the first half of 2019 subject to regulatory and customary closing conditions. On the closing date of the proposed transaction, the Company will transfer to Protective assets equal to the statutory liabilities being reinsured and will receive a ceding commission (subject to post-closing adjustments) from Protective in consideration of the transferred business. The Company will retain a small block of participating life insurance policies which will be administered by Protective Life following the close of the transaction.
Post-transaction, the Company will focus on the defined contribution retirement and asset management markets in the U.S.
Other Segment
The Company’s Other reporting segment is substantially comprised of activity not directly allocated to the other operating segments and interest expense on long-term debt.
Reinsurance
The Company enters into reinsurance transactions as a purchaser of reinsurance for its various insurance products and as a provider of reinsurance for some insurance products. Reinsurance transactions are assumed from and ceded to affiliated entities and third parties. When purchasing reinsurance, the Company seeks to limit its exposure to loss on any single insured and to recover a portion of benefits paid by ceding risks to other insurance enterprises under excess coverage, quota share, yearly
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renewable term, coinsurance, and modified coinsurance contracts. Under the terms of these contracts, the reinsurer agrees to reimburse the Company for the ceded amount in the event a claim is paid. However, the Company remains liable to its policyholders with respect to the ceded insurance if a reinsurer fails to meet the obligations it assumed. Accordingly, the Company strives to cede risks to highly rated, well-capitalized companies. The Company retains an initial maximum of $3.5 million of coverage per individual life. This initial retention limit of $3.5 million may increase due to automatic policy increases in coverage at a maximum rate of $175 thousand per annum, with an overall maximum increase in coverage of $1.0 million. The Company assumes risk from approximately 40 insurers and reinsurers by participating in yearly renewable term and coinsurance pool agreements. When assuming risk, the Company seeks to generate revenue while maintaining reciprocal working relationships with these partners as they also seek to limit their exposure to loss on any single life. Maximum capacity to be accepted or retained by the Company is dictated at the treaty level and is monitored annually to ensure the total risk acquired or retained on any one life is limited to a maximum retention of $4.5 million.
Investment Operations
The Company’s investment division manages and administers the investments of its general and separate accounts in support of the cash and liquidity requirements of its insurance and investment products.
The Company’s principal general account investments are in bonds and mortgage loans, all of which are exposed to three primary sources of investment risk: credit, interest rate, and market valuation. Total investments at December 31, 2018, of $55 billion were comprised of general account investment assets of $30 billion and separate account assets of $25 billion. Total investments at December 31, 2017, of $57 billion were comprised of general account investment assets of $29 billion and separate account assets of $28 billion.
The Company’s general account investments are in a broad range of asset classes, but consist primarily of domestic bonds. Bonds include public and privately placed corporate bonds, government bonds, and mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities. The Company’s mortgage loans are comprised primarily of domestic commercial collateralized loans diversified with regard to geographical markets and commercial mortgage property types.
The Company manages the characteristics of its investment assets, such as liquidity, currency, yield, and duration, to reflect the underlying characteristics of related insurance and policyholder liabilities that vary among its principal product lines. The Company observes strict asset and liability matching guidelines designed to ensure that the investment portfolio will appropriately meet the cash flow requirements of its liabilities. The Company uses derivative financial instruments for risk management purposes associated with certain invested assets and policy liabilities, not for speculative purposes.
The Company routinely monitors and evaluates the status of its investments in light of current economic conditions, trends in capital markets, and other factors. These other factors include investment size, quality, concentration by issuer and industry, and other diversification considerations relevant to the Company’s bonds.
The Company reduces credit risk for the portfolio as a whole by investing primarily in investment grade bonds. At December 31, 2018, and 2017, 99% of the Company’s bond portfolio were designated as investment grade.
Employees
The Company had approximately 6,200 and 5,800 employees at December 31, 2018, and 2017, respectively.
Company Properties
The Company’s corporate office facility is comprised of an 886,000 square foot complex located in Greenwood Village, Colorado. The Company owns its corporate office facilities which are occupied by all of the Company’s segments. The Company also leases approximately 432,000 square feet of sales and administrative offices throughout the United States. At December 31, 2018, the Company leased approximately 188,000 square feet of the complex to CIGNA for a lease period expiring on March 31, 2019. Management believes that the Company’s properties are suitable and adequate for its current and anticipated business operations.
Legal Proceedings Involving the Company
From time to time, the Company may be threatened with, or named as a defendant in, lawsuits, arbitrations, and administrative claims. Any such claims that are decided against the Company could harm the Company’s business. The Company is also subject to periodic regulatory audits and inspections which could result in fines or other disciplinary actions. Unfavorable outcomes in such matters may result in a material impact on the Company's financial position, results of operations, or cash flows.
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The Company is defending lawsuits relating to the costs and features of certain retirement or fund products. Management believes the claims are without merit and will defend these actions. Based on the information known, these actions will not have a material adverse effect on the consolidated financial position of the Company.
The Company is involved in other various legal proceedings that arise in the ordinary course of its business. In the opinion of management, after consultation with counsel, the likelihood of loss from the resolution of these proceedings is remote and/or the estimated loss is not expected to have a material effect on the Company’s consolidated financial position, results of its operations, or cash flows.
Directors and Executive Officers of the Company
Identification of Directors
Director   Age   From   Principal Occupation(s) for Last Five Years
John L. Bernbach(5)(6)   75   2006   CEO of The Bernbach Group since July 2015; previously Vice
Chairman, Engine
Robin Bienfait(1)(2)(3)(7)   59   2018   CEO of Emnovate since 2016; previously Executive Vice President and Chief Enterprise Innovation Officer of Samsung Electronics
Marcel Coutu(1)(2)(4)(6)(7)   65   2014   Corporate Director
André Desmarais(1)(2)(4)(6)(7)(8)   62   1997   Deputy Chairman, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Power
Corporation; Executive Co-Chairman, Power Financial Corporation
Paul Desmarais, Jr.(1)(2)(4)(6)(7)(8)   64   1991   Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Power Corporation;
Executive Co-Chairman, Power Financial Corporation
Gary A. Doer(1)(2)(6)(7)   70   2016   Senior Business Advisor, Dentons Canada LLP since August 2016;
previously Canada’s Ambassador to the United States
Gregory J. Fleming(1)(2)(7)   56   2016   Chief Executive Officer, Rockefeller Capital Management since
October 2017; previously Corporate Director since October 2015;
previously President of Morgan Stanley Investment Management
Claude Généreux(1)(2)(4)(7)   56   2015   Executive Vice President, Power Corporation and Power Financial
Corporation
Alain Louvel(3)(5)   73   2006   Corporate Director
Paula B. Madoff(1)(2)(3)(7)   51   2018   Advisory Director, Goldman Sachs since August 2017; previously
Partner and Head of Sales and Distribution for Interest Rate Products
and Mortgage, Goldman Sachs
Paul A. Mahon(1)(2)(4)   55   2013   President and Chief Executive Officer, Lifeco, Great-West Life,
CLAC and London Life
R. Jeffrey Orr(1)(2)(4)(6)(7)   60   2005   Chairman of the Board of the Company; Chairman of
the Board of Lifeco, Great-West Life, CLAC and London Life;
President and Chief Executive Officer, Power Financial Corporation
Robert L. Reynolds(1)   67   2014   President and Chief Executive Officer since May 2014; President and
Chief Executive Officer of Putnam Investments, LLC
T. Timothy Ryan, Jr.(1)(2)(4)(6)(7)   73   2009   Corporate Director since May 2014; previously Vice Chairman of
Regulatory Affairs at JP Morgan Chase
Jerome J. Selitto(1)(2)(7)   77   2012   President, Avex Funding Corporation since April 2015; previously
Chief Executive Officer of PHH Corporation
Gregory D. Tretiak(1)(2)(3)(7)   63   2012   Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Power
Corporation
Brian E. Walsh(1)(2)(4)(6)(7)   65   1995   Partner and Chief Strategist, Titan Advisors, LLC since July, 2015;
previously Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Saguenay
Strathmore Capital, LLC
(1) Member of the Executive Committee.
(2) Member of the Investment and Credit Committee.
(3) Member of the Audit Committee.
(4) Member of the Human Resources Committee.
(5) Member of the Conduct Review Committee.
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(6) Member of the Governance and Nominating Committee.
(7) Member of the Risk Committee.
(8) Mr. André Desmarais and Mr. Paul Desmarais, Jr. are brothers.
Unless otherwise indicated, all of the directors have been engaged for not less than five years in their present principal occupations or in another executive capacity with the companies or firms identified.
The appointments of directors are confirmed annually.
The following is a list of directorships currently held or formerly held within the five previous years by the directors of the Company, on companies whose securities are traded publicly in the United States or that are investment companies registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940.
Director Current Directorships Former Directorships and Dates
John L. Bernbach   Omnicare, Inc.
March 2013 August 2015
Robin Bienfait Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group  
Marcel Coutu Brookfield Asset Management Inc.
Enbridge Inc.
Canadian Oil Sands Limited
September 2001 December 2014
André Desmarais   CITIC Pacific Limited
December 1997 May 2014
Paul Desmarais, Jr.   Total S.A.
May 2002- May 2017
Lafarge S.A.
January 2008 July 2015
Gary Doer Barrick Gold  
Alain Louvel   Worldpoint Terminals, LP
May 2008 September 2017
Paula Madoff KKR Real Estate Finance Trust  
R. Jeffrey Orr PanAgora Asset Management, Inc.  
Jerome Selitto Better Mortgage PHH Corporation
October 2009 January 2012
T. Timothy Ryan, Jr. Santander Holdings USA, Inc. Markit
June 2013 October 2014
Gregory D. Tretiak PanAgora Asset Management, Inc.  
The Company’s Governance and Nominating Committee (the “Nominating Committee”) is charged with recommending to the Board of Directors the qualifications for Directors, including among other things, the competencies, skills, experience and level of commitment required to fulfill Board responsibilities and the personal qualities that should be sought in candidates for Board membership. The Nominating Committee’s duties include identifying and recommending Director candidates to the Board based on a consideration of the competencies and skills that the Board considers appropriate for the Board as a whole to possess, the competencies and skills that the Board considers each existing Director to possess and that each new nominee will bring to the Board, and the appropriate level of representation on the Board by Directors who are independent of management and who are neither officers nor employees of any of the Company’s affiliates.
The Board of Directors has reviewed the qualifications and backgrounds of the members of the Audit Committee and determined that, although no one member of the Audit Committee is an “audit committee financial expert” within the meaning of the Rules under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the combined qualifications and experience of the members of the Audit Committee give the Committee collectively the financial expertise necessary to discharge its responsibilities.
The Company’s Directors are elected on an annual basis by the Company’s sole shareholder, GWL&A Financial.
The Company’s Directors are identified below along with an indication of their experience, qualifications, attributes and skills, which leads the Company to believe that they are qualified to serve on the Board of Directors.
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John L. Bernbach
Mr. Bernbach is CEO of The Bernbach Group, a business consulting firm. Prior to July 2015, Mr. Bernbach served as Vice Chairman of Engine, one of the largest privately-owned independent marketing services companies, which he joined in January 2010. He was also a co-founder of NTM (Not Traditional Media) Inc., a marketing and media advisory firm created in 2003 to work with clients and media companies to develop strategies integrating nontraditional marketing solutions and new media models. Prior to that, Mr. Bernbach, as CEO of The Bernbach Group, LLC, led this executive management consulting business concentrating on corporate and communications strategies. From 1995 to 2000, Mr. Bernbach served as Director and then CEO and Chairman of North American Television, which produced and distributed news and entertainment programming. In 1994, Mr. Bernbach launched the publication of luxury goods magazines in China, Japan, France and Spain. Prior to 1994, Mr. Bernbach spent 22 years at the advertising firm Doyle Dane Bernbach, the last eight as President/COO of DDB Needham Worldwide. In 1986, he was one of five founders of Omnicon, which at that time was the largest marketing services and communications groups in the world. Mr. Bernbach currently serves on the Boards of Putnam, Power Pacific Corporation Limited, Casita Maria, Ai Media Group LLC, Distillier LLC and as an advisor to Mr. Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman & CEO of The Blackstone Group.
Robin Bienfait
Robin Bienfait was the Chief Enterprise Innovation Officer and senior advisor for Samsung. Robin joined Samsung with 30 years of experience in mobility, security, business development, enterprise sales, wireless network operations and engineering. As a global entrepreneur, Robin launched Samsung Business Services and advised on the B2B investment strategy. Now as CEO for Emnovate, Robin is advising and providing leadership to emerging businesses. Prior to Samsung, Robin served as chief information officer for BlackBerry, where she led the enterprise business unit and software development team, end to end product security, tier 3 technical customer service, global network services, corporate security and corporate IT. Robin held senior leadership positions across AT&T including Bell Labs, Global Network Services/GNOC, business continuity and disaster recovery, and compliance. As an officer at AT&T, Robin’s last role was leading of global network services and chief compliance officer, environment, health and safety. A global influencer holding 15 patents, she is the recipient of several awards and was recently named as one of the top 100 CIO’s in STEM and Inc.’s top 18 women to watch in 2018. Ms. Bienfait has been a director of the company since June 2018 and is also a director of Putnam.
Marcel Coutu
Mr. Coutu is the former Chairman of Syncrude Canada Ltd., largest Canadian oil sands project and is past President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Oil Sands Limited an oil and gas company. He was previously Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of Gulf Canada Resources Limited, and prior to that held various positions in the areas of corporate finance, investment banking, and mining and oil and gas exploration and development. Mr. Coutu is a Director of Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life, CLAC and Putnam. He is also a Director of Power Corporation, IGM Financial Inc. (“IGM”), IG Wealth Management, Mackenzie Inc. (“Mackenzie”), Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Enbridge Inc. and the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Board. He has also held board positions with Gulf Indonesia Resources Limited, TransCanada Power Limited Partnership and the board of governors of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
Mr. Coutu is a former member of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta. He has also held board positions with Gulf Indonesia Resources Limited, TransCanada Power Limited Partnership and the board of governors of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
André Desmarais
Mr. Desmarais is Deputy Chairman, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power and Executive Co-Chairman of Power Financial. Prior to joining Power in 1983, he was Special Assistant to the Minister of Justice of Canada and an institutional investment counselor at Richardson Greenshields Securities Ltd. He has held a number of senior positions with Power group companies and was named President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power in 1996. Mr. Desmarais is a director of many Power group companies in North America, including Power, Power Financial, Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life, CLAC, Putnam, IGM, IG Wealth Management and Mackenzie Inc. He is also a director and Vice-Chairman of Pargesa Holding SA in Europe. Mr. Desmarais is Honorary Chairman of the Canada China Business Council and is a member of several China-based organizations. Mr. Desmarais is active in cultural, health and other not-for-profit organizations. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and an Officer of the National Order of Québec. He has received Doctorates Honoris Causa from Concordia University, Université de Montréal and McGill University. Mr. Desmarais is a trustee of the Desmarais Family Residuary Trust.
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Paul Desmarais, Jr.
Mr. Desmarais is Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power and Executive Co-Chairman of Power Financial. He joined Power in 1981 and assumed the position of Vice-President the following year. He served as Vice-President of Power Financial from 1984 to 1986, as President and Chief Operating Officer from 1986 to 1989, as Executive Vice-Chairman from 1989 to 1990, as Executive Chairman of the board from 1990 to 2005, as Chairman of the Executive Committee from 2006 to 2008 and as Executive Co-Chairman from 2008 until today. He also served as Vice-Chairman of Power from 1991 to 1996. He was named Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power in 1996. From 1982 to 1990, he was a member of the Management Committee of Pargesa Holding SA; in 1991, he became Executive Vice-Chairman and then Executive Chairman of the Committee; in 2003, he was appointed Co-Chief Executive Officer; and, in 2013, was named Chairman of the board. He has been a director of Pargesa Holding SA since 1992. He is a director of many Power group companies in North America, including Power, Power Financial, Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life, CLAC, Putnam, IGM, IG Wealth Management and Mackenzie Inc. In Europe, he is Vice-Chairman of the board of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert and a director of LafargeHolcim Ltd. and SGS SA. He was Vice-Chairman of the board and a director of Imerys until 2008 and a director of GDF Suez until 2014 and Total SA until 2017. Mr. Desmarais is past Chairman and a member of the board of directors of The Business Council of Canada. He is also active on a number of philanthropic advisory councils. In 2005, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, in 2009, an Officer of the National Order of Québec and, in 2012, Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in France. He has received a number of honorary doctorates. Mr. Desmarais is a trustee of the Desmarais Family Residuary Trust.
Gary A. Doer
Mr. Doer has served as a Senior Business Advisor at Dentons Canada LLP, a global law firm, since August, 2016. He previously served as Canada’s Ambassador to the United States from October, 2009 to January, 2016. He was the Premier of Manitoba from 1999 to 2009, and served in a number of positions as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1986 to 2009, including Minister of Urban Affairs from 1986 to 1988 and Minister of Crown Investments from 1987 to 1988. Mr. Doer is a director of Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life, CLAC, and Putnam. He is also a director of Power, Power Financial, IGM, IG Wealth Management, Mackenzie Inc. and Air Canada. He previously served as a director of Barrick Gold Corporation. In 2017, Mr. Doer joined the Trilateral Commission as a member of the North American Group. He is a volunteer Co-Chair of the Wilson Centre’s Canada Institute, a non-partisan public policy forum focused on Canada-U.S. relations. Mr. Doer received a distinguished diplomatic service award from the World Affairs Council in 2011 and was inducted into the Order of Manitoba in 2010.
Gregory J. Fleming
Gregory J. Fleming is the founding Chief Executive Officer of Rockefeller Capital Management. He has spent more than 30 years in the financial services industry and has developed a track record of transforming businesses, engendering trust among institutional and individual clients and creating value for colleagues and shareholders. Mr. Fleming assumed the role of CEO of Rockefeller Capital Management in March 2018. The firm is born from the former Rockefeller & Co. and combines wealth management, family office, and asset management with a strategic advisory capability. Mr. Fleming is a shareholder and member of the Board of Directors of Rockefeller Capital Management. Prior to leading Rockefeller Capital Management, Mr. Fleming was the President of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Morgan Stanley Investment Management. He served in these roles for 6 years and oversaw the transformation of both businesses. Before joining Morgan Stanley in 2010, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Merrill Lynch from 2007 to 2009, and previously ran Merrill Lynch’s Global Investment Banking business. During the course of his career, he has helped clients navigate some of the most complex situations in the most challenging market environments. Mr. Fleming joined Merrill Lynch as an investment banker in 1992. He had also been a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton. Mr. Fleming is a former director of Colgate University; a member of the Board of Advisors for the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of New York; a director on Turn2 Foundation Board; a trustee at Deerfield Academy; and a member of the Ronald McDonald House Board of Directors. He also serves as an Advisory Director on the board of the Florida Marlins and serves on the Advisory Board of COVR, an innovative financial services startup. He frequently serves as a Visiting Lecturer in Law and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for the Study of Corporate Law at Yale Law School. He is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate in economics from Colgate University and received his J.D. from Yale Law School. Mr. Fleming is also a director of Putnam.
Claude Généreux
Mr. Généreux is Executive Vice-President of Power Corporation and Power Financial, positions he has held since March, 2015. He is Senior Partner Emeritus of McKinsey & Company (“McKinsey”), a global management consulting firm. During his 28 years at McKinsey, Mr. Généreux focused on serving leading global companies in financial services, resources and energy. He held various leadership positions including Global Sector Leadership in energy, Office Leadership in Montreal, Global Personal Committees for partner election and evaluation, and Global Recruiting for Advanced University Degrees candidates. He has been posted in
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Montreal, Paris, Toronto and Stockholm. Mr. Généreux is a Director of Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life, CLAC and Putnam. He is also a Director of IGM, IG Wealth Management and Mackenzie. Mr. Généreux is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors at McGill University and serves on the Boards of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation, the Loran Scholars Foundation, Michaëlle Jean Foundation and the Rhodes Scholarships in Canada. He graduated from McGill University and Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
Alain Louvel
After receiving an MBA from Columbia University, and a masters in Economics and Political Sciences from the Paris University, Mr. Louvel began his professional career in 1970 as an advisor to the Department of Industry and Trade of the Quebec Government. In 1972, he joined Bank Paribas (“Paribas”) and for the next 33 years held various executive positions with Paribas in France, Canada and the United States. He completed his banking career as the Head of Risk Management for the Americas of BNP Paribas, with overall responsibilities over credit, market, counterparty and operational risk. Mr. Louvel serves as a Director of Putnam and Mountain Asset Management. He is also a Honorary Trustee of the French Institute Alliance Francaise and a French Foreign Trade Counselor. Mr. Louvel is a permanent resident of the United States with dual French and Canadian citizenship.
Paula B. Madoff
Ms. Madoff, Corporate Director, has served as an Advisory Director at Goldman Sachs, a global investment banking, securities and investment management firm, since August, 2017. She spent 24 years at Goldman Sachs where she most recently was a Partner and Head of Sales and Distribution for Interest Rate Products and Mortgages from 2006 until her retirement in 2017. Ms. Madoff also held several additional leadership positions at Goldman Sachs including Co-Chair of the Retirement Committee overseeing 401k and pension plan assets, Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs Mitsui Marine Derivatives Products, L.P., and was a member of its Securities Division Operating Committee and Firmwide New Activity Committee. She has 30 years of experience in investing, risk management and capital markets activities. Ms. Madoff is a director of Lifeco, London Life, CLAC and Putnam. She also serves as a director of KKR Real Estate Finance Trust Inc. and ICE Benchmark Administration, where she is also Chair of the ICE LIBOR Oversight Committee. Ms. Madoff is a 2018 David Rockefeller Fellow, a member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Board and Women’s Leadership Board, a director of Hudson River Park Friends and an advisory board member of the NYU Hospital Child Study Center. She received a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Lafayette College.
Paul A. Mahon
Mr. Mahon is President and Chief Executive Officer of Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life and CLAC, a position he has held since May, 2013. Prior to that he was President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada of Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life and CLAC. Mr. Mahon has been with Great-West Life since 1986, and is a Director of Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life, CLAC and Putnam. He is also a director and past Chair of the board of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association and a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Business Council of Canada, Misericordia Health Centre Corporation and United Way Resource Development Committee. Mr. Mahon previously served as a director of the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.
R. Jeffrey Orr
Mr. Orr has been Chair of the Boards of Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life and CLAC since May, 2013, and Chairman of the Board of the Company since July, 2013, and of Putnam since June, 2008. He is also President and Chief Executive Officer of Power Financial, a position he has held since May, 2005. From May, 2001 until May, 2005, Mr. Orr was President and Chief Executive Officer of IGM. Prior to joining IGM, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. and Vice-Chairman, Investment Banking Group, Bank of Montreal. Mr. Orr is a director of Great-West Life, London Life, CLAC, Putnam and PanAgora Asset Management, Inc. He is also a director and Chair of IGM, IG Wealth Management and Mackenzie Inc., and a director of Power and Power Financial. Mr. Orr is active in a number of community and business organizations.
Robert L. Reynolds
Mr. Reynolds served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company from May 2014 through January 2019. He provides leadership and strategic direction for the company's Empower Retirement, Great-West Financial and Great-West Investments business. In addition, Mr. Reynolds serves as President and Chief Executive Officer and director of Great-West Lifeco U.S. LLC. He serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Putnam since 2008 and is a director of Putnam. Mr. Reynolds has more than 30 years of financial services and investments experience. Before joining Putnam, he spent 24 years at Fidelity Investments, serving as vice chairman and chief operating officer from 2000 to 2007. Among many awards and recognitions, Reynolds received a Lifetime Achievement Award from PLANSPONSOR magazine in 2005 for his contributions to the retirement services industry
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and was awarded a President's Medal of Excellence from Boston College. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration/finance from West Virginia University, from which he also received an honorary doctorate in business administration and a Distinguished Alumni Award. Mr. Reynolds serves on the executive committee of the Massachusetts High Technology Council board. Mr. Reynolds serves on the boards of several nonprofits, including West Virginia University Foundation, Concord Museum, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation. He is chairman of the Boston Advisory Board of American Ireland Fund and a member of the Chief Executives Club of Boston and the Council on Competitiveness.
T. Timothy Ryan, Jr.
Mr. Ryan served as a Vice-Chairman of Regulatory Affairs at JPMorgan Chase, a global financial services firm, from 2013 to 2014. Prior to joining JPMorgan, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Securities and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”) from 2008 to 2013. He is a director of Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life, CLAC, Putnam, Power Corporation and Power Financial. He previously served as a director of the Company from May 2010 to May 2013. Mr. Ryan is also non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Santander Holdings USA, Inc., Santander Bank, N.A. and Banco Santander International. He previously served as a Director of Markit Ltd. and Lloyds Banking Group plc. He was a private sector member of the Global Markets Advisory Committee for the National Intelligence Council from 2007 to 2011. Mr. Ryan is a graduate of Villanova University and the American University Law School.
Jerome J. Selitto
Mr. Selitto is the President of Better Mortgage Corporation (previously Avex Funding Corporation), a technology focused mortgage lender, a position he has held since April, 2015. Mr. Selitto served as a director and as the President and Chief Executive Officer of PHH Corporation (“PHH”), a provider of mortgage lending and servicing solutions, from October, 2009 to January, 2012. Prior to joining PHH, Mr. Selitto worked at Ellie Mae, Inc. (“Ellie Mae”), a provider of enterprise solutions for the residential mortgage industry. While at Ellie Mae, Mr. Selitto initially served as a senior consultant beginning in 2007 and, later in 2007 through 2009, as Executive Vice-President, Lender Division. He has over 40 years of experience in the mortgage industry and in capital markets. Mr. Selitto is a director of Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life, CLAC and Putnam. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Marketing from the University of South Florida.
Gregory D. Tretiak
Mr. Tretiak is Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of Power Corporation and Power Financial, positions he has held since May, 2012. From 1988 to May, 2012, he held various positions with IGM and Investors Group, most recently the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of IGM from April, 1999 to May, 2012. Mr. Tretiak is a Director of Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life, CLAC, Putnam and PanAgora. He also serves as a Director of IGM, IG Wealth Management and Mackenzie. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the University of Winnipeg and is a Chartered Professional Accountant, a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants and has been a Certified Financial Planner. Throughout his career, Mr. Tretiak has been active in professional industry groups and associations including the Chartered Professional Accountants, Financial Executives International, the Certified Financial Planners, the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Investment Funds Institute of Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Economic and Taxation Committee.
Brian E. Walsh
Mr. Walsh is Principal and Chief Strategist of Titan Advisors LLC, an asset management firm, a position he has held since July, 2015. Prior to that, Mr. Walsh was Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Saguenay Strathmore Capital, LLC, a money management and investment advisory company, a position that he held from September, 2011 to June, 2015. He was previously Managing Partner of Saguenay Capital, LLC from January, 2001 to September, 2011. Mr. Walsh has over 30 years of investment banking, international capital markets and investment management experience. He had a long career at Bankers Trust culminating in his appointment as Co-head of Global Investment Banking and as a member of the Management Committee. Mr. Walsh is a Director of Lifeco, Great-West Life, London Life and CLAC and Putnam. Mr. Walsh also serves on the International Advisory Board of École des Hautes Études Commerciales of Montréal. Mr. Walsh holds a Masters in Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts degree from Queen’s University.
Compensation of Company Directors for 2018
1. Table
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The Company compensates Directors who are not also Directors of Lifeco or Great-West Life (“Company Directors”). The following sets out compensation earned in 2018 by the Company Directors.
Name   Fees Earned or
Paid in Cash
($)(3)
  Stock Awards
($)(4)
  All Other
Compensation
($)(5)
  Total ($)
J.L. Bernbach   89,889   68,750   148   158,787
R. Bienfait(1)   64,634   44,437   70   109,177
G.J. Fleming   100,889   68,750   148   169,787
A. Louvel   103,639   68,750   148   172,537
J.E.A. Nickerson(2)   32,200   19,093   52   51,345
R.L. Reynolds   78,389   68,750   148   147,287
R. Royer(2)     58,970   13   58,983
(1) Ms. Bienfait was elected to the Board of Directors effective June 26, 2018.
(2) Messrs. Nickerson and Royer retired from the Board of Directors effective May 18, 2018.
(3) Ms. Bienfait and Messrs. Bernbach, Fleming, Louvel, Nickerson and Reynolds elected to receive this portion of their compensation for serving as directors in cash. Amounts payable to Company Directors are paid in the currency of the country of residence. Amounts earned in Canadian dollars have been translated to U.S. dollars at the Conversion Rate.
(4) For Ms. Bienfait and Messrs. Bernbach, Fleming, Louvel, Nickerson and Reynolds, these amounts represent the value of Deferred Share Units granted under the mandatory component of the DSUP. For Mr. Royer, this amount represents the value of Deferred Share Units granted under the mandatory and the voluntary components of the DSUP. See the Narrative Description of Company Director Compensation below for additional information regarding the DSUP. The value of these Deferred Share Units is the aggregate grant date fair value.
As of December 31, 2018, Ms. Bienfait held 44,437 Deferred Share Units, Mr. Bernbach held 32,121 Deferred Share Units, Mr. Fleming held 5,845 Deferred Share Units, Mr. Louvel held 5,845 Deferred Share Units, Mr. Reynolds held 10,565 Deferred Share Units and Mr. Royer held 71,851 Deferred Share Units.
(5) These amounts are life insurance premiums paid under the Great-West Life Director’s Group Life Insurance Plan. Payments are made in Canadian dollars and have been translated to U.S. dollars at the Conversion Rate.
2. Narrative Description of Company Director Compensation
Through the first and second quarters of 2018, the Company paid Company Directors a pro-rated portion of an annual retainer fee in the amount of $100,000. A Company Director serving on the Audit Committee receives an additional annual retainer fee in the amount of $3,000. The Chair of the Audit Committee receives an additional annual retainer fee in the amount of $20,000. In addition, the Company pays each Company Director a meeting fee in the amount of $2,000 for each meeting of the Board of Directors or a committee thereof that the Company Director attends.
Beginning in the third quarter of 2018, the Company implemented a new compensation program for the Company Directors under which they received pro-rated payments for the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2018. Under the new program, the Company pays Company Directors who are not also directors of Great-West Lifeco Inc. an annual retainer fee of $175,000. In addition, Company Directors receive annual retainer fees for serving as a member or the chairperson of certain committees of the Board. The following tables show the additional annual retainer fees paid for service on committees:
The following sums are paid per annum to the Chairperson of each of the following Company committees:
Audit $20,000
Executive $25,000
Human Resources $20,000
Investment $20,000
Risk $20,000
The following sums are paid per annum to members of each of the following Company committees:
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Audit $20,000
Conduct Review $ 7,500
Executive $ 7,500
Governance & Nominating $ 7,500
Human Resources $10,000
Investment $15,000
Risk $10,000
Equity Investment Sub $ 7,500
In order to promote greater alignment of interests between the Company Directors and shareholders, the Company has implemented a Director Deferred Share Unit Plan, or DSUP, pursuant to which Company Directors are required to receive $87,500 of their annual retainer fee in Deferred Share Units. Under the voluntary portion of the DSUP, each Company Director may elect to receive the balance of his or her annual retainer, as well as committee retainer fees, entirely in form the of Deferred Share Units, entirely in cash, or equally in cash and Deferred Share Units.
Under both the mandatory and voluntary components of the DSUP, the number of Deferred Share Units granted is determined by dividing the amount of remuneration payable to the Company Director by the weighted average Canadian dollar trading price per Lifeco common share on the Toronto Stock Exchange for the last five trading days of the preceding fiscal quarter (such weighted average trading price being the “value of a Deferred Share Unit”) prior to the award grant date. Directors receive additional Deferred Share Units in respect of dividends payable on the Lifeco common shares based on the value of a Deferred Share Unit at that time. Deferred Share Units are redeemable at the time that an individual ceases to be a Director by a lump sum cash payment, based on the value of the Deferred Share Units on the date of redemption.
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Identification of Executive Officers
Executive   Age   Officer from   Principal Occupation(s) for Last Five Years
Edmund F. Murphy III
President and Chief Executive Officer
  57   2014   President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company since February 2019, previously President, Empower Retirement since September 2014;previously Head of Defined Contribution, Putnam Investments, LLC
Scott C. Sipple
President, Great-West
Investments
  57   2017   President, Great-West Investments of the Company since
October 2017; previously Head of Global Investment
Strategies, Putnam Investments, LLC
Robert K. Shaw
President, Individual Markets
  63   2008   President, Individual Markets of the Company
Andra S. Bolotin
Executive Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer
  56   2015   Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the
Company since July 2016; previously Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company since July 2015;
previously Head of Corporate Finance and Controller, Putnam Investments, LLC
Richard H. Linton Jr.
Executive Vice President,
Group Distribution & Operations
  51   2016   Executive Vice President, Group Distribution & Operations of the Company;
previously Executive Vice President, Empower Operations since May 2016; previously President Retail Wealth, Voya Financial
Jack E. Brown
Senior Vice President,
US Chief Investment Officer
  46   2015   Senior Vice President, US Chief Investment Officer of the Company; previously Senior Vice President, Separate Accounts
since July 2017; previously Vice President, Investments, since October 2015;
previously Vice President, Oppenheimer Funds Inc
Jeffrey W. Knight Senior Vice President and
Chief Technology Officer
  61   2014   Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of the Company
Suzanne M. Sanchez
Chief Human Resources
Officer
  44   2011   Chief Human Resources Officer of the Company
Richard G. Schultz
General Counsel and Chief
Legal Officer
  58   2008   General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer of the Company
Unless otherwise indicated, all of the executive officers have been engaged for not less than five years in their present principal occupations or in another executive capacity with the companies or firms identified.
The appointments of executive officers are confirmed annually.
Code of Ethics
The Company has adopted a Code of Conduct (the “Code”) that is applicable to its senior financial officers, as well as to other officers and employees. All of the items identified as elements of a “code of ethics” as defined in Securities and Exchange Commission regulations adopted pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 are substantively covered by the Code. A copy of the Code is available without charge upon written request to Kenneth I. Schindler, Chief Compliance Officer, 8525 East Orchard Road, Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111.
Executive Officer Compensation
Compensation Discussion and Analysis
1. Compensation of the President and Chief Executive Officer
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Robert L. Reynolds was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company for the entirety of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018. Mr. Reynolds was also President and Chief Executive Officer of Putnam Investments, LLC (“Putnam”), an affiliate of the Company, during that time.
Mr. Reynolds’ compensation is paid by Putnam under Putnam’s compensation program. A portion of Mr. Reynolds’ base salary and annual bonus is allocated to, and reimbursed by, the Company for services provided to the Company. The allocation is determined by the Company’s Human Resources Committee and Putnam’s Human Resources Committee. The portion of Mr. Reynolds’ base salary and annual bonus allocated to the Company is reflected in the Summary Compensation Table (see below).
The information in this Compensation Discussion and Analysis relates to the executive compensation program of the Company applicable to the other named executive officers of the Company and does not apply to Mr. Reynolds.
2. Overview and Objectives of the Company’s Executive Compensation Program
This section provides an overview and describes the objectives of the Company’s compensation program for executives, including the Chief Financial Officer and the three other most highly compensated executive officers of the Company during 2018 (the “Named Executive Officers”).
The executive compensation program adopted by the Company and applied to the Named Executive Officers has been designed to:
support the Company’s objective of generating value for shareholders and policyholders over the long term;
attract, retain and reward qualified and experienced executives who will contribute to the success of the Company;
motivate executive officers to meet annual corporate, divisional, and individual performance goals;
promote the achievement of goals in a manner consistent with the Company’s Code of Conduct; and
align with regulatory requirements.
More specifically, the executive compensation program rewards:
excellence in developing and executing strategies that will produce significant value for shareholders and policyholders over the long term;
management vision and an entrepreneurial approach;
quality of decision-making;
strength of leadership;
record of performance over the long term; and
initiating and implementing transactions and activities that create shareholder and policyholder value.
The Human Resources Committee of the Board of Directors of the Company operates under a charter and is responsible for overseeing the executive compensation program. The Board and the Human Resources Committee recognize the importance of executive compensation decisions and remain committed to awarding compensation that reflects leadership’s ability to deliver on the Company’s strategic goals and to drive strong performance and sustainable value for shareholders and policyholders.
In designing and administering the individual elements of the executive compensation program, the Human Resources Committee strives to balance short-term and long-term incentive objectives and to apply prudent judgment in establishing performance criteria, evaluating performance, and determining actual incentive awards. Total compensation of each Named Executive Officer is reviewed by the Human Resources Committee from time to time for market competitiveness, and reflects each Named Executive Officer’s job responsibilities, experience and proven performance.
The executive compensation programs consist of five primary components:
base salary;
annual incentive bonus;
share units;
options for Lifeco common shares; and
retirement benefits.
The primary role of each of these components is presented in the table below:
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Base Salary Reflect skills, competencies, experience and performance of the Named Executive Officers
Annual Incentive Bonus Reflect performance for the year
Share Units More closely align the medium term interests of the Named Executive Officers with the interests of the shareholders
Stock Options More closely align the long term interests of the Named Executive Officers with the interests of the shareholders
Retirement Benefits Provide for appropriate replacement income upon retirement based on years of service with the Company
Base salary, annual incentive bonus, share units and retirement benefits are determined by the Human Resources Committee for the Named Executive Officers. The long-term compensation component in the form of options for Lifeco common shares is determined and administered by Lifeco’s Human Resources Committee.
The President and Chief Executive Officer participates in the compensation setting process for the other Named Executive Officers by evaluating individual performance, establishing individual performance targets and objectives and recommending salary levels.
3. Base Salary
Base salaries for the Named Executive Officers are set annually, taking into account the individual’s job responsibilities, experience and proven performance, as well as market conditions. The Company gathers market data in relation to the insurance and financial services industries and also considers surveys prepared by external professional compensation consultants with regard to peer groups in these industries. However, the Human Resources Committee does not routinely “benchmark” or review the Company’s salary levels against a consistent group of its peers and does not have any formal policy of matching its salaries to those of certain competitors.
4. Bonuses
(a) Annual Incentive Bonus Plan
To relate the compensation of the Named Executive Officers to the performance of the Company, an annual incentive bonus plan (the “Annual Incentive Bonus Plan”) is provided. Target objectives are set annually and may include earnings, expense or sales targets of the Company and/or a business unit of the Company or specific individual objectives related to strategic initiatives.
See the tables presented below for information on the participation of the Named Executive Officers in the Annual Incentive Bonus Plan and a further description of the terms of the Annual Incentive Bonus Plan.
(b) Special Bonuses
From time to time, special bonuses may be provided related to significant projects such as acquisitions or dispositions or for sign-on or retention purposes.
5. Share Units
To provide a medium term component to the executive compensation program, the Named Executive Officers participate in the Company’s Share Unit Plan for Senior Executives (the “Executive Share Unit Plan”).
The Company’s Human Resources Committee is responsible for the granting of share units to participants under the Executive Share Unit Plan. Share Units are not granted based on the timing of the disclosure of non-public material information with respect to Lifeco or the Company.
The granting of share units is considered annually by the Human Resources Committee. Officer levels are taken into account when new share unit grants are considered. The granting of share units is subject to the terms and conditions contained in the Executive Share Unit Plan and any additional terms and conditions fixed by the Human Resources Committee at the time of the grant.
See the tables presented below for information on the participation of the Named Executive Officers in the Executive Share Unit Plan and a further description of the terms of the Executive Share Unit Plan.
6. Stock Options
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To provide a long-term component to the executive compensation program, the Named Executive Officers participate in Lifeco’s Stock Option Plan (the “Lifeco Option Plan”).
While the Company’s Human Resources Committee makes recommendations with respect to the granting of Lifeco options, Lifeco’s Human Resources Committee is responsible for the granting of options to participants under the Lifeco Option Plan. Options are not granted based on the timing of the disclosure of non-public material information with respect to Lifeco or the Company.
The granting of Lifeco options is considered annually by the Lifeco Human Resources Committee. Officer levels are taken into account when new option grants are considered. The granting of options is subject to the terms and conditions contained in the Lifeco Stock Option Plan and any additional terms and conditions fixed by the Lifeco Human Resources Committee at the time of the grant.
See the tables presented below for information on the participation of the Named Executive Officers in the Lifeco Option Plan and a further description of the terms of the Lifeco Option Plan.
7. Retirement Benefits
(a) Defined Benefit Plan
GWL&A Financial has a qualified defined benefit pension plan (the “Defined Benefit Plan”) which is available to all employees of the Company hired before January 1, 1999. See the tables presented below for information on the participation of the Named Executive Officers in the Defined Benefit Plan and a description of the terms of the Defined Benefit Plan.
(b) SERP
To provide a competitive retirement benefit to certain key executives, the Company also has a nonqualified supplemental executive retirement plan (the “SERP”), which provides benefits above the compensation limits applicable to the Defined Benefit Plan. See the tables presented below for information on the participation of the Named Executive Officers in the SERP and a description of the terms of the SERP.
(c) 401(k) Plan
All employees, including the Named Executive Officers, may participate in the Company’s qualified defined contribution 401(k) Plan (the “401(k) Plan”). In 2018, employees who participated in the 401(k) Plan could make pre-tax and/or Roth contributions of between 1% and 50% of base salary and annual bonus (collectively “Salary”), subject to applicable Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) limits. Beginning in 2019, employees who participate in the 401(k) Plan may make contributions of between 1% and 90% of Salary. All new employees are automatically enrolled in the 401(k) Plan at a 4% contribution rate unless the employee elects out or elects a different contribution rate. The Company matches 100% of the first 5% of Salary contributed as pre-tax and/or Roth contributions for all employees.
The 401(k) Plan offers a variety of investment options, including variable funds, collective funds, a stable value fund, Lifeco common shares (company matching contributions only) and a self-directed investment option.
8. Nonqualified Deferred Compensation
To provide market competitive compensation to certain key executives, the Company also has a nonqualified deferred compensation plan (“NQDCP”) and a nonqualified executive deferred compensation plan (“EDCP”). See the tables presented below for information on the participation of the Named Executive Officers in these plans and a description of the terms of the plans.
Human Resources Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation
None.
Compensation Policies and Risk Management
The Company has evaluated its compensation policies and practices applicable to all employees and believes that they do not create risks that are reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on the Company.
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Summary Compensation Table
The following table sets out the portion of Robert L. Reynolds’ base salary and annual bonus allocated to the Company for 2018 (See “Compensation Discussion and Analysis” above for further information on this allocation). The table also sets out compensation earned in 2018 by the other Named Executive Officers.
Name and Principal Position   Year   Salary ($)   Bonus
($)(3)
  Stock
Awards
($)(4)
  Option
Awards
($)(5)
  Non-Equity
Incentive Plan
Compensation
($)(6)
  Change in Pension
Value and
Nonqualified
Deferred
Compensation
Earnings ($)(7)
  All Other
Compensation
($)(8)
  Total ($)
Robert L. Reynolds
President and
Chief Executive Officer
  2018   300,000         3,000,000     147,287   3,447,287
2017   300,000         3,000,000     116,039   3,416,039
2016   300,000         3,000,000     120,039   3,420,039
Andra S. Bolotin(1)
Executive Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer
  2018   511,538     360,006   41,610   1,176,538     14,393   2,104,085
2017   476,923     269,999   66,783   1,144,615     11,443   1,969,763
2016   423,077     249,998   134,808   900,000     25,994   1,733,877
Robert K. Shaw
President,
Individual Markets
  2018   543,000     256,557   29,640   936,675     14,393   1,780,265
2017   543,000   588,667   218,983   54,175   855,225   1,820,465   7,393   4,087,908
2016   539,942     244,357   87,954   675,000   1,749,030   7,655   3,303,938
Edmund F. Murphy
President,
Empower Retirement
  2018   800,000     689,999   79,705   1,840,000     13,750   3,423,454
2017   800,000   1,177,333   599,993   148,538   1,840,000     10,800   4,576,664
2016   761,538     499,995   269,616   1,444,000     10,268   2,985,417
Richard H. Linton Jr.(2)
Executive Vice President,
Empower Operations
  2018   500,000   300,000   329,993   38,095   880,000     15,856   2,063,945
2017   500,000   450,000   300,014   74,269   950,000     263,158   2,537,441
(1) For Ms. Bolotin, the Summary Compensation Table sets forth all compensation paid to Ms. Bolotin by the Company for her service as the Chief Financial Officer of both the Company and Putnam, a portion of which is reimbursed to the Company by Putnam.
(2) Mr. Linton joined the Company as Executive Vice President, Empower Operations in May of 2016.
(3) This column sets forth special bonuses for (a) Mr. Shaw and Mr. Murphy in relation to the integration of certain large case defined contribution business acquired from J.P. Morgan, and (b) Mr. Linton in connection with his joining the Company.
(4) This column sets forth the value of share units granted to each Named Executive Officer under the Executive Share Unit Plan. The amounts shown represent the aggregate grant date fair value of the awards.
(5) This column sets forth the value of Lifeco options granted to each Named Executive Officer under the Lifeco Option Plan. The amounts shown represent the aggregate grant date fair value of the awards. For further information, see Note 17 to the Company’s December 31, 2018 Financial Statements include in Appendix A to this prospectus.
(6) For Ms. Bolotin and Messrs. Murphy, Shaw and Linton, these amounts represent cash bonuses earned under the Company’s Annual Incentive Bonus Plan and paid in February of 2019.
(7) For 2018, Mr. Shaw had a decrease in actuarial present value of his Defined Benefit Plan of $196,906 and a decrease in actuarial present value of his SERP of $132,366, which offset above market earnings under the EDCP of $4,296. Above market earnings under the EDCP equaled the difference between the actual interest earned in 2018 and the amount of interest that would have been earned at a rate of 3.97% (3.97% being 120% of the applicable federal long-term rate at December 31, 2018).
(8) The components of 2018 other compensation reported for each of the Named Executive Officers are as follows:
(a) Mr. Reynolds received $147,287 in respect of directors’ fees.
(b) Ms. Bolotin received (i) a 401(k) Plan employer contribution of $13,750; and (ii) a cell phone stipend of $643.
(c) Mr. Murphy received a 401(k) Plan employer contribution of $13,750.
(d) Mr. Shaw received (i) a 401(k) Plan employer contribution of $13,750; and (ii) a cell phone stipend of $643.
(e) Mr. Linton received (i) a 401(k) plan employer contribution of $13,750; (ii) a relocation benefit payment of $1,859; and (iii) a cell phone stipend of $247.
Grants of Plan-Based Awards for 2018
1. Table
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The following table sets out information with respect to grants to the Named Executive Officers under the Annual Incentive Bonus Plan, Executive Share Unit Plan and Lifeco Option Plan.
Name   Thresolds
($)
  Target
($)
  Maximum
($)
  All Other
Stock Awards:
Number of
Shares of
Stock or
Units (#)(1)
  All Other
Option Awards;
Securities
Underlying
Options (#)(2)
  Exercise or
Base Price of Option Awards
($/Share)(3)
  Grant Date
Fair Value of
Stack and
Option awards
($)
A.S. Bolotin     1,023,077     10,280   43,800   26.42   401,616
R.K. Shaw     814,500     7,326   31,200   26.42   286,197
E.F. Murphy     1,600,000     19,703   83,900   26.42   769,704
R.H. Linton     800,000     9,423   40,100   26.42   368,088
(1) These are Executive Share Units granted under the Executive Share Unit Plan. The grant date was January 1, 2018. The Company’s Human Resources Committee approved the grants on February 6, 2018.
(2) These are Lifeco options granted under the Lifeco Option Plan. The grant date was March 1, 2018. The Lifeco Human Resources Committee approved the grants on February 6, 2018.
(3) Lifeco options are issued with an exercise price in Canadian dollars, which have been translated to U.S. dollars at 1.00/1.295 which was Lifeco’s average rate for 2018 (the “Conversion Rate”).
2. Narrative Description of the Annual Incentive Bonus Plan
Under the Annual Incentive Bonus Plan, a bonus pool is established if the Company meets certain earnings targets. The target bonus opportunity for individuals varies by office and is expressed as a percentage of base salary or as a flat amount. Bonus amounts are determined based on each Named Executive Officer’s performance against established objectives. Bonus amounts of greater or lesser than the established target may be awarded. For the Named Executive Officers, there is no minimum or maximum bonus amount.
For 2018:
(i) Ms. Bolotin had an opportunity to earn up to 200% of base salary earned in 2018 based on the Company’s financial performance and individual objectives, and an additional amount on a discretionary basis based on individual performance;
(ii) Mr. Murphy had an opportunity to earn up to 200% of base salary earned in 2018 based on the Company’s financial performance and individual objectives, and an additional amount on a discretionary basis based on individual performance;
(iii) Mr. Shaw had an opportunity to earn up to 150% of base salary earned in 2018 based on the Company’s financial performance and individual objectives, and an additional amount on a discretionary basis based on individual performance; and
(iv) Mr. Linton had an opportunity to earn a target bonus of $800,000 in 2018 based on the Company’s financial performance and individual objectives, and an additional amount on a discretionary basis based on individual performance.
3. Narrative Description of the Executive Share Unit Plan
Under the Executive Share Unit Plan, notional share units (“Executive Share Units”) may be granted to the Named Executive Officers by the Company’s Human Resources Committee. The value of an Executive Share Unit on a grant date in 2018 was based on the average closing price of Lifeco common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange for the preceding 20 trading days (the “Market Value”). Beginning in 2019, the value of an Executive Share Unit on a grant date is based on the volume-weighted average closing price of Lifeco common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange for the preceding 5 trading days
The number of Executive Share Units granted is generally related to the base salaries of the Named Executive Officers. Each grant of Executive Share Units has a three year vesting period during which certain conditions (including continued employment) must be satisfied.
The number of Executive Share Units granted is increased during the three year vesting period based on dividends declared on Lifeco common shares, and may be increased or decreased based on Company performance.
Subject to satisfaction of the vesting conditions, the Executive Share Units become payable in cash during the fourth year following the date of the award, at the Market Value as of the vesting date. Named Executive Officers may elect to defer the
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payment of all or a portion of Executive Share Units granted in 2019 or later years if certain requirements are met. In the event of such an election, the Executive Share Units will be paid within 90 days after the later of (i) the end of the 3-year vesting period or (ii) the Named Executive Officer’s termination of employment.
4. Narrative Description of the Lifeco Option Plan
Under the Lifeco Option Plan, the Lifeco Human Resources Committee sets the exercise price of the options but under no circumstances can it be less than the weighted average trading price per Lifeco common share on the Toronto Stock Exchange for the five trading days preceding the date of the grant.
Options are either regular options or contingent options. Regular options are generally granted in multi-year allotments. Regular options become exercisable at the rate of 20% per year commencing one year after the date of the grant. Contingent options do not become exercisable unless and until conditions prescribed by the Lifeco Human Resources Committee have been satisfied.
Options generally expire ten years after the date of the grant, except that if options would otherwise expire during a blackout period or within ten business days of the end of a blackout period, the expiry date for the options is extended to the tenth business day after the expiry date of the blackout period.
In the event of the death of a participant or the termination of a participant’s employment, then the period within which the options may be exercised is generally reduced depending on the circumstances surrounding the death or termination of employment. Options are not assignable by participants otherwise than by will or pursuant to the laws of succession. Lifeco does not provide any financial assistance to participants to facilitate the purchase of common shares under the Lifeco Option Plan. Subject to any regulatory or shareholder approval required by law, the Lifeco Board of Directors may amend the Lifeco Option Plan or the terms of a grant.
Outstanding Equity Awards at 2018 Fiscal Year End
The following table sets out Lifeco options held by the Named Executive Officers under the Lifeco Option Plan, and Executive Share Units held by the Named Executive Officers under the Executive Share Unit Plan, as of December 31, 2018.
Name   Option Awards   Stock awards
Number of
Securities
Underlying
Unexercised
Options (#)
Exercisable
  Number of
Securities
Underlying
Unexercised
Options (#)
Unexercisable
  Option
Exercise Price
($)(6)
  Option Expiration
Date
  Number of
Shares or Units
of Stock That
Have Not
Vested (#)
  Market Value
of Shares or
Units of Stock
That Have Not
Vested ($)(9)
A.S. Bolotin   19,680   29,520 (3)   26.78   February 28, 2026   8,362 (7)   235,637
    6,780   27,120 (4)   28.47   February 28, 2027   10,799 (8)   304,306
      43,800 (5)   26.42   February 28, 2028        
R.K. Shaw   26,600     20.97   February 28, 2021   6,782 (7)   191,114
    37,600     17.89   February 28, 2022   7,696 (8)   216,862
    31,500     20.95   February 28, 2023        
    20,960   4,240 (1)   24.04   February 29, 2024        
    16,620   11,080 (2)   27.51   February 28, 2025        
    12,840   19,260 (3)   26.78   February 28, 2026        
    5,500   22,000 (4)   28.47   February 28, 2027        
      31,200 (5)   26.42   February 28, 2028        
E.F. Murphy   52,440   34,960 (2)   27.51   February 28, 2025   18,582 (7)   523,634
    39,360   59,040 (3)   26.78   February 28, 2026   20,697 (8)   583,243
    15,080   60,320 (4)   28.47   February 28, 2027        
      83,900 (5)   26.42   February 28, 2028        
R.H. Linton   7,540   30,160 (4)   28.47   February 28, 2027   9,291 (7)   202,182
      40,100 (5)   26.42   February 28, 2028   9,898 (8)   215,389
(1) These options vest 20% of the total grant on March 1, 2019.
(2) These options vest 20% of the total grant on each of March 1, 2019 and 2020.
(3) These options vest 20% of the total grant on each of March 1, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
(4) These options vest 20% of the total grant on each of March 1, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
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(5) These options vest 20% of the total grant on each of March 1, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.
(6) Lifeco options are issued with an exercise price in Canadian dollars, which have been translated to U.S. dollars at the Conversion Rate.
(7) These Executive Share Unit grants vest on December 31, 2019.
(8) These Executive Share Unit grants vest on December 31, 2020.
(9) The market value of Executive Share Units held as of December 31, 2018 is based on the year-end closing price of Lifeco common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Option Exercises and Stock Vested for 2018
The following table sets out Lifeco options exercised by, and Executive Share Units vested for, the Named Executive Officers in 2018.
  Option Awards Stock Awards
  Number of
Shares Acquired
on Exercise (#)
Value Realized
on Exercise ($)
Number of
Shares Acquired
on Vesting (#)
Value
Realized on
Vesting ($)
A.S. Bolotin 10,860 229,902
R.K. Shaw 10,615 224,715
E.F. Murphy 21,720 459,804
R.H. Linton 15,433 326,701
Pension Benefits for 2018
1. Table
The following table sets out information with respect to the participation of the Named Executive Officers in the Defined Benefit Plan and the SERP.
Name   Plan Name   Number of Years
of Credited
Service
  Present Value of
Accumulated
Benefit ($)(1)
  Payments During
Last Fiscal Year ($)
R.K. Shaw   Defined Benefit Plan   35   2,061,094  
    SERP   30   8,171,163  
(1) The amounts shown in the table are calculated according to the terms of the plans as of December 31, 2018. Benefits under the Defined Benefit Plan were frozen as of December 31, 2017, and no additional benefits will accrue under that plan after that date. The Present Value of Accumulated Benefit under the Defined Benefit Plan equals the annuity earned as of December 31, 2017, payable at age 65 in the normal form of benefit. The Present Value of Accumulated Benefit under the SERP equals the termination benefit earned as of December 31, 2018, payable at age 62 in the normal form of benefit. Benefit amounts under each plan have been discounted to December 31, 2018 at the applicable discount rate for December 31, 2018. The amount payable to Mr. Shaw under the SERP is determined under the normal retirement benefit pay-out formula.
2. Narrative Description of the Defined Pension Plan
The Defined Benefit Plan is designed to provide regular income at retirement to eligible employees. In general, an eligible employee is any employee hired prior to January 1, 1999. Participants in the Defined Benefit Plan are entitled to benefits at age 65 if they have 5 or more years of service.
The benefit formula for participants hired before January 1, 1992 is 1.5% for each of the first 30 years of service multiplied by the participant’s average annual compensation, plus 0.5% for each of the next 5 years of service multiplied by the participant’s average annual compensation, plus 0.5% for each year of service to retirement up to a maximum of 35 years multiplied by the participant’s average annual compensation minus the covered compensation amount (as determined by the IRS). If a participant made required or voluntary contributions to the Defined Benefit Plan prior to July 1, 1979, the participant’s benefit is increased to reflect these contributions and interest accrued thereon, so long as the employee contributions plus interest have not been withdrawn in a lump sum.
The benefit formula for participants hired on and after January 1, 1992 is 1.0% for each of the first 30 years of service multiplied by the participant’s average annual compensation, plus 0.5% for each of the next 5 years of service multiplied by the participant’s
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average annual compensation, plus 0.5% for each year of service to retirement up to a maximum of 35 years multiplied by the participant’s average annual compensation minus the covered compensation amount (as determined by the IRS).
Average annual compensation is the highest average of compensation paid during 5 consecutive years of service out of the last 7 years of service.
Participants who have terminated service prior to age 65 and who have at least 5 years of service may begin receiving benefits as early as age 55. Benefits that begin prior to age 65 are reduced by approximately 5% for each year prior to age 65.
The normal form of benefit for a married participant is a joint and 50% survivor annuity. The normal form of benefit for an unmarried participant is a life only annuity. Other optional forms of pension payment are available on an actuarially equivalent basis.
Effective December 31, 2017, the Company amended the Defined Benefit Plan to freeze future benefit accruals. Final benefits are calculated as of December 31, 2017 and will not increase as a result of future service or compensation with the Company. Participants retain all benefits accrued through December 31, 2017. Participants received a full year of service for their anniversary year that began in 2017 regardless of whether they had completed the requisite 1,000 hours of service.
3. Narrative Description of the SERP
The SERP is designed to provide retirement benefits to certain key executive officers who are subject to qualified plan compensation limits. At the Company’s discretion, executive officers may be designated to participate in the SERP. Participants in the SERP are generally entitled to benefits if they have 15 or more years of service.
The following describes the retirement benefit amount under the SERP based on age at the time of separation of service.
1. For participants who separate from service at or after age 62, the normal retirement benefit is equal to 60% of final average compensation if the participant has 30 years of service. The benefit is prorated for less than 30 years of service. Final average compensation is the average of the highest 60 consecutive months of compensation during the last 84 months of employment. Compensation includes salary, bonuses and commissions prior to any deferrals to other benefit plans. Benefits are offset by benefits under the Defined Benefit Plan and 50% of estimated social security benefits as of retirement.
2. For participants who separate from service between ages 57 and 62, the early retirement benefit is calculated by reducing the bonus used in determining final average compensation by 5/6% for each month prior to age 62 and by further reducing the early retirement benefit by 5/12% for each month prior to age 62. Benefits are offset by benefits under the Defined Benefit Plan and 50% of estimated social security benefits as of age 62.
3. For participants who separate from service prior to age 57, the termination benefit is equal to 60% of final average salary if the participant has 30 years of service. The benefit is prorated for less than 30 years of service. If the participant has less than 35 years of service, the termination benefit is also reduced by 5% for each of the first three years of service below 35. Final average salary is the average of the highest 60 consecutive months of salary during the last 84 months of employment. Salary includes deferrals of any salary to other benefit plans. Benefits are offset by benefits under the Defined Benefit Plan and 50% of estimated social security benefits payable as of age 62.
Payments under the normal retirement benefit and the early retirement benefit commence upon retirement. Payments under the termination benefit commence at age 62.
The normal form of benefit under the SERP is a life only annuity. Other optional forms of payment are available on an actuarially equivalent basis.
Nonqualified Deferred Compensation for 2018
1. Table
The following table sets out information with respect to the participation of the Named Executive Officers in the NQDCP and/or EDCP.
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Name   Plan Name   Executive
Contributions in
Last Fiscal Year
($)(1)
  Aggregate
Earnings in
Last Fiscal
Year ($)
  Aggregate
Withdrawals or
Distributions
($)
  Aggregate
Balance at
Last Fiscal
Year End ($)
R.K. Shaw   NQDCP     (37,224)   86,259   470,932
    EDCP   155,434   26,389     602,987
(1) Amounts contributed are included in the Salary column of the Summary Compensation Table.
2. Narrative Description of the Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plan and Executive Deferred Compensation Plan
All officers and certain senior employees of the Company, and others at the discretion of the Company, are eligible to participate in the NQDCP. At the Company’s discretion, executive officers may be designated to participate in the EDCP.
A participant in the NQDCP may defer between 1% and 90% of their base salary (including sales related compensation) and bonus. A participant in the EDCP may defer (i) a minimum of the greater of $2,500 or 5% of base salary (including sales related compensation) and a maximum of 90% of base salary; and (ii) a minimum of 5% and a maximum of 90% of bonus.
Under the NQDCP, participants specify one or more investment preferences in which deferrals are deemed to be invested. Participant accounts are adjusted for interest, earnings or losses equal to the actual results of the deemed investment(s). Under the EDCP, participant deferrals earn an interest rate equal to the Moody’s Average Annual Corporate Bond Index rate plus .45% for active participants and fixed rates ranging from 6.37% to 7.91% for participants receiving benefits.
Amounts deferred under both plans and the earnings from the plans are distributed to a participant upon termination of employment, if not distributed earlier. Amounts distributed under the plans are generally paid in either a lump sum or installments over 3, 5, 10 or 15 years at the election of the participant.
Following a change in control of the Company, the Board of Directors may terminate one or both plans in its discretion and pay all amounts due under a terminated plan to participants. Certain payments following termination of employment or after a change in control may be delayed to comply with requirements under the Internal Revenue Code.
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners
Set forth below is certain information, as of January 1, 2019, concerning beneficial ownership of the voting securities of the Company by entities and persons who beneficially own more than 5% of the voting securities of the Company. The determinations of “beneficial ownership” of voting securities are based upon Rule 13d-3 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). This rule provides that securities will be deemed to be “beneficially owned” where a person has, either solely or in conjunction with others, (1) the power to vote or to direct the voting of securities and/or the power to dispose or to direct the disposition of the securities or (2) the right to acquire any such power within 60 days after the date such “beneficial ownership” is determined.
1. 100% of the Company’s 7,320,176 outstanding common shares are owned by GWL&A Financial Inc., 8515 East Orchard Road, Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111.
2. 100% of the outstanding common shares of GWL&A Financial Inc. are owned by Great-West Lifeco U.S. LLC, 8515 East Orchard Road, Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111.
3. 100% of the outstanding common shares of Great-West Lifeco U.S. LLC are owned by Great-West Financial (Nova Scotia) Co., Suite 800, 1959 Upper Water Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 2X2.
4. 100% of the outstanding common shares of Great-West Financial (Nova Scotia) Co. are owned by Great-West Financial (Canada) Inc., 100 Osborne Street North, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3C 3A5.
5. 100% of the outstanding common shares of Great-West Financial (Canada) Inc. are owned by Great-West Lifeco Inc., 100 Osborne Street North, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3C 3A5.
6. 71.81% of the outstanding common shares of Great-West Lifeco Inc. are controlled, directly or indirectly, by Power Financial Corporation, 751 Victoria Square, Montréal, Québec, Canada H2Y 2J3, representing approximately 65% of the voting rights attached to all outstanding voting shares of Great-West Lifeco Inc.
7. 65.52% of the outstanding common shares of Power Financial Corporation are owned by 171263 Canada Inc., 751 Victoria Square, Montréal, Québec, Canada H2Y 2J3.
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8. 100% of the outstanding common shares of 171263 Canada Inc. are owned by Power Corporation of Canada, 751 Victoria Square, Montréal, Québec, Canada H2Y 2J3.
9. The Desmarais Family Residuary Trust, c/o San Palo Investments Corporation, 759 Victoria Square, Suite 520, Montréal, Québec, Canada H2Y 2J7, directly and through a group of private holding companies which it controls, has voting control of Power Corporation of Canada.
As a result of the chain of ownership described in paragraphs (1) through (9) above, each of the entities and persons listed in paragraphs (1) through (9) would be considered under Rule 13d-3 of the Exchange Act to be a “beneficial owner” of 100% of the outstanding voting securities of the Company.
Security Ownership of Management
The following tables set out the number of equity securities and exercisable options for equity securities of the Company or any of its parents or subsidiaries, beneficially owned, as of January 1, 2019, by (i) the directors of the Company (ii) the Named Executive Officers and (iii) the directors and executive officers of the Company as a group.
Directors Great-West Lifeco Inc.(1) Power Financial Corporation(2) Power Corporation of Canada(3)
J.L. Bernbach - - -
R. Bienfait - - -
M.R. Coutu 10,000 - -
A. Desmarais 350,000 43,200
549,991 options
15,118,416
3,884,000 options
P. Desmarais, Jr. 100,000 - 15,096,015
3,884,000 options
G.A. Doer - - -
G.J. Fleming - - -
C. Généreux - -
205,629 options
4,821
25,279 options
A. Louvel - - -
P.B. Madoff - - -
P.A. Mahon 151,566 - -
R.J. Orr 20,000 400,200
3,622,229 options
20,000
R.L. Reynolds - - -
T. Timothy Ryan, Jr. - 16,400 18,572
J.J. Selitto - - -
G.D. Tretiak - -  
145,971 options 13,001    
150,649 options      
B.E. Walsh - - -
    
Named Executive Officers Great-West Lifeco Inc.(1) Power Financial Corporation(2) Power Corporation of Canada(3)
R.L. Reynolds - - -
A.S. Bolotin - 26,460 options - -
R.H. Linton - 7,540 options - -
E.F. Murphy - 106,880 options - -
R.K. Shaw 6,052 151,620 options - -
    
Directors and Executive Officers as a Group Great-West Lifeco Inc.(1) Power Financial Corporation(2) Power Corporation of Canada(3)
  637,618
372,406 options
459,800
4,523,820 options
30,270,825
7,943,928 options
(1) All holdings are common shares, or where indicated, exercisable options for common shares of Great-West Lifeco Inc.
(2) All holdings are common shares, or where indicated, exercisable options for common shares of Power Financial Corporation.
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(3) All holdings are subordinate voting shares, or where indicated, exercisable options for subordinate voting shares of Power Corporation of Canada.
The number of subordinate voting shares and exercisable options for subordinate voting shares of Power Corporation of Canada held by the directors and executive officers as a group represents 0.79% of the total number of subordinate voting shares and exercisable options for subordinate voting shares of Power Corporation of Canada outstanding.
None of the remaining holdings set out above exceeds 1% of the total number of shares and exercisable options for shares of the class outstanding.
Transactions with Related Persons, Promoters and Certain Control Persons
(a) There are no transactions to report.
(b) The Company’s Board of Directors has a Conduct Review Committee which acts pursuant to a written Charter and procedures (together, the “procedures”). Messrs. Bernbach and Louvel serve on the Conduct Review Committee.
The Conduct Review Committee, in accordance with the procedures, considers and approves transactions between the Company or its subsidiaries and (i) the directors and senior officers of the Company or its affiliates, including their spouses and minor children; (ii) its affiliates; and (iii) companies controlled by a director or senior officer of the Company or its affiliates, or their spouses or minor children. Control and affiliation is defined as a 10% voting interest or 25% ownership interest, but does not include subsidiaries of the Company.
Among other criteria, the Conduct Review Committee considers whether such transactions were on market terms and conditions, including interest rates and fees, as those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with third parties. Such review also considers the Company’s established conflict of interest guidelines with respect to the transaction, as set forth in the Company’s Code.
There were no reportable related party transactions during the Registrant’s most recently completed fiscal year where the aforementioned procedures did not require review, approval or ratification or where the procedures were not followed.
Risks Associated with the Company and the Financial Services Industry
In the normal course of its business, the Company is exposed to certain operational, regulatory, and financial risks and uncertainties. The most significant risks include the following:
Competition could negatively affect the ability of the Company to maintain or increase market share or profitability.
The industry in which the Company operates is highly competitive. The Company’s competitors include insurance companies, mutual fund companies, banks, investment advisors, and certain service and professional organizations. Although there has been consolidation in some sectors, no one competitor is dominant. Customer retention is a key factor for continued profitability. Management cannot be certain that the Company will be able to maintain its current competitive position in the markets in which it operates, or that it will be able to expand its operations into new markets. If the Company fails to do so, its business, results of operations, and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.