10-K 1 voyafinancialinc201710-kre.htm 10-K Document
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UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
——————————————————————
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
 
ý
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017

OR
o
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from        _                   to  _                        

Commission File Number: _001-35897______________________________________

Voya Financial, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
52-1222820
(IRS Employer Identification No.)
230 Park Avenue
New York, New York
(Address of principal executive offices)
10169
(Zip Code)
(212) 309-8200

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name on each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $.01 Par Value
 New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. x Yes o No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. o Yes x No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.        Yes   x     No   o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).   Yes   x     No   o

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. x 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company.  See the definitions of "large accelerated filer", "accelerated filer" and "smaller reporting company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer    x
Accelerated filer    o
Non-accelerated filer    o
Smaller reporting company     o
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
Emerging growth company     o
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 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes o  No ý

As of June 30, 2017, the aggregate market value of the common stock of the registrant held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $6.6 billion.
As of February 16, 2018, there were 172,003,659 shares of the registrant's common stock outstanding.

Documents incorporated by reference: Portions of Voya Financial, Inc.'s Proxy Statement for its 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders are incorporated by reference in the Annual Report on Form 10-K in response to Part III, Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.
 

 
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Voya Financial, Inc.
Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2017
Table of Contents
ITEM NUMBER
 
 
PAGE
 
 
PART I.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 1.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 1A.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 1B.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 2.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 3.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 4.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PART II.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 5.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 6.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 7.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 7A.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 8.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 9.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 9A.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PART III.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 10.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 11.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 12.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 13.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 14.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PART IV.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 15.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
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For the purposes of the discussion in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the term Voya Financial, Inc. refers to Voya Financial, Inc. and the terms "Company," "we," "our," and "us" refer to Voya Financial, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
NOTE CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K, including "Risk Factors," "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," and "Business," contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include statements relating to future developments in our business or expectations for our future financial performance and any statement not involving a historical fact. Forward-looking statements use words such as "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "plan," and other words and terms of similar meaning in connection with a discussion of future operating or financial performance. Actual results, performance or events may differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statement due to, among other things, (i) general economic conditions, particularly economic conditions in our core markets, (ii) performance of financial markets, including emerging markets, (iii) the frequency and severity of insured loss events, (iv) mortality and morbidity levels, (v) persistency and lapse levels, (vi) interest rates, (vii) currency exchange rates, (viii) general competitive factors, (ix) changes in laws and regulations, (x) changes in the policies of governments and/or regulatory authorities, (xi) our ability to successfully complete the Transaction (as defined below) on the expected economic terms or at all, and (xii) other factors described in the section "Item 1A. Risk Factors."
The risks included here are not exhaustive. Current reports on Form 8-K and other documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") include additional factors that could affect our businesses and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in a rapidly changing and competitive environment. New risk factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such risk factors.

MARKET DATA

In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we present certain market and industry data and statistics. This information is based on third-party sources which we believe to be reliable. Market ranking information is generally based on industry surveys and therefore the reported rankings reflect the rankings only of those companies who voluntarily participate in these surveys. Accordingly, our market ranking among all competitors may be lower than the market ranking set forth in such surveys. In some cases, we have supplemented these third-party survey rankings with our own information, such as where we believe we know the market ranking of particular companies who do not participate in the surveys.

In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the term "customers" refers to retirement plan sponsors, retirement plan participants, institutional investment clients, retail investors, corporations or professional groups offering employee benefits solutions, insurance policyholders, annuity contract holders, individuals with contractual relationships with financial advisors and holders of Individual Retirement Accounts ("IRAs") or other individual retirement, investment or insurance products sold by us.

Market data sources used with respect to our various segments include:

Retirement. Our Retirement segment sources our market segment leadership positions within the retirement industry from market surveys conducted by LIMRA, an insurance and financial services industry organization, and industry-recognized publications such as Pensions & Investments and InvestmentNews.com. Retirement tracks market segment leadership positions by assets under management ("AUM") or assets under administration ("AUA"), number of defined contribution plans, number of defined contribution plan participant accounts, sales (takeover assets and contributions), and the number of producing broker-dealer representatives.

Investment Management. Our Investment Management segment sources our market segment leadership positions within the investment management industry from Morningstar fund data and industry-recognized publications such as Pension & Investments. Investment Management tracks market segment leadership positions by AUM; and by benchmark or peer median metrics, which, as presented, measure each investment product based on (i) rank above the median of its peer category within Morningstar (mutual funds) or eVestment (institutional composites) for unconstrained and fully-active investment products; or (ii) outperformance against its benchmark index for "index like", rules based, risk-constrained, or client-specific investment products.

Individual Life. Our Individual Life segment sources our market segment leadership positions within the individual life insurance industry primarily from LIMRA market surveysIndividual Life tracks market segment leadership positions by premiums sold.


 
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Employee Benefits. Our Employee Benefits segment sources our market segment leadership positions within the employee benefits industry from LIMRA market surveys and MyHealthguide newsletter rankingsStop loss market rankings are derived from MyHealthguide, which does not include most managed healthcare providers in their market positions survey. The MyHealthguide survey is a recurring publication that compiles a ranking of medical stop loss providers and their most recently sourced annual premium data. Employee Benefits tracks market segment leadership positions by new premiums and in-force premiums.




 
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PART I

Item 1.         Business

For the purposes of this discussion, the term Voya Financial, Inc. refers to Voya Financial, Inc. and the terms "Company," "we," "our," and "us" refer to Voya Financial, Inc. and its subsidiaries.

We are a premier retirement, investment and insurance company serving the financial needs of approximately 14.7 million individual and institutional customers in the United States as of December 31, 2017. Our vision is to be America’s Retirement Company™. Our approximately 6,300 employees (as of December 31, 2017) are focused on executing our mission to make a secure financial future possible—one person, one family and one institution at a time. Through our retirement, investment management and insurance businesses, we help our customers save, grow, protect and enjoy their wealth to and through retirement. We offer our products and services through a broad group of financial intermediaries, independent producers, affiliated advisors and dedicated sales specialists throughout the United States.

Our extensive scale and breadth of product offerings are designed to help Americans achieve their retirement savings, investment income and protection goals. Our strategy is centered on preparing customers for "Retirement Readiness"—being emotionally and economically secure and ready for their retirement. We believe that the rapid aging of the U.S. population, weakening of traditional social safety nets, shifting of responsibility for retirement planning from institutions to individuals and growth in total retirement account assets will drive significant demand for our products and services going forward. We believe that we are well positioned to deliver on this Retirement Readiness need.

We believe that we help our customers achieve three essential financial goals, as they plan for, invest for and protect their retirement years.

Plan. Our products enable our customers to save for retirement by establishing investment accounts through their employers or individually.

Invest. We provide advisory programs, individual retirement accounts ("IRAs"), brokerage accounts, mutual funds and accumulation insurance products to help our customers achieve their financial objectives. Our income products such as target date funds, guaranteed income funds, IRAs, mutual funds and accumulation insurance products enable our customers to meet income needs through retirement and achieve wealth transfer objectives.

Protect. Our specialized retirement and insurance products, such as stable value, indexed universal life ("IUL") and variable life products, allow our customers to protect against unforeseen life events and mitigate market risk.

We tailor our products to meet the unique needs of our individual and institutional customers. Our individual businesses are primarily focused on the middle and mass affluent markets; however we serve customers across the full income spectrum, especially in our Institutional Retirement Plans business, Retail and Alternative Fund businesses, and Employee Benefits segment. Similarly, our institutional businesses serve a broad range of customers, with a wide variety of offerings for the small-mid, large and mega market segments across all industries.

We provide our principal products and services through four segments: Retirement, Investment Management, Individual Life and Employee Benefits. Activities not related to our business segments such as our corporate operations, corporate-level assets and financial obligations are included in Corporate. As of the fourth quarter of 2017, substantially all of our former Annuities and Closed Block Variable Annuity ("CBVA") segments have been reclassified as "Business Held for Sale/Discontinued Operations". We continue to operate these businesses until the closing of the Transaction described further under "–Organizational History and Structure–CBVA and Annuity Transaction".

 
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The following table presents a summary of our key individual and institutional markets, how we define those markets, and the key products we sell in such markets.

Individual Markets
Market
Household Income Range
Investable Asset Range
Typical Customer Products
Mass Market
$50,000-$100,000
<$100,000
Mutual Funds
IRAs
 
 
 
 
Middle Market & Mass Affluent
$100,000-$250,000
$100,000-$2,000,000
Universal Life Insurance
Mutual Funds
IRAs
Financial Advisory
 
 
 
 
Affluent & Wealth Management Market
$250,000-$500,000
>$2,000,000
Universal Life Insurance
Mutual Funds
Separately Managed Accounts
Alternative Funds
IRAs
Financial Advisory

Institutional Markets
Market
Employee Size
Asset Range
Typical Customer Products
Small-Mid
26-1,000
$0-$75 million
Full Service Retirement Plans
Retirement Recordkeeping
Employee Benefits
Investment Management
Stable Value
 
 
 
 
Large
1,000-10,000
$75 million-$1 billion
Full Service Retirement Plans
Retirement Recordkeeping
Employee Benefits
Investment Management
Stable Value
 
 
 
 
Mega
>10,000
>$1 billion
Full Service Retirement Plans
Retirement Recordkeeping
Employee Benefits
Investment Management
Stable Value


 
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Our Segments

Retirement is a leading provider of retirement services and products in the United States, offering tax-deferred, employer-sponsored (institutional) retirement savings plans and administrative services to approximately 48,600 plan sponsors covering approximately 5.2 million plan participant accounts in corporate, education, healthcare, other non-profit and government entities as of December 31, 2017. Our Retirement segment reaches customers through a broad distribution footprint comprising multiple sales channels, including affiliated representatives and thousands of non-affiliated sales agents, brokers and advisors as well as third-party administrators ("TPAs") and pension/specialty consultants. The segment serves a wide spectrum of employers ranging from small companies to the very largest corporations and government entities. Stable Value solutions are also offered to institutional plan sponsors where we may or may not be providing defined contribution plan services. Additionally, Retirement provides IRAs and other retail financial products as well as comprehensive financial planning and advisory services to individual customers. Retirement had $382.7 billion of AUM and AUA as of December 31, 2017, of which $122.6 billion was institutional full service business, $256.5 billion was institutional recordkeeping, stable value and pension risk transfer business and $3.6 billion was Retail Wealth Management business.

Investment Management. We are a prominent full-service asset manager with approximately $224.3 billion of AUM and $50.0 billion of AUA as of December 31, 2017, delivering client-oriented investment solutions and advisory services, serving both individual and institutional customers. We serve both individual and institutional customers, offering them domestic and international fixed income, equity, multi-asset and alternative investment products and solutions across a range of geographies, investment styles and capitalization spectrums.

As of December 31, 2017, we managed $142.3 billion in our commercial business (comprising $96.2 billion for third-party institutions and individual investors, and $46.1 billion in separate account assets for our other businesses) and $82.0 billion in general account assets for Voya Financial.

As of December 31, 2017, 94%, 93%, and 79% of fixed income assets, 54%, 54%, and 57% of equity assets, and 88%, 96%, and 32% of Multi-Asset Strategies and Solutions ("MASS") assets outperformed benchmark or peer median returns on a 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year basis, respectively. Our retail mutual fund portfolio assets totaled $27.0 billion as of December 31, 2017.

Individual Life provides wealth protection and transfer opportunities through universal and variable products, distributed primarily through a network of independent general agents and managing directors ("Aligned Distributors") to meet the needs of a broad range of customers from the middle-market through affluent market segments. We provide universal and variable life insurance products. Based on the LIMRA survey as of September 30, 2017, for premiums sold, our indexed universal life products ranked eighth. The rankings reflect our recent focus on selling more capital efficient products, such as IUL. As of December 31, 2017, the Individual Life distribution model is supported by approximately 100 Aligned Distributors with access to over 50,000 producers who are committed to promoting Voya products. As we announced in December 2017, we are currently conducting a strategic review of our Individual Life business.

Employee Benefits provides stop loss, group life, voluntary employee-paid and disability products to mid-sized and large businesses. Our products are distributed through national and regional benefits consultants, brokers, TPAs, enrollment firms and technology partners. We are a top tier provider of stop-loss insurance and currently rank eighth in the United States as reported by MyHealthguide through November 2017. We also hold top 20 positions in our voluntary and group life products as reported by LIMRA as of the third quarter of 2017.

CBVA and Annuities Businesses

As described below under "–Organizational History and Structure–CBVA and Annuity Transaction", in December 2017, we entered into a transaction to dispose of substantially all of our CBVA and Fixed and Fixed Indexed Annuities businesses and related assets (the "Transaction"). Until this Transaction closes, we remain responsible for the ongoing management of these businesses.

Annuities provides fixed and indexed annuities, investment-only products and payout annuities for pre-retirement wealth accumulation and post-retirement income management sold through multiple channels, and had $29.0 billion of AUM as of December 31, 2017. Following the closing of the Transaction, we will retain a small portion of our existing Annuities business, including approximately $6 billion in investment-only products.

CBVA. We previously separated CBVA business from our other operations, as part of a strategic decision to run-off, divest, or cease actively writing certain lines of business. Accordingly, CBVA was classified as a closed block and has been managed separately

 
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from our other segments. In 2009, we decided to stop actively writing new retail variable annuity products with substantial guarantee features (the last policies were issued in early 2010) and placed this portfolio in run-off. We will retain a small stub of variable annuities business following the closing of the Transaction.

———————

As of December 31, 2017, on a consolidated basis, we had $554.5 billion in total AUM and AUA and total shareholders’ equity, excluding accumulated other comprehensive income/loss ("AOCI") and noncontrolling interests, of $7.3 billion. In addition, we had $(2,992) million of Net income (loss) available to Voya Financial, Inc.’s common shareholders for the year ended December 31, 2017 of which $(2,580) million was related to Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax.

For the year ended December 31, 2017, we generated $528 million of Income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes, and $528 million of Adjusted operating earnings before income taxes. Adjusted operating earnings before income taxes is a non-GAAP financial measure. For a reconciliation of Adjusted operating earnings before income taxes to Income (loss) before income taxes, see "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Results of Operations— Company Consolidated."

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY AND STRUCTURE

Our History

Prior to our initial public offering in May 2013, we were a wholly owned subsidiary of ING Groep N.V. ("ING Group"), a global financial institution based in the Netherlands.

Through ING Group, we entered the United States life insurance market in 1975 through the acquisition of Wisconsin National Life Insurance Company, followed in 1976 with ING Group's acquisition of Midwestern United Life Insurance Company and Security Life of Denver Insurance Company in 1977. ING Group significantly expanded its presence in the United States in the late 1990s and 2000s with the acquisitions of Equitable Life Insurance Company of Iowa (1997), Furman Selz, an investment advisory company (1997), ReliaStar Life Insurance Company (including Pilgrim Capital Corporation) (2000), Aetna Life Insurance and Annuity Company (including Aeltus Investment Management) (2000) and CitiStreet (2008). As of March 2015, ING Group has completely divested its ownership of Voya Financial, Inc. common stock, although it continues to hold warrants to acquire a certain number of our shares.

For additional information on the separation from ING Group, see the "Business, Basis of Presentation and Significant Accounting Policies" section in Part II, Item 7. of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.


 
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Our Organizational Structure

We are a holding company incorporated in Delaware in April 1999. We operate our businesses through a number of direct and indirect subsidiaries. The following organizational chart presents the ownership and jurisdiction of incorporation of our principal subsidiaries as of December 31, 2017:
updatedorgchart21518.jpg
The chart above presents:

Voya Financial, Inc.

Our principal intermediate holding company, Voya Holdings, which is the direct parent of a number of our insurance and non-insurance operating entities.

Our principal operating entities that are the primary sources of cash distributions to Voya Financial, Inc. Specifically, these entities are our principal insurance operating companies (VRIAC, VIAC, SLD and RLI) and Voya Investment Management LLC, the holding company for entities that operate our Investment Management segment.

SLDI and RRII, our Arizona captives.

CBVA and Annuity Transaction

On December 20, 2017, we entered into a Master Transaction Agreement (the "MTA") with VA Capital Company LLC, a newly formed Delaware limited liability company ("VA Capital"), and Athene Holding Ltd., a Bermuda limited company ("Athene"), pursuant to which VA Capital's wholly owned subsidiary Venerable Holdings Inc. ("Venerable") will acquire certain of our assets, including all of the shares of the capital stock of VIAC, our Iowa-domiciled insurance subsidiary, and all of the membership interests of Directed Services LLC, an indirect broker-dealer subsidiary ("DSL"). This transaction will result in our disposition of substantially all of our variable annuity and fixed and fixed indexed annuity businesses and related assets (collectively, the "Transaction").

VA Capital is a holding company formed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management LLC ("Apollo") and Athene (collectively, the "Sponsors"). Reverence Capital Partners, L.P. and Crestview Advisors, L.L.C. are also investors in VA Capital, along with us, and under the MTA, at closing, we will acquire a 9.99% equity interest in VA Capital. In addition, after the closing, our other insurance subsidiaries will continue to own surplus notes issued by VIAC in aggregate principal amount of $350 million.

Following its acquisition of VIAC, Venerable will hold substantially all of the variable annuities in what was previously reported as our CBVA segment with account value of approximately $35 billion based on June 30, 2017 balances. We separated CBVA from our other operations in 2009 and 2010 placing them in run-off as part of a strategic decision to stop actively writing new retail variable annuity products with substantial guarantee features. Accordingly, this segment was classified as a closed block and was managed separately from our other segments.


 
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Concurrent with the sale of VIAC, we will sell via reinsurance to Athene our individual fixed and fixed indexed annuities policies with approximately $19 billion of account value as of June 30, 2017, representing a significant majority of our fixed and fixed indexed annuities in force. We intend to cease manufacturing non-retirement-focused annuities after the Transaction closes. After the Transaction, VIAC or one of Venerable's other affiliates will administer most of the variable, fixed and fixed indexed annuities included in the Transaction, subject to some exceptions and transitional arrangements. Certain businesses in our former Annuities segment are not part of the transaction, including approximately $6 billion in investment-only products (primarily Select Advantage) that will be retained by us. We will also retain a small amount of existing variable annuities business.

As a a result of our entry into the Transaction, the operations that were reported in prior periods as our CBVA and Annuities segments have been reclassified as "Business Held for Sale and Discontinued Operations" in our financial statements and are no longer reported as individual segments. For additional information about this reclassification, see the Business Held for Sale and Discontinued Operations note in Part II, Item 8. of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

The purchase price in the Transaction is equal to the difference between the Required Adjusted Book Value (as defined in the MTA) and the Statutory capital in VIAC at closing. The Required Adjusted Book Value is based on, subject to certain adjustments, the Conditional Trail Expectation ("CTE") 95 standard which is a statistical tail risk measure under the Standard & Poor's ("S&P") model which follows the Risk Based capital C-3 Phase II guidelines as stipulated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners ("NAIC").

Under the terms of the Transaction, VIAC will, at or prior to the closing of the Transaction, undertake certain restructuring transactions with several current affiliates in order to transfer businesses and assets into and out of the Company. These restructuring transactions will include internal reinsurance of VIAC's life insurance and employee benefits businesses, the recapture of VIAC's variable annuity business from an affiliated reinsurer, the transfer of real and personal property and the settlement of outstanding amounts under existing affiliate agreements.

The MTA contains limits on the amount of additional capital we could be required to contribute to meet any increases in the Required Adjusted Book Value and on the amount of capital in excess of such amount that VA Capital could be required to compensate us for if such excess capital were to become trapped in VIAC prior to Transaction closing, in each case subject to certain termination rights.

In connection with the closing of the Transaction, Voya IM or its affiliated advisors will enter into one or more agreements to perform asset management services for Venerable as part of the Transaction. As part of the agreements, Voya IM or its affiliated advisors will serve as the preferred asset management partner for Venerable. Under the agreements, subject to certain criteria, Voya IM or its affiliated advisors will manage certain assets, including, for a minimum of five years following the closing of the Transaction, certain general account assets. Voya has also agreed to provide certain transitional services to Venerable for up to 24 months after the closing of the Transaction.

The Transaction is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2018, subject to conditions specified in the MTA, including the receipt of required regulatory approvals, and other conditions.

OUR BUSINESSES

Retirement

Our Retirement segment is focused on meeting the needs of individuals in preparing for and sustaining a secure retirement through employer-sponsored plans and services, as well as through individual account rollover plans and comprehensive financial product offerings and planning and advisory services. We are well positioned in the marketplace, with our industry-leading Institutional Retirement Plans business and our Retail Wealth Management business having a combined $382.7 billion of AUM and AUA as of December 31, 2017, of which $66.3 billion were in proprietary assets.

Our Institutional Retirement Plans business offers tax-deferred employer-sponsored retirement savings plan and administrative services to corporations of all sizes, public and private school systems, higher education institutions, hospitals and healthcare facilities, not-for-profit organizations and state and local governments. We also offer stable value products to institutional plan sponsors where we may or may not be providing defined contribution plan services. This broad-based institutional business crosses many sectors of the economy, which provides diversification that helps insulate us from downturns in particular industries. In the defined contribution market, we provide services to approximately 48,600 plan sponsors covering approximately 5.2 million plan participant accounts as of December 31, 2017.


 
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Our Retail Wealth Management business, with AUM and AUA of $3.6 billion as of December 31, 2017, focuses on the rapidly expanding retiree market as well as on pre-retirees within our defined contribution plans. This business offers retail financial products and comprehensive financial planning and advisory services to help individuals manage their retirement savings and income needs.

Our Retirement segment earns revenue principally from asset and participant-based advisory and recordkeeping fees. Retirement generated Adjusted operating earnings before income taxes of $456 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. Our Investment Management segment also earns arm’s-length market-based fees from the management of the general account and mutual fund assets supporting Institutional Retirement Plans and certain Retail Wealth Management rollover products and advisory solutions. Distribution of Investment Management products and services using the Retirement segment continues to present a growth opportunity for our Retirement and Investment Management segments.

We will continue to focus on growing our retirement platform by driving increases in our Institutional Retirement Plans business through focused sales and retention efforts, and by leveraging our Retail Wealth Management business to deepen relationships with our Institutional Retirement Plan participants. We will also continue to place a strong emphasis on capital and cost management while also growing our distribution platform and achieving a diversified retirement product mix.

An important element of our Retirement strategy is to leverage the extensive customer base to which we have access through our Institutional Retirement Plans business in order to grow our Retail Wealth Management and Investment Management businesses. We are therefore focused on building long-term relationships with our plan participants, especially when initiated through service touch points such as plan enrollments and rollovers, which will enable us to offer such participant's individual retirement and investment management solutions both during and after the term of their plan participation.

Institutional Retirement Plans

Products and Services

We are one of only a few providers that offer tax-deferred institutional retirement savings plans, services and support to the full spectrum of businesses, ranging from small to mega-sized plans and across all markets and code sections. These plans may either be offered as full service options or recordkeeping services products. We also offer stable value investment options to institutional clients where we may or may not be providing defined contribution plan services.

Full-service retirement products provide recordkeeping and plan administration services, tailored award-winning participant communications and education programs, myOrangeMoney® digital capabilities for sponsors and plan participants (plus mobile capabilities for participants), trustee services and institutional and retail investments. Offerings include a wide variety of investment and administrative products for defined contribution plans for tax-advantaged retirement savings, as well as nonqualified executive benefit plans and employer stock option plans. Plan sponsors may select from a variety of investment structures and products, such as general account, separate account, mutual funds, stable value or collective investment trusts and a variety of underlying asset types (including their own employer stock) to best meet the needs of their employees. A broad selection of funds is available for our products in all asset categories from over 150 fund families, including the Voya family of mutual funds managed by our Investment Management segment. Our full-service retirement plan offerings are also supported by financial planning and investment advisory services offered through our Retail Wealth Management business or through third parties (e.g., Morningstar) to help prepare individuals for retirement through customer-focused personalized and objective investment advice.

Recordkeeping service products provide recordkeeping and plan administration support for a sponsor base that includes multi-employer corporate plans, large-mega corporations and state and local governments. Our recordkeeping retirement plan offerings are also supported by award-winning participant communications and education programs, myOrangeMoney® digital capabilities for sponsors and plan participants (plus mobile capabilities for participants), as well as financial planning and investment advisory services offered through our Retail Wealth Management business and Voya Retirement Advisors (our registered investment advisor group serving in-plan participants with the in-plan advisory services program).

Stable value investment options may be offered within our full service institutional plans, or as investment-only options within our recordkeeping services plans or within other vendor plans. Our product offering includes both separate account guaranteed investment contracts ("GICs") and synthetic GICs managed by either proprietary or outside investment managers.

Pension risk transfer group annuity solutions were previously offered to institutional plan sponsors who needed to transfer their defined benefit plan obligations to us. We discontinued sales of these solutions in late 2016 to better align our business activities to our strategic priorities, but continue to manage existing policies and assets.

 
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The following chart presents our Institutional Retirement Plans product/service models and corresponding AUM and AUA, key markets in which we compete, primary defined contribution plan Internal Revenue Code sections and core products offered for each market segment.

Product/Service Model
AUM/AUA (as of
December 31, 2017)
Key Market Segments/Product Lines
Primary Internal Revenue Code section
Core Products*
Full Service Plans
$122.6 billion
Small-Mid Corporate
401(k)
Voya MAP Select,
Voya Framewor(k)
 
 
K-12 Education
403(b)
Voya Custom Choice II,
Voya Framewor(k)
 
 
Higher Education
403(b)
Voya Retirement Choice II, Voya Retirement Plus II,
Voya Framewor(k)
 
 
Healthcare & Other Non-Profits
403(b)
Voya Retirement Choice II, Voya Retirement Plus II,
Voya Framewor(k)
 
 
Government (local and state)
457
RetireFlex-SA,
RetireFlex-MF,
Voya Health Reserve Account,
Voya Framewor(k)
Recordkeeping and Stable Value Business
$256.5 billion**
Small-Mid Corporate
401(k)
***
 
Large-Mega Corporate
401(k)
***
 
 
Government (local and state)
457
***
 
 
Stable Value****
401(k)
403(b)
457(b)
Separate Account and Synthetic GICs

* Core products actively being sold today.
** Assets include a small block of pension risk transfer business which is no longer an active offering
*** Offerings include administration services and investment options such as mutual funds, commingled trusts and separate accounts.
**** Sold across all market segments with a strong focus on Large Corporate

In 2017, we launched an enhanced version of our Voya Framewor(k) product, making it the first product in the history of our business that can be sold across both full service corporate and tax-exempt markets. It is a mutual fund program offered to fund qualified retirement plans, and it gives plan advisors and third party administrators who work with us a uniform and consistent product experience across multiple plan markets. The product is distinguished by its flexible recordkeeping platform and contains over 200 funds from well-known fund families for smaller plans or can be provided as an open architecture investment platform for larger plans (which offers most funds for which trades are cleared through the National Securities Clearing Corporation). This product also includes our general account and various stable value investment options.

In addition to Voya Framewor(k), we offer products customized to each of the full service corporate market and the full service tax exempt market.

For plans in the full service corporate market, our core product is Voya MAP Select, a group funding agreement/group annuity contract offered to fund qualified retirement plans. The product contains over 200 funds from well-known fund families for smaller plans or can be provided as an open architecture investment platform for larger plans (which offers most funds for which trades are cleared through the National Securities Clearing Corporation). This product also includes our general account and various stable value investment options.


 
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For plans in the full service tax-exempt market, we offer a variety of products, that include the following:

Voya Retirement Choice II and RetireFlex-MF, retail mutual fund products which provide flexible funding vehicles and are designed to provide a diversified menu of mutual funds in addition to a guaranteed option (available through a group fixed annuity contract or stable value product).

Voya Retirement Plus II and Voya Custom Choice II, registered group annuity products featuring variable investment options held in a variable annuity separate account and a fixed investment option held in the general account.

RetireFlex-SA, an unregistered group annuity product which features variable investment options held in a variable annuity separate account and a guaranteed option (available through a group fixed annuity contract or stable value product).

Markets and Distribution

Our Institutional Retirement Plans business can be categorized into two primary markets: Corporate and Tax Exempt. Both markets utilize our myOrangeMoney® participant-facing digital capabilities as a centerpiece to help shift the mindset of plan participants from focusing only on accumulation to focusing on both accumulation and adequate income in retirement. Additionally, a broad suite of financial wellness offerings, including retirement planning, guidance and advisory products, tools and services are offered to help our plan participants in all markets reach their retirement goals. A brief description of each market, including sub segments and areas of particular focus, are as follows:

Corporate Markets:

Small-Mid Corporate Market. In this market we offer full service solutions to defined contribution plans of small-mid-sized corporations (i.e., typically less than 1,000 employees). Our comprehensive product offers an open architecture investment platform, comprehensive fiduciary solutions, dedicated and proactive service teams and product and service innovations leveraged from our expertise across multiple market segments (all sizes of plans as well as code sections). Furthermore, we offer a unique enrollment experience through our myOrangeMoney® digital capabilities that helps engage and inform plan participants with retirement savings and income goals.

Large-Mega Corporate Market. In this market we offer recordkeeping services to defined contribution plans of large to mega-sized corporations. Our solutions and capabilities support the most complex retirement plans with a special focus on client relationship management, tailored communication campaigns and education and enrollment support to help employers prepare their employees for retirement. We are dedicated to providing engaging information through innovative technology-based tools and award winning print materials to help plan participants achieve a secure and dignified retirement.

Tax Exempt Markets:

Education Market. We offer comprehensive full service offerings to both public and private K-12 educational entities as well as public and private higher education institutions. In the United States, we rank fourth in both the K-12 and higher education markets by assets as of September 30, 2017. Our support to plan sponsors with solutions to reduce administrative burden, deep technical and regulatory expertise, and strong on-site service teams plus a broad suite of financial wellness products, tools, and services for participants, continue to strengthen our position as one of the top providers in this market.

Healthcare/Other Non Profits Market. In this market we service hospitals, healthcare organizations and not-for-profit entities by offering full service solutions for a variety of plan types. We offer solutions that reduce sponsors' administrative burdens and provide them with deep technical and fiduciary expertise. Additionally, we offer on-site service teams to assist plan sponsors with their plans and to assist their employees with understanding and taking advantage of their plan benefits. We also provide tailored communications, education and enrollment support plus a broad suite of financial wellness products, tools and services in order to better prepare plan participants for retirement.

Government Market. We provide both full service and recordkeeping services offerings to small and large governmental entities (e.g., state and local government) with a client base that spans all 50 states plus US territories. For large governmental sponsors, we offer recordkeeping services that meet the most complex of needs, while also offering extensive participant communication and retirement education support, including a broad suite of financial wellness products, tools and services. We also offer a broad range of proprietary, non-proprietary and stable value investment options. Our flexibility

 
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and expertise help make us the fourth ranked provider in this market in the United States based on AUM and AUA as of September 30, 2017.

Products for Institutional Retirement Plans are distributed nationally through multiple unaffiliated channels supported by our employee wholesale field force and dedicated sales teams and via other affiliated distribution through our owned broker-dealer. We offer localized support to distribution partners and their clients during and after the sales process as well as a broad selection of investment options with flexibility of choice and comprehensive fiduciary solutions to help their clients meet or exceed plan guidelines and responsibilities.

Unaffiliated Distribution:

Independent Sales Agents. As of December 31, 2017, we work with more than 5,000 sales agents who primarily sell fixed annuity products from multiple vendors in the education market. Activities by these representatives are centered on increasing participant enrollments and deferral amounts in our existing K-12 education segment plans.

Brokers and Advisors. Over 12,000 wirehouse and independent regional and local brokers, specialty retirement plan advisors plus registered investment advisors (as of December 31, 2017) are the primary distributors of our small-mid corporate market products, but they also distribute products to the education, healthcare and government markets. These producers typically present their clients (i.e., employers seeking a defined contribution plan for their employees) with plan options from multiple vendors for comparison and may also help with employee enrollment and education.

TPAs. As of December 31, 2017, we have long-standing relationships with over 1,200 TPAs who work with a variety of retirement plan providers and are selling and/or service partners for our small-mid corporate markets and select tax exempt markets plans. While TPAs typically focus on providing plan services only (such as administration and compliance testing), some also initiate and complete the sales process. TPAs also play a vital role as the connecting point between our wholesale team and unaffiliated producers who seek references for determining which providers they should recommend to their clients.

Affiliated Distribution:

Voya Financial Advisors ("VFA"). Our owned broker-dealer is one of the top thirteen broker-dealers in the United States as determined by the total number of licensed and producing representatives. As of December 31, 2017, VFA provided licensing and operational support to approximately 1,800 field and phone-based representatives. The field based financial planning and advisory representatives support sales of products, financial planning and advisory services for the Retirement segment. A closely affiliated sub-set of the field-based channel focuses primarily on driving enrollment and contribution activity within our education, healthcare and government market institutional plans. They also provide in-plan education and guidance plus retail sold-financial advisory services to help individuals in these markets meet their retirement savings and income goals. The home office phone-based representatives focus on providing education, guidance and rollover support services to our institutional plan participants.

Wholesale Field Force. Locally based employee wholesalers focus on expanding and strengthening relationships with unaffiliated distribution partners and third party administrators who sell and service our institutional plan offerings to employers across the nation.

Dedicated Voya Sales Teams. We have employee sales teams that work with more than 80 different pension/specialty consulting firms that represent employers in corporate and tax-exempt markets seeking large-mega institutional plans and/or stable value solutions. Additionally, as mentioned above for VFA, we have salaried phone-based sales teams that focus on supporting our institutional plan participants across all markets.


 
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Competition

Our Institutional Retirement Plans business competes with other large, well-established insurance companies, asset managers, record keepers and diversified financial institutions. Competition varies in all market segments as few institutions are able to compete across all markets as we do. The following chart presents a summary of the current competitive landscape in the markets where we offer our Institutional Retirement Plans and stable value:

Market/Product Segment
Competitive Landscape
Select Competitors
 
 
 
Small-Mid Corporate
Primary competitors are mutual fund companies and insurance-based providers with third-party administration relationships
Empower
Fidelity
 
 
 
K-12 Education
Competitors are primarily insurance-based providers that focus on school districts across the nation
AXA
VALIC
 
 
 
Higher Education
Competitors are 403(b) plan providers, asset managers and some insurance-based providers
TIAA-CREF
Fidelity
 
 
 
Healthcare & Other Non-Profits
Competition varies across 403(b) plan providers, asset managers and some insurance-based providers
Fidelity
TIAA-CREF
 
 
 
Government
Compete primarily with insurance-based providers but also asset managers and 457 providers
Empower
Nationwide
 
 
 
Recordkeeping
Primarily bid against asset managers and business consulting services firms, but also compete with some payroll firms and insurance-based providers
Fidelity
Empower
 
 
 
Stable Value
Primarily compete with select insurance companies who are also dedicated to the Stable value market, but also with certain banking institutions
Prudential
MetLife

Our full-service Institutional Retirement Plans business competes primarily based on pricing for value delivered, the breadth of our service and investment offerings, technical/regulatory expertise, industry experience, local enrollment and financial wellness support, investment flexibility and our ability to offer industry tailored product features to meet the retirement income needs of our clients. Regarding the large plan recordkeeping only business, we have seen industry concentration in recent years as a result of mergers among several industry providers seeking to increase scale, improve cost efficiencies and enter new market segments. As a result, we emphasize our strong sponsor relationships, flexible value-added services, ability to customize recordkeeping and administration services to match client needs, and technical and regulatory expertise as our competitive strengths. Additionally, we compete across all institutional markets with our broad suite of products, tools, services, including myOrangeMoney® retirement income focused digital and mobile capabilities, to help employers support the retirement preparedness and financial needs of their employees. Our long standing experience in the retirement market underscored by strong stable value expertise allows us to effectively compete against existing and new providers.

Underwriting and Pricing

We price our institutional and individual retirement products based on long-term assumptions that include investment returns, mortality, persistency and operating costs. We establish target returns for each product based upon these factors and the expected amount of regulatory and rating agency capital that we must hold to support these contracts over their projected lifetime. We monitor and manage pricing and sales mix to achieve target returns. It may take new business several years before it is profitable, depending on the nature and life of the product, and returns are subject to variability as actual results may differ from pricing assumptions. We seek to mitigate investment risk by actively managing market and credit risks associated with investments and through asset/liability matching portfolio management.


 
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Retail Wealth Management

Products and Services

Our Retail Wealth Management business offers a variety of investments and protection products, along with holistic advice and guidance delivered through field-based financial planning and advisory representatives and home office phone-based representatives. Our current investment solutions include a variety of mutual fund custodial IRA products, managed accounts and advisory programs, plus brokerage accounts.

The primary focus of our Retirement segment is to serve approximately 5.2 million defined contribution plan participant accounts (as of December 31, 2017). We also seek to capitalize on our access to these individuals through our Institutional Retirement Plans business by utilizing our Retail Wealth Management business to deepen our relationships with them for the long-term. We believe that our ability to offer an integrated approach to an individual customer’s entire financial picture, while saving for or living in retirement, presents a compelling reason for our Institutional Retirement Plans participants to use us as their principal investment and retirement plan provider. Through our broad range of advisory programs, our financial advisers have access to a wide set of solutions for our customers for building investment portfolios, including stocks, bonds and mutual funds, as well as managed accounts. These experienced advisers work with customers to select a program to meet their financial needs that takes into consideration each individual’s time horizon, goals and attitudes towards risk.

Markets and Advisory Services

Retail Wealth Management products, financial planning and advisory services are primarily sold through our group of nearly 1,800 representatives licensed through our Voya Financial Advisors ("VFA") broker-dealer. These VFA representatives help provide cohesiveness between our Institutional Retirement Plans and Retail Wealth Management businesses and are grouped into two primary categories: field-based and home office phone-based representatives. Field-based representatives are registered sales and investment advisory representatives that drive both fee-based and commissioned sales. They provide face-to-face interaction with individuals seeking retail investment products (e.g., rollover products) as well as financial planning and advisory solutions. Home office phone-based representatives focus on assisting participants in our institutional retirement plans, primarily for our large recordkeeping plans. While these representatives offer more simplified rollover products and advisory services than offered by the field-based representatives, they are highly trained in providing financial advice that helps customers transition through life stage and job-related changes.

In an effort to develop a path for our VFA representatives to offer holistic retirement planning solutions to participants in our Institutional Retirement Plans, we partner with our institutional clients to engage, educate, advise and motivate their employees to take action that will better prepare them for successful retirement outcomes.

Competition

Our Retail Wealth Management advisory services and product solutions compete for rollover and other asset consolidation opportunities against integrated financial services companies and independent broker-dealers who also offer individual retirement products, all of which currently have more market share than insurance-based providers in this space. Primary competitors to our Retail Wealth Management business are, in the phone-based channel, Fidelity, Schwab, and Vanguard, and in the field-based channel, LPL Financial, Ameriprise, Commonwealth, Cambridge, Cetera, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Our Retail Wealth Management advisory services and product solutions are competitively priced and compete based on our consultative approach, simplicity of design and a fund and investment selection process that includes proprietary and non-proprietary investment options. The advisory services and product solutions are primarily targeted towards existing institutional plan participants, which allow us to benefit from our extensive relationships with large corporate and tax-exempt plan sponsors, our small and mid-corporate market plan sponsors and other qualified plan segments in healthcare, higher education and K-12 education.

Underwriting and Pricing

We price our institutional and individual retirement products based on long-term assumptions that include investment returns and operating costs. We establish target returns for each product based upon these factors and the expected amount of regulatory and rating agency capital that we must hold to support these contracts over their projected lifetime. We monitor and manage pricing and sales mix to achieve target returns. It may take new business several years before it is profitable, depending on the nature and life of the product, and returns are subject to variability as actual results may differ from pricing assumptions. We seek to mitigate

 
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investment risk by actively managing market and credit risks associated with investments and through asset/liability matching portfolio management.

Investment Management

We offer domestic and international fixed income, equity, multi-asset and alternatives products and solutions across market sectors, investment styles and capitalization spectrums through our actively managed, full-service investment management business. Multiple investment platforms are backed by a fully integrated business support infrastructure that lowers expense and creates operating efficiencies and business leverage and scalability at low marginal cost. As of December 31, 2017, our Investment Management segment managed $96.2 billion for third-party institutions and individual investors, $46.1 billion in separate account assets for our other segments (including CBVA) and $82.0 billion in general account assets. Upon closing of the Transaction, our general account AUM will decline by approximately $28 billion, a portion of which will be offset by approximately $10 billion of additional third-party AUM associated with our management of the general account assets of Venerable. See "–Organizational History and Structure–CBVA and Annuity Transaction".

We are committed to reliable and responsible investing and delivering research-driven, risk-adjusted, client-oriented investment strategies and solutions and advisory services across asset classes, geographies and investment styles. Through our institutional distribution channel and our Voya-affiliate businesses, we serve a variety of institutional clients, including public, corporate and Taft-Hartley Act defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans, endowments and foundations, and insurance companies. We also serve individual investors by offering our mutual funds and separately managed accounts through an intermediary-focused distribution platform or through affiliate and third-party retirement platforms.

Investment Management’s primary source of revenue is management fees collected on the assets we manage. These fees typically are based upon a percentage of AUM. In certain investment management fee arrangements, we may also receive performance-based incentive fees when the return on AUM exceeds certain benchmark returns or other performance hurdles. In addition, and to a lesser extent, Investment Management collects administrative fees on outside managed assets that are administered by our mutual fund platform, and distributed primarily by our Retirement segment. Investment Management also receives fees as the primary investment manager of our general account, which is managed on an arm’s-length pricing basis. Finally, Investment Management generates revenues from a portfolio of capital investments. Investment Management generated Adjusted operating earnings before income taxes of $248 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.

The success of our platform begins with providing our clients continued strong investment performance. In addition to investment performance, our focus is on client "solutions" and income and outcome-oriented products which include target date funds. We expect that strong investment performance combined with superior client service through a solution orientation will result in AUM growth.

As of December 31, 2017, 94%, 93%, and 79% of fixed income assets, 54%, 54%, and 57% of equity assets, and 88%, 96%, and 32% of Multi-Asset Strategies and Solutions ("MASS") assets outperformed benchmark or peer median returns on a 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year basis, respectively. Our retail mutual fund portfolio assets totaled $27.0 billion as of December 31, 2017.

We are also focused on capitalizing on the Retirement segment's leading market position and have established dedicated retirement resources within our Investment Management intermediary-focused distribution team to work with Retirement and have enhanced our MASS investment platform (described below) to increase focus on retirement products such as our target date and target risk portfolios, which we believe will capture an increased proportion of retirement flows going forward.

Other key strategic initiatives for growth include: improved distribution productivity, sub-advisory mandates for Investment Management capabilities on others' platforms; leveraging partnerships with financial intermediaries and consultants; long-term expansion of our international investment capabilities; opportunistic launching of capital markets products such as collateralized loan obligations ("CLOs") and Closed End Mutual Funds; and prudent expansion of our private equity business.

Products and Services

Investment Management delivers products and services that are manufactured by traditional and specialty investment platforms. The traditional platforms are fixed income, equities and MASS. The specialty investment platforms are senior bank loans and alternatives.


 
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Fixed Income. Investment Management’s fixed income platform manages assets for our general account, as well as for domestic and international institutional and retail investors. As of December 31, 2017, there were $127.6 billion in AUM on the fixed income platform, of which $82.0 billion were general account assets. Through the fixed income platform clients have access to money market funds, investment-grade corporate debt, government bonds, residential mortgage-backed securities ("RMBS"), commercial mortgage-backed securities ("CMBS"), asset-backed securities ("ABS"), high yield bonds, private and syndicated debt instruments, commercial mortgages and preferred securities. Each sector within the platform is managed by seasoned investment professionals supported by significant credit, quantitative and macro research and risk management capabilities.

Equities. The equities platform is a multi-cap and multi-style research-driven platform comprising both fundamental and quantitative equity strategies for institutional and retail investors. As of December 31, 2017, there were $61.5 billion in AUM on the equities platform covering both domestic and international markets including Real Estate. Our fundamental equity capabilities are bottom-up and research driven, and cover growth, value, and core strategies in the large, mid and small cap spaces. Our quantitative equity capabilities are used to create quantitative and enhanced indexed strategies, support other fundamental equity analysis, and create extension products.

MASS. Investment Management’s MASS platform offers a variety of investment products and strategies that combine multiple asset classes using asset allocation techniques. The objective of the MASS platform is to develop customized solutions that meet specific, and often unique, goals of investors and that dynamically change over time in response to changing markets and client needs. Utilizing core capabilities in asset allocation, manager selection, asset/liability modeling, risk management and financial engineering, the MASS team has developed a suite of target date and target risk funds that are distributed through our Retirement segment and to institutional and retail investors. These funds can incorporate multi-manager funds. The MASS team also provides pension risk management, strategic and tactical asset allocation, liability-driven investing solutions and investment strategies that hedge out specific market exposures (e.g., portable alpha) for clients.

Senior Bank Loans. Investment Management’s senior bank loan group is an experienced manager of below-investment grade floating-rate loans, actively managing diversified portfolios of loans made by major banks around the world to non-investment grade corporate borrowers. Senior in the capital structure, these loans have a first lien on the borrower’s assets, typically giving them stronger credit support than unsecured corporate bonds. The platform offers institutional, retail and structured products (e.g., CLOs), including on-shore and off-shore vehicles with assets of $24.6 billion as of December 31, 2017.

Alternatives. Investment Management’s primary alternatives platform is Pomona Capital. Pomona Capital specializes in investing in private equity funds in three ways: by purchasing secondary interests in existing partnerships; by investing in new partnerships; and by co-investing alongside buyout funds in individual companies. As of December 31, 2017, Pomona Capital managed assets totaling $8.6 billion across a suite of eight limited partnerships and the Pomona Investment Fund, a registered investment fund launched in May, 2015 that is available to accredited investors. In addition, Investment Management offers select alternative and hedge funds leveraging our core debt and equity investment capabilities.


 
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The following chart presents asset and net flow data as of December 31, 2017, broken out by Investment Management’s five investment platforms as well as by major client segment:

 
AUM
 
Net Flows
 
As of
 
Year Ended
 
December 31, 2017
 
December 31, 2017
 
$ in billions
 
$ in millions
Investment Platform
 
 
 
Fixed income
$
127.6

 
$
2,518

Equities
61.5

 
(4,724
)
Senior Bank Loans
24.6

 
1,923

Alternatives
10.6

 
674

Total
$
224.3

(1) 
$
391

MASS (1)
29.7

 
(1,183
)
 
 
 
 
Client Segment
 
 
 
Retail
$
69.8

 
$
(5,878
)
Institutional
72.5

 
5,413

General Account
82.0

(4) 
N/A

Mutual Funds Manager Re-assignments (2)
N/A

 
857

Total
$
224.3

 
$
391

Voya Financial affiliate sourced, excluding CBVA(3)
$
35.8

 
$
(120
)
CBVA (3)
20.7

 
(4,505
)
(1) 
$23.3 billion of MASS assets are included in the fixed income, equity and senior bank loan AUM figures presented above. The balance of MASS assets, $6.4 billion, is managed by third parties and we earn only a modest, market-rate fee on these assets.
(2)
Represents the re-assignment of mutual fund management contracts to Voya Investment Management from external managers. The AUM related to the re-assignments are included in the retail segment above.
(3)  
Assets sourced from Voya Financial, including CBVA, are also included in the retail and institutional markets segments above.
(4)  
Upon closing of the Transaction, our general account AUM will decline by approximately $28 billion, a portion of which will be offset by approximately $10 billion of additional third-party AUM associated with our management of the general account assets of Venerable. See "–Organizational History and Structure–CBVA and Annuity Transaction".

Markets and Distribution

We serve our institutional clients through a dedicated sales and service platform and for certain international regions, through selling agreements with a former affiliated party and for sponsored structured products through the arranger. We serve individual investors through an intermediary-focused distribution platform, consisting of business development and wholesale forces that partner with banks, broker-dealers and independent financial advisers, as well as our affiliate and third-party retirement platforms.

With the exception of Pomona Capital and structured products, the different products and strategies associated with our investment platforms are distributed and serviced by these Retail and Institutional client-focused segments as follows:

Retail client segment: Open- and closed-end funds through affiliate and third-party distribution platforms, including wirehouses, brokerage firms, and independent and regional broker-dealers. As of December 31, 2017, total AUM from these channels was $69.8 billion. Historically, AUM derived from our CBVA business has been included in the total AUM from this retail client segment.

Institutional client segment: Individual and pooled accounts, targeting defined benefit, defined contribution recordkeeping and retirement plans, Taft Hartley and endowments and foundations. As of December 31, 2017, Investment Management had approximately 319 institutional clients, representing $72.5 billion of AUM primarily in separately managed accounts and collective investment trusts.

Investment Management manages a variety of variable portfolio, mutual fund and stable value assets, sold through our Retirement, Individual Life and Employee Benefits segments, together with our Annuities business. As of December 31, 2017, total AUM

 
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from these channels and our CBVA business was $56.5 billion with the majority of the assets gathered through our Retirement segment.

As described above under "–Organizational History and Structure–CBVA and Annuity Transaction" as a result of the Transaction, Voya IM or its affiliated advisors will enter into one or more agreements to serve as the preferred asset management partner for Venerable for at least five years following the closing of the Transaction.

Competition

Investment Management competes with a wide array of asset managers and institutions in the highly fragmented U.S. investment management industry. In our key market segments, Investment Management competes on the basis of, among other things, investment performance, investment philosophy and process, product features and structure and client service. Our principal competitors include insurance-owned asset managers such as Principal Global Investors (Principal Financial Group), Prudential and Ameriprise, bank-owned asset managers such as J.P. Morgan Asset Management, as well as "pure-play" asset managers including PIMCO, Invesco, Wellington, Legg Mason, T. Rowe Price, Franklin Templeton, and Fidelity.

Individual Life

Our Individual Life segment has a broad independent distribution footprint and manufactures competitive products, with a focus on indexed universal life. We offer indexed, fixed, and variable universal life insurance products targeted to the middle market through the mass affluent markets. We continually evaluate changes to our product portfolio in light of market conditions and in recent years have suspended sales of our Term Life and Indexed Universal Life-Guaranteed Death Benefit ("IUL-GDB") products. Applications for these products were accepted through the end of 2016. These changes reflect our continued effort to focus on capital efficient products and drive greater value to our shareholders. As we announced in December 2017, we are currently conducting a strategic review of our Individual Life business.

As of September 30, 2017, we were the eighth largest writer of indexed universal life products in the United States based on premiums sold or written. Our strong market positions have allowed us to properly scale our business to achieve greater profitability. As of December 31, 2017, Individual Life’s in-force book comprised nearly 1 million policies and gross premiums and deposits of approximately $1.8 billion.

The Individual Life segment generates revenue on its products from premiums, investment income, expense load, mortality charges and other policy charges, along with some asset-based fees. Profits are driven by the spread between investment income earned and interest credited to policyholders, plus the difference between premiums and mortality charges collected and benefits and expenses paid. Our Individual Life segment generated Adjusted operating earnings before income taxes of $92 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.

We intend to achieve our earnings growth in our Individual Life segment by focusing on growing our earnings drivers. Our earnings drivers include growing our in-force block of business by adding new businesses that meet our profit and capital requirements, combined with effectively managing our in-force block to meet our profitability objectives. They also include focusing on improving our investment margins, growing our mortality profits and fully exploiting our technological capability in order to continue to reduce new business unit costs and underwriting expense. In addition, we will further our financial objectives by continuing to utilize reinsurance to actively manage our risk and capital profile with the goal of controlling exposure to losses, reducing volatility and protecting capital. We aim to maximize earnings and capital efficiency in part by relieving the reserve strain for certain of our term and universal life products by means of reinsurance arrangements and other financing transactions. We also look to transfer certain blocks of business through reinsurance in order to more effectively manage our capital. For example, in 2015 and 2014 we reinsured two in-force blocks comprising approximately 325,000 term life insurance policies, representing approximately $190.0 billion of life insurance in-force and backed by approximately $2.7 billion in statutory reserves, to a third-party reinsurer.

Products and Services

Our Individual Life segment currently offers products that include IUL, universal life ("UL"), and variable universal life ("VUL") insurance. These offerings are designed to address customer needs for death benefit protection, tax-advantaged wealth transfer and accumulation, premium financing, business planning, executive benefits and supplemental retirement income. We believe that our combination of product solutions is well-suited for the middle-market through the mass-affluent and makes us a full service provider to our independent distribution partners.


 
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IUL. For customers looking for an opportunity for a higher return in a low rate environment, we offer IUL products, which, along with death benefit protection, provide customers the opportunity for growth through potentially stronger surrender values than traditional UL products. These IUL products link to both fixed and indexed crediting strategies and offer protection from downside risk through a minimum interest guarantee, helping customers who seek solutions that would be advantageous for providing supplemental retirement income, payment of college costs or executive benefits. Indexed products are the fastest growing new product segment and are a major focus of our product and distribution effort as they are less capital intensive and provide attractive returns.

UL. Accumulation-focused universal life products feature the opportunity to build tax-deferred cash value that can be accessed by customers via loans and withdrawals for future needs. This money grows income tax-deferred, meaning no federal or state income taxes apply while it accumulates. The compounding tax-deferred interest can be an attractive feature to policyholders. These products help policyholders meet longer-range goals like college funding, supplemental retirement income and leaving a legacy for heirs. Other features include flexible premium payments that can change to meet policyholders’ evolving financial needs.

VUL. For customers seeking greater growth potential and more control over their investments, we offer an individual variable universal life insurance product designed to provide long-term cash accumulation potential with the ability to add optional riders that provide guarantees and more flexibility. We offer customers the ability to choose from individual variable investment options, which range from conservative to aggressive stock and bond investments managed by respected investment management firms in the industry or from diverse asset allocation solutions designed to match a customer’s risk tolerance.

The following chart presents data on our in-force face amount and total gross premiums and deposits received by product:

 
In-Force Face
 
Total gross premiums
($ in millions)
Amount
 
and deposits
 
As of
 
Year Ended
Individual Life Product
December 31, 2017
 
December 31, 2017
Term Life(1)
$
225,370

 
$
541

Indexed Universal Life
21,196

 
406

Other Universal Life
$
59,859

 
$
710

Variable Universal Life
$
21,695

 
$
150

(1) Term Life offerings were discontinued in late 2016.

Markets and Distribution

Our Individual Life segment distributes our product offerings primarily through a network of Aligned Distributors who are committed to promoting Voya products to independent agents and advisors. Aligned Distributors receive higher levels of service, and access to proprietary tools and training. Through this channel, we partner with approximately 100 Aligned Distributors with access to over 50,000 producers as of December 31, 2017. These producers utilize our brand and sell a wide range of our products, including life, annuity and mutual funds. We also support other independent general agents and marketing organizations who sell a broad portfolio of products from various carriers including Voya branded life, annuity and mutual fund offerings. Our distribution organization boasts a comprehensive sales support, sales technology, marketing support and illustration system. We offer service solutions to meet the diverse and changing requirements of our customers and distribution partners.

The following table presents a breakdown of Individual Life sales by distribution channel:

($ in millions)
Sales
 
% of Sales
Channel
Year Ended December 31, 2017
 
Year Ended December 31, 2017
Aligned Distribution Sales
$
74

 
90.7
%
Non-Aligned
$
7

 
8.3
%
Direct-Term Writers
$
1

 
1.0
%


 
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Competition

The Individual Life segment competes with large, well-established life insurance companies in a mature market, where price and service are key drivers. Primary competitors include Lincoln, Brighthouse Financial, National Life Group, North American Company, American General, John Hancock, Transamerica and Pacific Life. Individual Life primarily competes based on service and distribution channel relationships, price, brand recognition, financial strength ratings of our insurance subsidiaries and financial stability. We have strong capabilities to monitor competition and we utilize advanced models to benchmark our product offerings against others in the industry.

Factors that could influence our ability to competitively price products while achieving targeted returns include the cost and availability of statutory reserve financing required for certain term and universal life insurance policies, internal capital funding requirements and an extended low interest rate environment.

Underwriting and Pricing

We base premiums and policy charges for individual life insurance on expected death benefits, surrender benefits, expenses and required reserves. We use assumptions for mortality, interest, expenses, policy persistency and premium payment pattern in pricing policies. In addition, certain of our insurance products that include guaranteed returns or crediting rates underwrite equity market or interest rate risks. We seek to maintain a spread between the return on our general account invested assets and the interest we credit on our policyholder accounts. Our underwriting and risk management functions adhere to prescribed underwriting guidelines, while maintaining a competitive suite of products priced consistent with our mortality assessment. We generally manage mortality risks by enforcing strict underwriting standards and maintaining sufficient scale so that the incidence of risk occurrence is likely to match statistical modeling.

Reinsurance

In general, our reinsurance strategy is designed to limit our mortality risk and effectively manage capital. We partner with highly rated, well regarded reinsurers and set up pools to share our excess mortality risk.

As of January 1, 2013, for term business, we retain the first $3 million of risk and the excess risk is shared among a pool of reinsurers. For most of our universal life product portfolio, we retain the first $5 million of risk and reinsure 100% of the excess over $5 million among a pool of reinsurers. For policies sold to foreign nationals, we retain 20% of risk and the remaining 80% of risk is shared among a pool of reinsurers. Our maximum overall retained risk on any one life is $5 million. Prior to January 1, 2013, our retention limits for most of the universal life product portfolio and the maximum overall retained risk on any one life were higher than the current limits.

Currently, reinsurance for new business is on a monthly renewable term basis, which only transfers mortality risk and limits our counterparty risk exposure. See "Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Risk Management".

Employee Benefits

Our Employee Benefits segment provides group insurance products to mid-size and large corporate employers and professional associations. In addition, our Employee Benefits segment serves the voluntary worksite market by providing individual and payroll-deduction products to employees of our clients. Our Employee Benefits segment is among the largest writers of stop loss coverage in the United States, currently ranking eighth on a premium basis with approximately $969 million of in-force premiums. We also hold top 20 positions in the group life and voluntary benefits markets on a premium basis as of September 30, 2017. As of December 31, 2017, Employee Benefits total in-force premiums were $1.8 billion.

The Employee Benefits segment generates revenue from premiums, investment income, mortality and morbidity income and policy and other charges. Profits are driven by the spread between investment income and credited rates to policyholders on voluntary universal life and whole life products, along with the difference between premiums and mortality charges collected and benefits and expenses paid for group life, stop loss and voluntary health benefits. Our Employee Benefits segment generated Adjusted operating earnings before income taxes of $127 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.

The Employee Benefits segment offers attractive growth opportunities with much less capital strain. For example, we believe there are significant opportunities through expansion in the voluntary benefits market as employers shift benefits costs to their employees. We have a number of new products and initiatives that we believe will help us drive growth in this market. While expanding these lines, we also intend to continue to focus on profitability in our well established group life and stop loss product lines, by adding

 
22

 


profitable new business to our in-force block, improving our persistency by retaining more of our best performing groups, and managing our loss ratios to below 80%, particularly on stop loss policies.

Products and Services

Our Employee Benefits segment offers stop loss insurance, group life, voluntary benefits, and group disability products. These offerings are designed to meet the financial needs of both employers and employees by helping employers attract and retain employees and control costs, as well as provide ease of administration and valuable protection for employees.

Stop Loss. Our stop loss insurance provides coverage for mid-sized to large employers that self-insure their medical claims. These employers provide a health plan to their employees and generally pay all plan-related claims and administrative expenses. Our stop loss product helps these employers contain their health expenses by reimbursing specified claim amounts above certain deductibles and by reimbursing claims that exceed a specified limit. We offer this product via two types of protection—individual stop loss insurance and aggregate stop loss insurance. The primary difference between these two types is a varying deductible; both coverages are re-priced and renewable annually.

Group Life. Group life products span basic and supplemental term life insurance as well as accidental death and dismemberment for mid-sized to large employers. These products offer employees guaranteed issue coverage, convenient payroll deduction, affordable rates and conversion options.

Voluntary Benefits. Our voluntary benefits business involves the sale of universal life insurance, whole life insurance, critical illness, and accident insurance. This product lineup is mostly employee-paid through payroll deduction. New products have been introduced that focus on group-like structures that address the cost-shifting trend.

Group Disability. Group disability includes group long term disability, short term disability, telephonic short term disability, voluntary long term disability and voluntary short term disability products for mid-sized to large employers. This product offering is typically packaged for sale with group life products, especially in the middle-market.

The following chart presents the key employee benefits products we offer, along with data on annualized in-force premiums for each product:

($ in millions)
Annualized In-Force Premiums
Employee Benefits Products
Year Ended December 31, 2017
Stop Loss
$
969

Group Life
$
491

Voluntary Benefits
$
264

Group Disability
$
125


Markets and Distribution

Our Employee Benefits segment works primarily with national and regional benefits consultants, brokers, TPAs, enrollment firms and technology partners. Our tenured distribution organization provides local sales and account management support to offer customized solutions to mid-sized to large employers backed by a national accounts team. We offer innovative and flexible solutions to meet the varying and changing needs of our customers and distribution partners. We have many years of experience providing unique stop loss solutions and products for our customers. In addition, we are an experienced multi-line employee benefits insurance carrier (group life, disability, stop loss and elective benefits).

We primarily use three distribution channels to market and sell our employee benefits products. Our largest channel works through hundreds of brokers and consultant firms nationwide and markets our entire product portfolio. Our Voluntary sales team focuses on marketing elective benefits to complement an employer’s overall benefit package. In addition, we market stop-loss coverage to employer sponsors of self-funded employee health benefit plans. Voya Employee Benefits breadth of distribution gives us access to and the products to meet the needs of employers and their employees. When combined with distribution channels used by our Individual Life segment, we are able to provide complete access to our products through worksite-based sales.


 
23

 


The following chart presents our Employee Benefits distribution, by channel:

($ in millions)
Sales
 
% of Sales
Channel
Year Ended December 31, 2017
 
Year Ended December 31, 2017
Brokerage (Commissions Paid)
$
324

 
73.5
%
Benefits Consulting Firms (Fee Based Consulting)
$
108

 
24.5
%
Worksite Sales
$
9

 
2.0
%

Competition

The group insurance market is mature and, due to the large number of participants in this segment, price and service are key competitive drivers. Our principal competitors include MetLife, Prudential and Minnesota Life in group life, Tokio Marine HCC (formerly Houston Casualty), Symetra and Sun Life in Stop Loss, and Unum, Allstate and Transamerica in voluntary benefits.

For group life insurance products, rate guarantees have become the industry norm, with rate guarantee duration periods trending upward in general. Technology is also a competitive driver, as employers and employees expect technology solutions to streamline their administrative costs.

Underwriting and Pricing

Group insurance and disability pricing reflects the employer group’s claims experience and the risk characteristics of each employer group. The employer’s group claims experience is reviewed at time of policy issuance and periodically thereafter, resulting in ongoing pricing adjustments. The key pricing and underwriting criteria are morbidity and mortality assumptions, the employer group’s demographic composition, the industry, geographic location, regional and national economic trends, plan design and prior claims experience.

Stop loss insurance pricing reflects the risk characteristics and claims experience for each employer group. The product is annually renewable and the underwriting information is reviewed annually as a result. The key pricing and underwriting criteria are medical cost trends, morbidity assumptions, the employer group’s demographic composition, the industry, geographic location, plan design and prior claims experience. Pricing in the stop loss insurance market is generally cyclical.

Reinsurance

Our Employee Benefits reinsurance strategy seeks to limit our exposure to any one individual which will help limit and control risk. Group Life, which includes Accidental Death and Dismemberment, cedes the excess over $750,000 of each coverage to a reinsurer. Group Long Term Disability cedes substantially all of the risk including the claims servicing, to a TPA and reinsurer. As of January 1, 2018, Excess Stop Loss has a reinsurance program in place that limits our exposure on any one specific claim to $3 million, with aggregate stop loss reinsurance that limits our exposure to $3 million over the Policyholder's Aggregate Excess Retention. For policies issued in 2017, the limit on any one specific claim is $2.25 million. For policies issued in 2016, the limit on any one specific claim is $2 million. For both 2017 and 2016 circumstances, there is aggregate stop loss reinsurance that limits our exposure to $2 million over the Policyholders Aggregate Excess Retention. See "Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Risk Management". We also use an annually renewable reinsurance transaction which lowers required capital of the Employee Benefits segment.

CBVA and Annuities Businesses

As described under "–Organizational History and Structure–CBVA and Annuity Transaction", in December 2017, we entered into a transaction to dispose of substantially all of our CBVA and Fixed and Fixed Indexed Annuities businesses and related assets. Until this Transaction closes, we remain responsible for the ongoing management of these businesses.

Annuities

The Annuities business provides fixed and indexed annuities, investment-only products and payout annuities for pre-retirement wealth accumulation and postretirement income management, sold through multiple channels. Revenues are generated from fees and from margins based on the difference between income earned on the investments supporting the liability and interest credited

 
24

 


to customers. Following the closing of the Transaction, we will retain the investment-only products and certain other small blocks of Annuities business. We report the related results in continuing operations within Corporate.

We have historically sought to achieve our risk-adjusted return objectives in Annuities through a disciplined approach, with a focus on preserving margins in low interest rate environments. Our mutual fund custodial products business correlates with equity markets, but is not sensitive to interest rate conditions and, as such, is focused on growth. We seek to meet our risk management objectives by continuing to hedge market risks associated with the indexed crediting strategies selected by clients on our FIA contracts. See "Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Risk Management."

Products and Services

Our Annuities product offerings include immediate and deferred fixed annuities designed to address customer needs for tax-advantaged savings and retirement income and their wealth-protection concerns. New sales comprise primarily FIAs and tax-qualified mutual fund custodial accounts.

FIAs. FIAs are marketed principally based on underlying interest-crediting guarantee features coupled with the potential for increased returns based on the performance of market indices. For an FIA, the principal amount of the annuity is guaranteed to be no less than a minimum value based on non-forfeiture regulations that vary by state. Interest on FIAs is credited based on allocations selected by a customer in one or more of the strategies we offer and upon policy parameters that we set. The strategies include a fixed interest rate option, as well as several options based upon performance of various external financial market indices. Such indices may include equity indices, such as Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (the "S&P 500"), an interest rate benchmark, such as the change in London Interbank Offered Rates ("LIBOR"), or a volatility-controlled strategy such as the Citi Dynamic Asset Selector Index. The parameters (such as "caps," "participation rates," and "spreads") are periodically declared by us for both initial and following periods. Our existing FIAs contain death benefits as required by non-forfeiture regulations. Some FIAs contain guaranteed withdrawal benefit features at an additional cost. These living benefits guarantee a minimum annual withdrawal amount for life. The amount of the guaranteed annual withdrawal may vary by age at first withdrawal.

Annual Reset and Multi-Year Guarantee Annuities ("MYGAs"). Our in-force block includes Annual Reset and MYGA products, which provide guaranteed minimum rates of up to 4.5% and with crediting rate terms from one year to 10 years. These products are in run-off.

Although not currently a significant portion of new sales, we also offer other fixed annuities with a guaranteed interest rate or a periodic annuity payment schedule suitable for clients seeking a stable return.

Investment-Only Products. Our Annuities business offers tax-qualified mutual fund custodial products, which provide flexible investment options across mutual fund families on a no-load basis. We will retain this business following the closing of the Transaction. We charge a recordkeeping fee based on the amount of assets invested in the account, and we are paid asset-based fees by the managers of the mutual funds within the account. These products are designed to be streamlined, simple rollover solutions providing continued tax deferrals on retirement assets. No minimum guarantees are offered for these products.

Although not currently a significant portion of new sales, we also offer an investment-only non-qualified complement, which provides flexible investment options across mutual fund families on a no-load basis. Similar to our mutual fund custodial product, we charge a recordkeeping fee based on the amount of assets invested in the account, and we are paid asset-based fees by the managers of the mutual funds within the account. No minimum guarantees are offered for this product.

The following chart presents the key in-force annuity and investment-only products within Annuities, along with data on AUM for each product, excluding payout annuities:

($ in billions)
 AUM
Annuity Product
As of December 31, 2017
Fixed Indexed Annuities (FIA)
$
14.9

Multi-Year Guarantee Annuities (MYGA) & other Fixed Annuities
$
4.7

Investment-Only Products(1)
$
6.2

(1) 
Includes Separate account and mutual funds. We will retain this business following the closing of the Transaction.


 
25

 


Markets and Distribution

Our target markets for annuities include individual retirees and pre-retirees seeking to accumulate or receive distributions of assets for retirement. Annuity products are primarily distributed by independent broker-dealers, independent insurance agents / independent marketing organizations, affiliated broker-dealers, and banks.

The Transaction has had a significant effect on our Annuities distribution. Distributors have, in some cases, elected to suspend, alter or reduce their distribution relationships with us due to the Transaction, including as a result of potential adverse rating agency actions with respect to VIAC or concerns about market-related risks.

Our investment-only products are distributed nationally, primarily through relationships with independent brokers, financial planners and agents. New sales are obtained from either a "rollover" from an existing retirement account, a 1035-exchange or funded through non-qualified after-tax dollars.

Competition

Our Annuities business faces competition from banks, mutual fund companies and traditional insurance carriers such as AIG, Allianz, Athene, Lincoln and Great American. Principal competitive factors for fixed annuities are initial crediting rates, reputation for renewal crediting action, product features, brand recognition, customer service, cost, distribution capabilities and financial strength ratings of the provider. Competition may affect, among other matters, both business growth and the pricing of our products and services.

Investment-only products compete with brokerage accounts and other financial service and asset allocation offerings.

Underwriting and Pricing

We generally do not underwrite individual lives in Annuities. Instead, we price our products based upon our expected investment returns and our expectations for mortality, longevity and persistency for the group of our contract holders as a whole, taking into account our historical experience. We price annuities by analyzing longevity and persistency risk, volatility of expected earnings on our AUM and the expected time to retirement. Our product pricing models also take into account capital requirements, hedging costs and operating expenses.

Our investment-only products are fee-based recordkeeping products for which the recordkeeping fees, combined with estimated mutual fund revenue sharing, are priced to cover acquisition and operating costs over the life of the account. These investment-only products do not generate investment margins, do not expose us to significant mortality risk and no hedging is required.

Closed Block Variable Annuity

In 2009, we separated our CBVA business from our other operations, placing it in run-off, and made a strategic decision to stop actively writing new retail variable annuity products with substantial guarantee features (the last policies were issued in 2010 and the block shifted to run-off). Accordingly, the CBVA business has been classified as a closed block and is managed separately from our other businesses.

Our CBVA business consists of retail variable annuity insurance policies with substantial guarantee features sold primarily from 2001 to early 2010, when the block entered run-off. These policies are long-term savings vehicles in which customers (policyholders) made deposits that are primarily maintained in separate accounts established by the Company and registered with the SEC as unit investment trusts. The deposits were invested, largely at the customer’s direction, in a variety of U.S. and international equity, fixed income, real estate and other investment options.

Many of these policies include living benefit riders, including guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefits for life ("GMWBL"), guaranteed minimum income benefits ("GMIB"), guaranteed minimum accumulation benefits ("GMAB") and guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefits ("GMWB"). All deferred variable annuity contracts included guaranteed minimum death benefits ("GMDB").

The financial crisis of 2008-09 resulted in substantial market volatility, low interest rates and depressed equity market levels. Our variable annuity profitability declined markedly in 2009 and 2010 under these adverse market conditions, as customer account values fell below guaranteed levels and therefore our liabilities with respect to the underlying guarantees increased. Moreover, significant reduction in earnings from reduced mutual fund fees and increased hedging costs exacerbated the decline in profitability.


 
26

 


Following the financial crisis, we made a strategic decision to stop actively writing new retail variable annuity products with substantial guarantee features. The products were fully closed to new sales in early 2010 and the management of the block shifted to run-off. Since that time, we have strengthened our balance sheet, and refined our hedge program to dynamically protect regulatory and rating agency capital from market changes in equity, interest rate, volatility, credit spreads and foreign exchange rates. U.S. GAAP accounting differs from the methods used to determine regulatory and rating agency capital measures. Therefore our hedge programs may create material earnings volatility for U.S. GAAP financial statements.

Our risk management program is focused on balancing key factors including regulatory reserves, rating agency capital, risk-based capital ("RBC"), liquidity, earnings, and economic value. There is significant operational scale (approximately 269,000 variable policy holders and $30.8 billion in AUM in our CBVA business, excluding contracts in payout status, as of December 31, 2017) which ensures ongoing hedging, financial reporting and information technology maintenance expense efficiencies.

Our risk management program seeks to mitigate market risk exposures on our regulatory and rating agency capital. Our primary measure of our rating agency capital is based on a CTE, which is a statistical tail risk measure used to assess the adequacy of assets supporting variable annuity contract liabilities. Our goal is to support CBVA with assets at least equal to a "CTE95" standard under the S&P model, which is an aggregate measure across all of our subsidiaries that have written or provided captive reinsurance for deferred variable annuity contracts. In general, the requirements for the S&P model follow the Risk Based Capital C-3 Phase II guidelines, as stipulated by the NAIC. The calculated amount of assets required to meet the CTE95 standard under this model is substantially determined by the outcome of 1,000 stochastic capital market scenarios that we run for modeling purposes. Although the NAIC does not specify the scenarios, the 1,000 scenarios we select must comply with guidelines promulgated by the NAIC. Under the CTE95 measure, the calculated required assets must be at least equal to the average amount of assets needed to satisfy policyholder obligations in the worst 5% of these 1,000 scenarios.

The block continues to generate revenue from asset-based fees. On a U.S. GAAP basis, we continue to amortize capitalized acquisition costs over estimated gross revenues and we incur operating costs and benefit expenses in support of the business.

Our focus in managing CBVA continues to be on protecting regulatory and rating agency capital, and our hedging program is primarily designed to mitigate the impacts of market movements on capital resources, rather than mitigating earnings volatility. We have in recent years taken steps to accelerate the run-off of the block, such as through enhanced income offers under which policyholders of eligible GMIB policies could elect early annuitization. In 2017, we completed two enhanced surrender value offers to eligible GMIB policyholders, which provided an enhancement to contract surrender value for policyholders who opted to surrender their contracts. Because of our entry into the Transaction, we do not currently plan to make additional enhanced income or enhanced surrender offers.

Nature of Liabilities

Substantially all of our CBVA products were issued by one of our operating subsidiaries, VIAC, which we are selling to VA Capital in the Transaction. See "–Organizational History and Structure–CBVA and Annuity Transaction".

Each of our CBVA deferred variable annuity products include some combination of the following features which the customer elected when purchasing the product:

Guaranteed Minimum Death Benefits (GMDB)

Standard. Guarantees that, upon the death of the individual specified in the policy, the death benefit will be no less than the premiums paid by the customer, adjusted for withdrawals.

Ratchet. Guarantees that, upon the death of the individual specified in the policy, the death benefit will be no less than the greater of (1) Standard or (2) the maximum policy anniversary (or quarterly) value of the variable annuity, adjusted for withdrawals.

Rollup. Guarantees that, upon the death of the individual specified in the policy, the death benefit will be no less than the aggregate premiums paid by the contract owner, with interest at the contractual rate per annum, adjusted for withdrawals. The Rollup may be subject to a maximum cap on the total benefit.

Combo. Guarantees that, upon the death of the individual specified in the policy, the death benefit will be no less than the greater of (1) Ratchet or (2) Rollup.


 
27

 


Guaranteed Minimum Living Benefits

Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefit (GMIB). Guarantees a minimum income payout, exercisable only on a contract anniversary on or after a specified date, in most cases 10 years after purchase of the GMIB rider. The income payout is determined based on contractually established annuity factors multiplied by the benefit base. The benefit base equals the premium paid at the time of product issue and may increase over time based on a number of factors, including a rollup percentage (mainly 7% or 6% depending on the version of the benefit) and ratchet frequency subject to maximum caps which vary by product version (200%, 250% or 300% of initial premium).

Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit and Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit for Life (GMWB/GMWBL). Guarantees an annual withdrawal amount for a specified period of time (GMWB) or life (GMWBL) that is calculated as a percentage of the benefit base that equals premium paid at the time of product issue and may increase over time based on a number of factors, including a rollup percentage (mainly 7%, 6% or 0%, depending on versions of the benefit) and ratchet frequency (primarily annually or quarterly, depending on versions). The rollup ceases 10 years after purchase of the rider, or in the year when withdrawals occur. The percentage used to determine the guaranteed annual withdrawal amount may vary by age at first withdrawal and depends on versions of the benefit. A joint life-time withdrawal benefit option was available to include coverage for spouses. Most versions of the withdrawal benefit included reset and/or step-up features that may increase the guaranteed withdrawal amount in certain conditions. Earlier versions of the withdrawal benefit guarantee that annual withdrawals of up to 7% of eligible premiums may be made until eligible premiums previously paid by the contract owner are returned, regardless of account value performance. Asset allocation requirements apply at all times where withdrawals are guaranteed for life.

Guaranteed Minimum Accumulation Benefit (GMAB). Guarantees that the account value will be at least 100% of the eligible premiums paid by the customer after 10 years, adjusted for withdrawals. We offered an alternative design that guaranteed the account value to be at least 200% of the eligible premiums paid by contract owners after 20 years.

Reserves for Future Policy Benefits

We establish and carry actuarially-determined reserves that are calculated to meet our future obligations. The principal assumptions used to establish liabilities for future policy benefits are based on our experience and periodically reviewed against industry standards. These assumptions include mortality, policy lapse, investment returns, inflation, benefit utilization and expenses. Changes in, or deviations from, the assumptions used can significantly affect our reserve levels and related future operations.

The determination of future policy benefit reserves is dependent on actuarial assumptions set by us in determining policyholder behavior, as described above.

Reserves for variable annuity GMDB and GMIB are determined by estimating the value of expected benefits in excess of the projected account balance and recognizing the excess ratably over the accumulation period based on total expected assessments. Expected assessments are based on a range of scenarios. The reserve for the GMIB guarantee incorporates an assumption for the percentage of the contracts that will annuitize. In general, we assume that GMIB annuitization rates will be higher for policies with more valuable (more "in the money") guarantees. We periodically evaluate estimates used and adjust the additional liability balance, with a related charge or credit to benefit expense, if actual experience or other evidence suggests that earlier assumptions should be revised. Changes in reserves for GMDB and GMIB are reported in Policyholder benefits.

Variable annuity GMAB, GMWB, and GMWBL are considered embedded derivatives, which are measured at estimated fair value separately from the host annuity contract and recorded in Future policy benefits. Changes in estimated fair value that are not related to attributed fees or premiums collected or payments made are reported in Other net realized capital gains (losses).

At inception of the GMAB, GMWB, and GMWBL contracts, we project fees to be attributed to the embedded derivative portion of the guarantee equal to the present value of projected future guaranteed benefits. Any excess or deficient fee is attributed to the host contract and reported in Fee income.

The estimated fair value of the GMAB, GMWB, and GMWBL contracts is determined based on the present value of projected future guaranteed benefits, minus the present value of projected attributed fees. A risk neutral valuation methodology is used under which the cash flows from the guarantees are projected under multiple capital market scenarios using observable risk free rates.

 
28

 


The projection of future guaranteed benefits and future attributed fees require the use of assumptions for capital markets (e.g., implied volatilities, correlation among indices, risk-free swap curve, etc.) and policyholder behavior (e.g., lapse, benefit utilization, mortality, etc.). The projection also includes adjustments for nonperformance risk and margins for non-capital market risks, or policyholder behavior assumptions. Risk margins are established to capture uncertainties related to policyholder behavior assumptions. The margin represents additional compensation a market participant would require in order to assume these risks.

The table below presents the policy count and account value by type of deferred variable annuity benefits:

($ in millions, unless otherwise specified)
As of December 31, 2017
 
Policy Count
 
Account Value(1)
 
 
 
$
 
%
Guaranteed Death Benefits:
268,892

 
30,772

 
 
Standard
114,846

 
13,846

 
44
%
Ratchet
62,510

 
5,720

 
19
%
Rollup
19,077

 
1,704

 
6
%
Combo
72,459

 
9,502

 
31
%
Guaranteed Living Benefits:
268,892

 
$
30,772

 
 
GMIB
71,075

 
7,541

 
25
%
GMAB/GMWB/GMWBL
100,239

 
14,437

 
46
%
No Living Benefit
97,578

 
8,794

 
29
%
(1) Account value excludes $5.3 billion of Payout, Policy Loan and life insurance business which is included in consolidated account values.

Capital Management Considerations

The focus of the management of CBVA is on regulatory reserve and capital requirements. As of December 31, 2017, we held an estimated $3.0 billion of assets available to support the guarantees in the variable annuity block, including assets backing regulatory reserves of $2.5 billion.

Both market movements and changes in actuarial assumptions (including policyholder behavior and mortality) can result in significant changes to the regulatory reserve and rating agency capital requirements of our CBVA business. The section below on "Variable Annuity Hedge Program and Reinsurance" describes the Variable Annuity Hedge program, which is designed to mitigate the effect of adverse market movements on our regulatory capital and rating agency capital positions. Additionally, the section on "CBVA Risks and Risk Management" discusses the risk of adverse developments in policyholder behavior and its potential impact on the regulatory reserves and rating agency capital position.

Variable Annuity Hedge Program and Reinsurance

Variable Annuity Hedge Program. We primarily mitigate CBVA market risk exposures through a hedging program referred to as our "Variable Annuity Hedge Program". Market risk arises primarily from the minimum guarantees within the CBVA products, whose economic costs are primarily dependent on future equity market returns, interest rate levels, equity volatility levels and policyholder behavior. The objective of the Variable Annuity Hedge Program is to protect regulatory and rating agency capital from immediate market movements. The hedge program is executed through the purchase and sale of various instruments (described below), and is designed to limit the reserve and rating agency capital increases and certain rebalancing costs resulting from an immediate change in equity markets, interest rates, volatility, credit spread and foreign exchange rates to an amount we believe prudent for a company of our size and scale. The hedge targets may change over time with market movements, changes in regulatory and rating agency capital, available collateral and our risk tolerance. While the Variable Annuity Hedge Program does not explicitly hedge statutory or U.S. GAAP reserves, as markets move up or down, in aggregate the returns generated by the Variable Annuity Hedge Program will significantly offset the statutory and U.S. GAAP reserve changes due to market movements.

The types of instruments employed in the execution of our Variable Annuity Hedge Program to mitigate market impacts on policyholder-directed investments are as follows:

Equity index futures, options and total return swaps are used to mitigate the risk of equity market changes.


 
29

 


Interest rate swaps and options are used to mitigate the risk of changes in interest rates.

Credit default swaps and total return swaps are used to mitigate the risk of credit spread changes.

Variance swaps and equity options are used to mitigate the risk of changes in volatility.

Hedging instruments

The following table presents notional and fair value for hedging instruments:

($ in millions)
Notional Amount
 
Fair Value
 
As of December 31, 2017
 
As of December 31, 2016
 
As of December 31, 2015
 
As of December 31, 2017
 
As of December 31, 2016
 
As of December 31, 2015
Variable Annuity Hedge Program
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Equity Futures(1)
$
6,619

 
$
6,632

 
$
6,461

 
$
18

 
$
22

 
$
58

Equity Total Return Swaps
2,278

 
2,257

 
2,582

 
(16
)
 
(9
)
 
(1
)
Equity Options(2)(3)
4,981

 
6,194

 
4,978

 
30

 
75

 
88

Variance Swaps
3

 
2

 

 
(9
)
 
(1
)
 

Credit Based Instruments
2,656

 
2,533

 
1,550

 
(5
)
 
(7
)
 
(7
)
Currency Forwards (2)

 
1,031

 
794

 

 
16

 
13

Interest Rate Swaps(2)(4)
16,700

 
12,481

 
14,022

 
386

 
368

 
394

Interest Rate Options (2)

 
12,220

 

 

 
28

 

Total
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
404

 
$
492

 
$
545

(1) Fair Value equals last day’s cash settlement.
(2) Offsetting contracts have not been netted, therefore total notional of all outstanding contracts is shown.
(3) Notional amounts include options used to manage volatility of $713 million, $759 million and $1,955 million as of December 31, 2017, 2016, and 2015, respectively.
(4) Notional shown is a combination of pay-fix and pay-float contracts.

Reinsurance. For contracts issued prior to January 1, 2000, most contracts with enhanced death benefit guarantees were reinsured to third-party reinsurers to mitigate the risk produced by such guaranteed death benefits. For contracts issued on or after January 1, 2000, the Company instituted a hedge program in lieu of reinsurance. We utilized indemnity reinsurance agreements prior to January 1, 2000 to reduce our exposure to large losses from GMDBs in CBVA. Reinsurance permits recovery of a portion of losses from reinsurers, although it does not discharge our primary liability as direct insurer of the risks. We evaluate the financial strength of potential reinsurers and continually monitor the financial strength and credit ratings of our reinsurers.

CBVA Risks and Risk Management

The amounts ultimately due to policyholders under GMDB and guaranteed minimum living benefits, and the reserves required to support these liabilities, are driven by a variety of factors, including equity market performance, interest rate conditions, policyholder behavior, including exercise of various contract options, and policyholder mortality. We will continue to bear these risks until the closing of the Transaction, or indefinitely, if the Transaction fails to close. We actively monitor each of these factors and implement a variety of risk management and financial management techniques to optimize the value of the block. Such techniques include hedging, use of affiliate reinsurance, external reinsurance, and experience studies. For more information on the reinsurance arrangements, see the Reinsurance Note in our Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8. in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Market Risk Related to Equity Market Price and Interest Rates. Our variable products are significantly influenced by global equity markets. Increases or decreases in equity markets impact certain assets and liabilities related to our variable annuity products and our earnings derived from those products. A decrease in the equity markets may cause a decrease in the account values, thereby increasing the possibility that we may be required to pay amounts to contract owners due to guaranteed death and living benefits. An increase in the value of the equity markets may increase account values for these contracts, thereby decreasing our risk associated with guaranteed death and living benefits.


 
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Our CBVA business is also subject to interest rate risk, as a sustained decline in interest rates or a prolonged period of low interest rates may subject us to higher cost of guaranteed benefits and increased hedging costs.

In addition, in scenarios of equity market declines, sustained periods of low interest rates or credit spread widening, the amount of additional statutory reserves that an insurance subsidiary is required to hold for variable annuity guarantees may increase. This increase in reserves would decrease the statutory surplus available for use in calculating its RBC ratios. In addition, collateral posting requirements for the hedge program could also pressure liquidity.

Periods of significant and sustained downturns in equity markets, increased equity volatility, reduced interest rates or a prolonged period of low interest rates could result in an increase in the valuation of the future policy benefit or account balance liabilities associated with such products, resulting in a reduction to net income (loss). Although our guaranteed benefits are reinsured or covered under our Variable Annuity Hedge Program, we are exposed to the risk of increased costs and/or liabilities for benefits guaranteed in excess of account values during periods of adverse economic market conditions. Our risk management program is constantly re-evaluated to respond to changing market conditions and achieve the optimal balance and trade-offs among several important factors, including regulatory reserves, rating agency capital, RBC, earnings and other factors. A certain portion of these strategies could focus our emphasis on the protection of regulatory and rating agency capital, RBC, liquidity, and other factors and less on the earnings impact of guarantees, resulting in materially lower or more volatile U.S. GAAP earnings in periods of changing market levels. While we believe that our risk management program is effective in balancing numerous critical metrics, we are subject to the risk that our strategies and other management procedures prove ineffective or that unexpected policyholder experience, combined with unfavorable market events, produces losses beyond the scope of the risk management strategies employed, which may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. We are also subject to the risk that the cost of hedging these guaranteed minimum benefits increases as volatilities increase and/or interest rates decrease, resulting in adverse impact to net income (loss).

Risk Related to Hedging. Our risk management program attempts to balance a number of important factors including regulatory reserves, rating agency capital, RBC, underlying economics, earnings and other factors. As discussed above, to reduce the risk associated with guaranteed living benefits, non-reinsured GMDB and fees related to these benefits, we enter derivative contracts on various public market indices chosen to closely replicate contract owner variable fund returns.

The Company’s risk management program is constantly re-evaluated to respond to changing market conditions and manage trade-offs among capital preservation, earnings and underlying economics.

Hedging instruments we use to manage risks might not perform as intended or expected, which could result in higher realized losses and unanticipated cash needs to collateralize or settle such transactions. Adverse market conditions can limit the availability and increase the costs of hedging instruments, and such costs may not be recovered in the pricing of the underlying products being hedged. In addition, hedging counterparties may fail to perform their obligations resulting in unhedged exposures and losses on positions that are not collateralized.

Risk Related to Policyholder Behavior Assumptions. Our CBVA business is subject to risks associated with the future behavior of policyholders and future claims payment patterns, using assumptions for mortality experience, lapse rates, GMIB annuitization rates and GMWBL withdrawal rates. We are required to make assumptions about these behaviors and patterns, which may not reflect the actual behaviors and patterns we experience in the future. It is possible that future assumption changes could produce reserve changes that could be material. Any such increase to reserves could require us to make material additional capital contributions to one or more of our insurance company subsidiaries or could otherwise be material and adverse to the results of operations or financial condition of the Company.

Other Risks. Despite the closure of new product sales, some new policy amounts continue to be deposited as additional premium to existing contracts. Benefit designs do limit the attractiveness of additional premium, but in some cases these additional premiums may increase the guarantee available to the policyholder. The volume of additional premiums has diminished since we ceased new product sales in 2010.

Risks Related to the Transaction. While the Transaction is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2018, various factors could cause the closing to be delayed or to not occur at all. The strategic realignment and restructuring actions we are undertaking may not proceed as planned and could lead to disruptions in our business. Further, we may not achieve certain of the benefits that we expect from the Transaction.

In 2014 we entered into an agreement to outsource the actuarial valuation, modeling and hedging functions of our CBVA business to Milliman, Inc. ("Milliman"). Under this agreement, Milliman performs the calculation of financial reporting and risk metrics,

 
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along with the analytics used to determine hedge positions. We will continue to oversee and manage the CBVA business and retain full accountability for assumptions and methodologies, as well as the setting of the hedge objectives and the execution of hedge positions. This agreement allows us to create a more variable cost structure for the CBVA business.

For additional information, see "Part I. Item 1A. Risk Factors-Risks Related to our CBVA Business."

Employees

As of December 31, 2017, we had approximately 6,300 employees, with most working in one of our ten major sites in nine states.

REGULATION

Our operations and businesses are subject to a significant number of Federal and state laws, regulations, administrative determinations and similar legal constraints. Such laws and regulations are generally designed to protect our policyholders, contract owners and other customers and not our stockholders or holders of our other securities. Many of the laws and regulations to which we are subject are regularly re-examined and existing or future laws and regulations may become more restrictive or otherwise adversely affect our operations. Following is a description of certain legal and regulatory frameworks to which we or our subsidiaries are or may be subject.

We are a holding company for all of our business operations, which we conduct through our subsidiaries. We, as an insurance holding company, are not licensed as an insurer, investment advisor, broker-dealer, or other regulated entity. However, because we own regulated insurers, we are subject to regulation as an insurance holding company.

Insurance Regulation

Our insurance subsidiaries are subject to comprehensive regulation and supervision under U.S. state and federal laws. Each U.S. state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories and possessions have insurance laws that apply to companies licensed to carry on an insurance business in the jurisdiction. The primary regulator of an insurance company, however, is located in its state of domicile. Each of our insurance subsidiaries is licensed and regulated in each state where it conducts insurance business.

State insurance regulators have broad administrative powers with respect to all aspects of the insurance business including: licensing to transact business, licensing agents, admittance of assets to statutory surplus, regulating premium rates for certain insurance products, approving policy forms, regulating unfair trade and claims practices, establishing reserve requirements and solvency standards, establishing credit for reinsurance requirements, fixing maximum interest rates on life insurance policy loans and minimum accumulation or surrender values and other matters. State insurance laws and regulations include numerous provisions governing the marketplace conduct of insurers, including provisions governing the form and content of disclosures to consumers, product illustrations, advertising, product replacement, suitability, sales and underwriting practices, complaint handling and claims handling. State regulators enforce these provisions through periodic market conduct examinations. State insurance laws and regulations regulating affiliate transactions, the payment of dividends and change of control transactions are discussed in greater detail below.

Our four principal insurance subsidiaries (SLD, VRIAC, VIAC and RLI, and collectively, the "Principal Insurance Subsidiaries") are domiciled in Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa and Minnesota, respectively. Our other U.S. insurance subsidiaries are domiciled in Indiana and New York. Our insurance subsidiaries domiciled in Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and New York are collectively referred to as "our insurance subsidiaries" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for purposes of discussions of U.S. insurance regulatory matters. In addition, we have special purpose life reinsurance captive insurance company subsidiaries domiciled in Missouri that provide reinsurance to our insurance subsidiaries in order to facilitate the financing of statutory reserve requirements associated with the NAIC Model Regulation entitled "Valuation of Life Insurance Policies" (commonly known as "Regulation XXX" or "XXX"), or NAIC Actuarial Guideline 38 (commonly known as "AG38" or "AXXX"), and to fund statutory Stable Value reserves in excess of the economic reserve level. Our special purpose life reinsurance captive insurance company subsidiaries domiciled in Missouri are collectively referred to as "captive reinsurance subsidiaries" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. For more information on our use of captive reinsurance structures, see "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Credit Facilities and Subsidiary Credit Support Arrangements". We also have captive reinsurance subsidiaries domiciled in Arizona that primarily provide reinsurance to our insurance subsidiaries. Our captive reinsurance subsidiaries domiciled in Arizona are referred to as "our Arizona captives" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.


 
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State insurance laws and regulations require our insurance subsidiaries to file financial statements with state insurance regulators everywhere they are licensed and the operations of our insurance subsidiaries and accounts are subject to examination by those regulators at any time. Our insurance subsidiaries prepare statutory financial statements in accordance with accounting practices and procedures prescribed or permitted by these regulators. The NAIC has approved a series of uniform statutory accounting principles ("SAP") that have been adopted, in some cases with minor modifications, by all state insurance regulators.

As a basis of accounting, SAP was developed to monitor and regulate the solvency of insurance companies. In developing SAP, insurance regulators were primarily concerned with assuring an insurer’s ability to pay all its current and future obligations to policyholders. As a result, statutory accounting focuses on conservatively valuing the assets and liabilities of insurers, generally in accordance with standards specified by the insurer’s domiciliary state. The values for assets, liabilities and equity reflected in financial statements prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP are usually different from those reflected in financial statements prepared under SAP.

The insurance laws and regulations of the State of Missouri, which govern our captive reinsurance subsidiaries, require such entities to file financial statements with the Missouri Insurance Department, including statutory financial statements. The insurance laws and regulations of the State of Arizona, which govern our Arizona captives, require those entities to file financial statements with the Arizona Department of Insurance ("ADOI") and permit the filing of such financial statements on either a statutory basis or a U.S. GAAP basis. The ADOI has agreed to permit our Arizona captives to prepare their financial statements on a U.S. GAAP basis, modified for certain prescribed practices outlined in the Arizona insurance statutes. In addition, our Arizona captives obtained approval from the ADOI for certain permitted practices, including, for SLDI, taking reinsurance credit for certain ceded reserves where the trust assets backing the liabilities are held by one of our wholly owned insurance companies. SLDI has recorded a receivable for these assets held in trust by its affiliate. Additionally, RRII obtained approval from the ADOI to present the U.S. GAAP deferred liability resulting from its assumption of business from a Principal Insurance Subsidiary net of related federal income taxes, as a separate component of shareholder's equity.

State insurance regulators conduct periodic financial examinations of the books, records, accounts and business practices of insurers domiciled in their states, generally every three to five years. Financial examinations are generally carried out in cooperation with the insurance regulators of other states under guidelines promulgated by the NAIC. State and federal insurance and securities regulatory authorities and other state law enforcement agencies and attorneys general also from time to time make inquiries and conduct examinations or investigations regarding the compliance by our company, as well as other companies in our industry, with, among other things, insurance laws and securities laws.

Our captive reinsurance subsidiaries and our Arizona captives are subject to periodic financial examinations by their respective domiciliary state insurance regulators.

Captive Reinsurer Regulation

State insurance regulators, the NAIC and other regulatory bodies are also investigating the use of affiliated captive reinsurers and offshore entities to reinsure insurance risks, and the NAIC has made recent advances in captives reform.

In 2014, the NAIC considered a proposal to require states to apply NAIC accreditation standards, applicable to traditional insurers, to captive reinsurers. In 2015, the NAIC adopted such a proposal, in the form of a revised preamble to the NAIC accreditation standards (the "Standard"), with an effective date of January 1, 2016 for application of the Standard to captives that assume XXX or AXXX business. Under the Standard, a state will be deemed in compliance as it relates to XXX or AXXX captives if the applicable reinsurance transaction satisfies the NAIC's Actuarial Guideline 48 ("AG48"), which limits the type of assets that may be used as collateral to cover the XXX and AG38 statutory reserves. In addition, the Standard applies prospectively, so that XXX or AXXX captives will not be subject to the Standard if reinsured policies were issued prior to January 1, 2015 and ceded so that they were part of a reinsurance arrangement as of December 31, 2014. The NAIC left for future action application of the Standard to captives that assume variable annuity business. As drafted, it appears that the Standard would apply to our Arizona captives.

At various times in the past several years, the NAIC has indicated that it might pursue changes to the current reserve and capital framework that applies to insurers, including several of our Insurance Subsidiaries, who write or reinsure variable annuity ("VA") policies. Since 2015, the NAIC’s Variable Annuity Issues Working Group ("VAIWG") has been considering general proposals for VA reserve and capital reform that would create more uniformity in VA reserving practices and reduce incentives for the use of captive reinsurance arrangements for VA business. These proposals, if adopted, could change the reserves and capital we are required to hold with respect to VA business, particularly in our CBVA business.


 
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During 2016, VAIWG engaged Oliver Wyman ("OW") to conduct an initial quantitative impact ("QIS1") study involving industry participants, including Voya Financial, of possible revisions to the current VA reserve and capital framework. In late 2016, OW provided the VAIWG a QIS1 report that included preliminary findings and recommended a second quantitative impact study be conducted so that testing can inform the proper calibration for certain conceptual and/or preliminary parameters set out in the QIS1 report. The second quantitative impact study ("QIS2") began in February 2017 and OW provided the VAIWG a QIS 2 report in late 2017. The NAIC deliberations on QIS2 results and proposed VA reserve and capital reforms began during the fourth quarter of 2017. It is unlikely that any changes adopted by the NAIC would be effective prior to 2019, although timing remains uncertain. The outcome of QIS2, and the parameters of any VA reserve and capital reform to be proposed by OW or adopted by the VAIWG, is uncertain at this time. Certain proposals under consideration as part of QIS2, if adopted as a component of any final VA reserve and capital reform, could negatively impact VA reserve and capital calculations for our CBVA business and potentially result in increased collateral requirements at RRII, our Arizona captive that reinsures CBVA living benefit guarantees. It is possible that any negative impacts to statutory reserves or rating agency capital requirements as a result of VA reserve and capital reform could be material to our capital position. If we are required to increase reserves or collateral, we believe it is likely that such increases would be subject to a multiyear grade-in period. At the present time, we cannot predict what, if any, of these proposals may become part of any VA framework reform proposal or what impact any final VAIWG VA framework reform would have on our CBVA reserves, capital or captive collateralization requirements. See "Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Regulation—Our insurance businesses are heavily regulated, and changes in regulation in the United States, enforcement actions and regulatory investigations may reduce profitability".

Insurance Holding Company Regulation

Voya Financial, Inc. and our insurance subsidiaries are subject to the insurance holding companies laws of the states in which such insurance subsidiaries are domiciled. These laws generally require each insurance company directly or indirectly owned by the holding company to register with the insurance regulator in the insurance company’s state of domicile and to furnish annually financial and other information about the operations of companies within the holding company system. Generally, all transactions affecting the insurers in the holding company system must be fair and reasonable and, if material, require prior notice and approval or non-disapproval by the state’s insurance regulator. Our captive reinsurance subsidiaries and our Arizona captives are not subject to insurance holding company laws.

Change of Control. State insurance holding company regulations generally provide that no person, corporation or other entity may acquire control of an insurance company, or a controlling interest in any parent company of an insurance company, without the prior approval of such insurance company’s domiciliary state insurance regulator. Under the laws of each of the domiciliary states of our insurance subsidiaries, any person acquiring, directly or indirectly, 10% or more of the voting securities of an insurance company is presumed to have acquired "control" of the company. This statutory presumption of control may be rebutted by a showing that control does not exist in fact. The state insurance regulators, however, may find that "control" exists in circumstances in which a person owns or controls less than 10% of voting securities.

To obtain approval of any change in control, the proposed acquirer must file with the applicable insurance regulator an application disclosing, among other information, its background, financial condition, the financial condition of its affiliates, the source and amount of funds by which it will effect the acquisition, the criteria used in determining the nature and amount of consideration to be paid for the acquisition, proposed changes in the management and operations of the insurance company and other related matters.
 
Any purchaser of shares of common stock representing 10% or more of the voting power of our capital stock will be presumed to have acquired control of our insurance subsidiaries unless, following application by that purchaser in each insurance subsidiary’s state of domicile, the relevant insurance commissioner determines otherwise.

The licensing orders governing our captive reinsurance subsidiaries provide that any change of control requires the approval of such company’s domiciliary state insurance regulator. For our Arizona captives, a change of control requires the approval of the ADOI. Although our captive reinsurance subsidiaries and our Arizona captives are not subject to insurance holding company laws, their domiciliary state insurance regulators may use all or a part of the holding company law framework described above in determining whether to approve a proposed change of control.

NAIC Amendments. In 2010, the NAIC adopted significant changes to the insurance holding company model act and regulations (the "NAIC Amendments"). The NAIC Amendments include a requirement that an insurance holding company system’s ultimate controlling person submit annually to its lead state insurance regulator an "enterprise risk report" that identifies activities, circumstances or events involving one or more affiliates of an insurer that, if not remedied properly, are likely to have a material adverse effect upon the financial condition or liquidity of the insurer or its insurance holding company system as a whole. The NAIC Amendments also include a provision requiring a controlling person to submit prior notice to its domiciliary insurance

 
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regulator of a divestiture of control. Each of the states of domicile for our insurance subsidiaries has adopted its version of the NAIC Amendments.

In addition, the NAIC has proposed a "Solvency Modernization Initiative" which focuses on: (1) capital requirements; (2) corporate governance and risk management; (3) group supervision; (4) statutory accounting and financial reporting; and (5) reinsurance. This initiative has resulted in the adoption by the NAIC in September 2012 of the Risk Management and Own Risk and Solvency Assessment Model Act ("ORSA"), which has been enacted by our insurance subsidiaries’ domiciliary states. ORSA requires that insurers maintain a risk management framework and conduct an internal own risk and solvency assessment of the insurer’s material risks in normal and stressed environments. The assessment must be documented in a confidential annual summary report, a copy of which must be made available to regulators as required or upon request. In accordance with statutory requirements, Voya Financial has prepared and submitted ORSA summary reports since 2015. This initiative also resulted in the adoption by the NAIC in August 2014 of the Corporate Governance Annual Filing Model Act, which requires insurers to make an annual confidential filing regarding their corporate governance policies. This new model has been enacted by several of our insurance subsidiaries' domiciliary regulators and Voya submitted its first filing in 2016.

Dividend Payment Restrictions. As a holding company with no significant business operations of our own, we will depend on dividends and other distributions from our subsidiaries as the principal source of cash to meet our obligations, including the payment of interest on, and repayment of principal of, our outstanding debt obligations. The states in which our insurance subsidiaries are domiciled impose certain restrictions on such subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends to us. These restrictions are based in part on the prior year’s statutory income and surplus. In general, dividends up to specified levels are considered ordinary and may be paid without prior approval. Dividends in larger amounts, or extraordinary dividends, are subject to approval by the insurance commissioner of the state of domicile of the insurance subsidiary proposing to pay the dividend. In addition, under the insurance laws applicable to our insurance subsidiaries domiciled in the states of Connecticut, Iowa and Minnesota, no dividend or other distribution exceeding an amount equal to an insurance company's earned surplus may be paid without the domiciliary insurance regulator's prior approval (the "positive earned surplus requirement"). Finally, under applicable domiciliary insurance regulations, each of our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries must deduct any distributions or dividends paid in the preceding twelve months in calculating dividend capacity.

For a summary of ordinary dividends and extraordinary distributions paid by each of our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries to Voya Financial or Voya Holdings in 2016 and 2017, and a discussion of ordinary dividend capacity for 2017, see "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Restrictions on Dividends and Returns of Capital from Subsidiaries". Our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries domiciled in Colorado, Connecticut and Iowa each have ordinary dividend capacity for 2018. However, as a result of the extraordinary dividends it paid in 2015 and 2016, together with statutory losses incurred in connection with the recapture and cession to one of our Arizona captives of certain term life business in the fourth quarter of 2016, our Principal Insurance Subsidiary domiciled in Minnesota currently has negative earned surplus and therefore does not have capacity at this time to make ordinary dividend payments to Voya Holdings and cannot make an extraordinary dividend payment without domiciliary insurance regulatory approval which can be granted or withheld in the discretion of the regulator.

If any of our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries subject to the positive earned surplus requirement do not succeed in building up sufficient positive earned surplus to have ordinary dividend capacity in future years, such subsidiary would be unable to pay dividends or distributions to our holding companies absent prior approval of our domiciliary insurance regulators, which can be granted or withheld in the discretion of the regulator. In addition, if our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries generate capital in excess of our target combined estimated RBC ratio of 425% and our individual insurance company ordinary dividend limits in future years, then we may also seek extraordinary dividends or distributions. There can be no assurance that our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries will receive approval for extraordinary distribution payments in the future.

Our captive reinsurance subsidiaries may not declare or pay dividends in any form to us other than in accordance with their respective insurance securitization transaction agreements and their respective governing license orders. Likewise, our Arizona captives may not declare or pay dividends in any form to us other than in accordance with their annual capital and dividend plans as approved by the ADOI which include minimum capital requirements. In addition, in no event may the dividends decrease the capital of the captive below the minimum capital requirement applicable to it, and, after giving effect to the dividends, the assets of the captive paying the dividend must be sufficient to satisfy its domiciliary insurance regulator that it can meet its obligations.

Approval by a captive's domiciliary insurance regulator of an ongoing plan for the payment of dividends or other distribution is conditioned upon the retention, at the time of each payment, of capital or surplus equal to or in excess of amounts specified by, or determined in accordance with formulas approved for the captive by its domiciliary insurance regulator.

 
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Financial Regulation

Policy and Contract Reserve Sufficiency Analysis. Under the laws and regulations of their states of domicile, our insurance subsidiaries are required to conduct annual analyses of the sufficiency of their life and annuity statutory reserves. Other jurisdictions in which these subsidiaries are licensed may have certain reserve requirements that differ from those of their domiciliary jurisdictions. In each case, a qualified actuary must submit an opinion that states that the aggregate statutory reserves, when considered in light of the assets held with respect to such reserves, are sufficient to meet the insurer’s contractual obligations and related expenses. If such an opinion cannot be rendered, the affected insurer must set up additional statutory reserves by moving funds from available statutory surplus. Our insurance subsidiaries submit these opinions annually to applicable insurance regulatory authorities.

Recent actions by the NAIC. In recent years the NAIC has undertaken a process to redefine the reserve methodology for certain of our insurance liabilities under a framework known as Principles-Based Reserving ("PBR"). Under PBR, an insurer’s reserves are still required to be conservative, since a primary focus of SAP is the protection of policyholders, however, greater credence is given to the insurer’s realized past experience and anticipated future experience as well as to current economic conditions. An important part of the PBR framework was the adoption of AG43 as of December 31, 2009 for variable annuity guaranteed benefits. Another significant development was the adoption of the new Valuation Manual ("VM"), which defines PBR for life insurance policies. The full NAIC membership adopted the new VM in December 2012. The model law that enables the new VM became effective January 1, 2017 after its adoption by the requisite number of jurisdictions that make up the NAIC. The PBR approach for life insurance policies has a three year phase in period. At our discretion, PBR may be applied to new life business beginning as early as January 1, 2017, and must be applied for all new life business issued on or after January 1, 2020. Our life insurance subsidiaries may select different implementation dates for different products. The PBR approach for life policies will not apply to policies in force prior to January 1, 2017. We are currently assessing the impact of, and appropriate implementation plan for, the PBR approach for life policies. Its provisions may require us to make changes to certain of our life insurance policies. For the life product types currently available for sale, PBR may add some volatility to our financial results but we anticipate that this will be minimal.

Surplus and Capital Requirements. Insurance regulators have the discretionary authority, in connection with the ongoing licensing of our insurance subsidiaries, to limit or prohibit the ability of an insurer to issue new policies if, in the regulators’ judgment, the insurer is not maintaining a minimum amount of surplus or is in hazardous financial condition. Insurance regulators may also limit the ability of an insurer to issue new life insurance policies and annuity contracts above an amount based upon the face amount and premiums of policies of a similar type issued in the prior year. We do not currently believe that the current or anticipated levels of statutory surplus of our insurance subsidiaries present a material risk that any such regulator would limit the amount of new policies that our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries may issue.

Risk-Based Capital. The NAIC has adopted RBC requirements for life, health and property and casualty insurance companies. The requirements provide a method for analyzing the minimum amount of adjusted capital (statutory capital and surplus plus other adjustments) appropriate for an insurance company to support its overall business operations, taking into account the risk characteristics of the company’s assets, liabilities and certain off-balance sheet items. State insurance regulators use the RBC requirements as an early warning tool to identify possibly inadequately capitalized insurers. An insurance company found to have insufficient statutory capital based on its RBC ratio may be subject to varying levels of additional regulatory oversight depending on the level of capital inadequacy. As of December 31, 2017, the RBC of each of our insurance subsidiaries exceeded statutory minimum RBC levels that would require any regulatory or corrective action.

The NAIC is currently working with the American Academy of Actuaries as they consider possible updates to the asset factors that are used to calculate the RBC requirements for investment portfolio assets. The NAIC review may lead to an expansion in the number of NAIC asset class categories for factor-based RBC requirements and the adoption of new factors, which could increase capital requirements on some securities and decrease capital requirements on others. We cannot predict what, if any, changes may result from this review or their potential impact on the RBC ratios of our insurance subsidiaries that are subject to RBC requirements. We will continue to monitor developments in this area.

IRIS Tests. The NAIC has developed a set of financial relationships or tests known as the Insurance Regulatory Information System ("IRIS") to assist state regulators in monitoring the financial condition of U.S. insurance companies and identifying companies requiring special attention or action. For IRIS ratio purposes, our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries submit data to the NAIC on an annual basis. The NAIC analyzes this data using prescribed financial data ratios. A ratio falling outside the prescribed "usual range" is not considered a failing result. Rather, unusual values are viewed as part of the regulatory early monitoring system. In many cases, it is not unusual for financially sound companies to have one or more ratios that fall outside the usual range.

 
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Regulators typically investigate or monitor an insurance company if its IRIS ratios fall outside the prescribed usual range for four or more of the ratios, but each state has the right to inquire about any ratios falling outside the usual range. The inquiries made by state insurance regulators into an insurance company’s IRIS ratios can take various forms.

Management does not anticipate regulatory action as a result of the 2017 IRIS ratio results. In all instances in prior years, regulators have been satisfied upon follow-up that no regulatory action was required. It is possible that similar results may not occur in the future.

Insurance Guaranty Associations. Each state has insurance guaranty association laws that require insurance companies doing business in the state to participate in various types of guaranty associations or other similar arrangements. The laws are designed to protect policyholders from losses under insurance policies issued by insurance companies that become impaired or insolvent. Typically, these associations levy assessments, up to prescribed limits, on member insurers on the basis of the member insurer’s proportionate share of the business in the relevant jurisdiction in the lines of business in which the impaired or insolvent insurer is engaged. Some jurisdictions permit member insurers to recover assessments that they paid through full or partial premium tax offsets, usually over a period of years.

Marketing and Sales

State insurance regulators have become more active in adopting and enforcing suitability standards with respect to sales of fixed, indexed and variable annuities. In particular, the NAIC has adopted a revised Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation ("SAT"), which will, if enacted by the states, place new responsibilities upon issuing insurance companies with respect to the suitability of annuity sales, including responsibilities for training agents. Many states have already taken action to adopt provisions based on the SAT.

Cybersecurity Regulatory Activity

The NAIC, numerous state and federal regulatory bodies and self-regulatory organizations like FINRA are focused on cybersecurity standards both for the financial services industry and for all companies that collect personal information, and have proposed legislation, regulations, and issued guidance regarding cybersecurity standards and protocols. For example, in February 2017, the New York Department of Financial Services ("NYDFS") issued final Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Companies that will require banks, insurance companies, and other financial services institutions regulated by the NYDFS, including us, to establish and maintain a cybersecurity program "designed to protect consumers and ensure the safety and soundness of New York State's financial services industry". The regulation became effective on March 1, 2017 and has transition periods ranging up to two years from that date. We continue to evaluate this regulation and its potential impact on our operations, but depending on its implementation, we and other financial services companies may be required to incur significant expense in order to meet its requirements. During 2018, we expect cybersecurity risk management, prioritization and reporting to continue to be an area of significant focus by governments, regulatory bodies and self-regulatory organizations at all levels.

Securities Regulation Affecting Insurance Operations

Certain of our insurance subsidiaries sell variable life insurance and variable annuities that are registered with and regulated by the SEC as securities under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"). These products are issued through separate accounts that are registered as investment companies under the Investment Company Act, and are regulated by state law. Each separate account is generally divided into sub-accounts, each of which invests in an underlying mutual fund which is itself a registered investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the "Investment Company Act"). Our mutual funds, and in certain states, our variable life insurance and variable annuity products, are subject to filing and other requirements under state securities laws. Federal and state securities laws and regulations are primarily intended to protect investors and generally grant broad rulemaking and enforcement powers to regulatory agencies.

Federal Initiatives Affecting Insurance Operations

The U.S. federal government generally does not directly regulate the insurance business. However, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the "Dodd-Frank Act") established the Federal Stability Oversight Council ("FSOC"), which is authorized to designate non-bank financial companies as systemically significant and accordingly subject such companies to regulation and supervision by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the "Federal Reserve") if the FSOC determines that material financial distress at the company or the scope of the company’s activities could pose a threat to the financial stability

 
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of the U.S. See "—Financial Reform Legislation and Initiatives–Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" below.

The Dodd-Frank Act also established FIO within the United States Department of the Treasury ("Treasury Department"). While not having a general supervisory or regulatory authority over the business of insurance, the director of this office performs various functions with respect to insurance, including serving as a non-voting member of the FSOC, making recommendations to the FSOC regarding insurers to be designated for more stringent regulation as a non-bank financial entity supervised by the Federal Reserve and representing the U.S. in the negotiation of international insurance agreements with foreign insurance regulators. The Dodd-Frank Act also required the director of FIO to conduct a study on how to modernize and improve the system of insurance regulation in the United States and that report was issued in December 2013. FIO has an ongoing charge to monitor all aspects of the insurance industry and state insurance regulatory developments, including those called for in its modernization report and present options for federal involvement if deemed necessary. There is substantial uncertainty as to whether aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act or regulatory bodies established thereunder will be impacted by regulatory or legislative changes made by the Trump administration or Congress.

Federal legislation and administrative policies in several areas can significantly and adversely affect insurance companies. These areas include federal health care regulation, pension regulation, financial services regulation, federal tax laws relating to life insurance companies and their products and the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (the "Patriot Act") requiring, among other things, the establishment of anti-money laundering monitoring programs.

While too early to meaningfully assess the prospects of specific federal measures. and their application to us, the interplay between the federal legislative agenda advanced by Congressional Republicans and that of the Trump administration may significantly affect the insurance business, including measures that would change the tax treatment of insurance products relative to other financial products, simplify tax-advantaged or tax-exempt savings and retirement vehicles, restructure the corporate income tax provisions, or modify or eliminate the estate tax.

Regulation of Investment and Retirement Products and Services

Our investment, asset management and retirement products and services are subject to federal and state tax, securities, fiduciary (including the Employment Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA")), insurance and other laws and regulations. The SEC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC"), state securities commissions, state banking and insurance departments and the Department of Labor ("DOL") and the Treasury Department are the principal regulators that regulate these products and services. The Dodd-Frank Act may also impact our investment, asset management, retirement and securities operations. See "—Financial Reform Legislation and Initiatives—Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" below.

Federal and state securities laws and regulations are primarily intended to protect investors in the securities markets and generally grant regulatory agencies broad enforcement and rulemaking powers, including the power to limit or restrict the conduct of business in the event of non-compliance with such laws and regulations. Federal and state securities regulatory authorities and FINRA from time to time make inquiries and conduct examinations regarding compliance by us and our subsidiaries with securities and other laws and regulations.

Securities Regulation with Respect to Certain Insurance and Investment Products and Services

Our variable life insurance, variable annuity and mutual fund products are generally "securities" within the meaning of, and registered under, the federal securities laws, and are subject to regulation by the SEC and FINRA. Our mutual funds, and in certain states our variable life insurance and variable annuity products, are also "securities" within the meaning of state securities laws. As securities, these products are subject to filing and certain other requirements. Sales activities with respect to these products are generally subject to state securities regulation, which may affect investment advice, sales and related activities for these products.

Some of our subsidiaries issue certain fixed and indexed annuities supported by the company’s general account and/or variable annuity contracts and variable life insurance policies through the company’s separate accounts. These subsidiaries and their activities in offering and selling variable insurance and annuity products are subject to extensive regulation under the federal securities laws administered by the SEC. Some of our separate accounts, as well as mutual funds that we sponsor, are registered as investment companies under the Investment Company Act, and the units or shares, as applicable, of certain of these investment companies are qualified for sale in some or all states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each registered separate account is generally divided into sub-accounts, each of which invests in an underlying mutual fund, which is itself a registered investment company under the Investment Company Act. In addition, the variable annuity contracts and variable life insurance policies issued by the

 
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separate accounts and certain fixed and indexed annuities supported by some of our insurance subsidiaries’ general accounts, as well as mutual funds we sponsor, are registered with the SEC under the Securities Act. Certain variable contract separate accounts sponsored by our insurance subsidiaries are exempt from registration, but may be subject to other provisions of the federal securities laws.

Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers

Our securities operations, principally conducted by a number of SEC-registered broker-dealers, are subject to federal and state securities, commodities and related laws, and are regulated principally by the SEC, the CFTC, state securities authorities, FINRA, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board and similar authorities. Agents and employees registered or associated with any of our broker-dealer subsidiaries are subject to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act") and to regulation and examination by the SEC, FINRA and state securities commissioners. The SEC and other governmental agencies and self-regulatory organizations, as well as state securities commissions in the United States, have the power to conduct administrative proceedings that can result in censure, fines, cease-and-desist orders or suspension, termination or limitation of the activities of the regulated entity or its employees.

Broker-dealers are subject to regulations that cover many aspects of the securities business, including, among other things, sales methods and trading practices, the suitability of investments for individual customers, the use and safekeeping of customers’ funds and securities, capital adequacy, recordkeeping, financial reporting and the conduct of directors, officers and employees. The federal securities laws may also require, upon a change in control, re-approval by shareholders in registered investment companies of the investment advisory contracts governing management of those investment companies, including mutual funds included in annuity products. Investment advisory clients may also need to approve, or consent to, investment advisory agreements upon a change in control. In addition, broker-dealers are required to make certain monthly and annual filings with FINRA, including monthly FOCUS reports (which include, among other things, financial results and net capital calculations) and annual audited financial statements prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

In addition, distribution of our annuity products registered as securities are affected by federal and state securities laws and laws and regulations applicable to broker-dealers.

As registered broker-dealers and members of various self-regulatory organizations, our registered broker-dealer subsidiaries are subject to the SEC’s Uniform Net Capital Rule, which specifies the minimum level of net capital a broker-dealer is required to maintain and requires a minimum part of its assets to be kept in relatively liquid form. These net capital requirements are designed to measure the financial soundness and liquidity of broker-dealers. The uniform net capital rule imposes certain requirements that may have the effect of preventing a broker-dealer from distributing or withdrawing capital and may require that prior notice to the regulators be provided prior to making capital withdrawals. Certain of our broker-dealers are also subject to the net capital requirements of the CFTC and the various securities and commodities exchanges of which they are members. Compliance with net capital requirements could limit operations that require the intensive use of capital, such as trading activities and underwriting, and may limit the ability of our broker-dealer subsidiaries to pay dividends to us.

Some of our subsidiaries are registered as investment advisers under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the "Investment Advisers Act") and provide advice to registered investment companies, including mutual funds used in our annuity products, as well as an array of other institutional and retail clients. The Investment Advisers Act and Investment Company Act may require that fund shareholders be asked to approve new investment advisory contracts with respect to those registered investment companies upon a change in control of a fund’s adviser. Likewise, the Investment Advisers Act may require that other clients consent to the continuance of the advisory contract upon a change in control of the adviser. Further, proposals have been made that the SEC establish a self-regulatory organization with respect to registered investment advisers, which could increase the level of regulatory oversight over such investment advisers.

The commodity futures and commodity options industry in the United States is subject to regulation under the Commodity Exchange Act of 1936, as amended (the "Commodity Exchange Act"). The CFTC is charged with the administration of the Commodity Exchange Act and the regulations adopted under that Act. Some of our subsidiaries are registered with the CFTC as commodity pool operators and commodity trading advisors. Our futures business is also regulated by the National Futures Association.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act Considerations

ERISA is a comprehensive federal statute that applies to U.S. employee benefit plans sponsored by private employers and labor unions. Plans subject to ERISA include pension and profit sharing plans and welfare plans, including health, life and disability plans. Among other things, ERISA imposes reporting and disclosure obligations, prescribes standards of conduct that apply to

 
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plan fiduciaries and prohibits transactions known as "prohibited transactions," such as conflict-of-interest transactions, self-dealing and certain transactions between a benefit plan and a party in interest. ERISA also provides for a scheme of civil and criminal penalties and enforcement. Our insurance, investment management and retirement businesses provide services to employee benefit plans subject to ERISA, including limited services under specific contract where we may act as an ERISA fiduciary. We are also subject to ERISA’s prohibited transaction rules for transactions with ERISA plans, which may affect our ability to, or the terms upon which we may, enter into transactions with those plans, even in businesses unrelated to those giving rise to party in interest status. The applicable provisions of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code are subject to enforcement by the DOL, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") and the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation ("PBGC").

In April 2016, the DOL issued a final rule that broadened the definition of "fiduciary" for purposes of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code, as it applies to a person or entity providing investment advice with respect to ERISA plans or IRAs. The rule expanded the circumstances in which providers of investment advice to ERISA plan sponsors and plan participants, and IRA investors are deemed to act in a fiduciary capacity. The rule requires such providers to act in their clients' "best interests", not influenced by any conflicts of interest, including due to the direct or indirect receipt of compensation that varies based on the fiduciary's investment recommendation. The DOL concurrently adopted a "best interest contract exemption" ("BIC") intended to enable continuation of certain industry practices relating to receipt of commissions and other compensation. This exemption enables us and our distributors to continue many historical practices - subject, among other things, to a heightened best interests standard and a requirement that compensation be "reasonable." Key provisions of the rule became effective on June 9, 2017, while other provisions (including the requirement to enter into a "best interest contract" when relying on the BIC, a provision that would potentially subject advice providers such as us to costly private litigation) have been delayed to July 1, 2019. Under the rule, certain business activities in which we currently engage, such as IRA rollovers and other IRA sales, will become subject to a heightened fiduciary standard. Where Voya Financial, Inc. is deemed to act in a fiduciary capacity, we have either modified our sales and compensation practices or are relying on an applicable exemption.

The SEC has requested public comment on whether it should issue a rule updating and harmonizing the standard of care applicable to providers of investment advice. During the delay of the DOL rule, we anticipate that the SEC and other federal and state regulators will consider whether a more comprehensive, harmonized approach is preferable to the DOL rule. It is too early to predict the outcome of any such process.

In addition, the rule may make it easier for the DOL in enforcement actions, and for plaintiffs' attorneys in litigation, to attempt to extend fiduciary status to, or to claim fiduciary or contractual breach by, advisors who would not be deemed fiduciaries under current regulations. Compliance with the proposed rule could also increase our overall operational costs for providing some of the services we currently provide.

Trust Activities Regulation

Voya Institutional Trust Company ("VITC"), our wholly owned subsidiary, was formed in 2014 as a trust bank chartered by the Connecticut Department of Banking and is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the Connecticut Department of Banking. VITC is not permitted to, and does not, accept deposits (other than incidental to its trust and custodial activities). VITC’s activities are primarily to serve as trustee or custodian for retirement plans or IRAs.

Voya Investment Trust Co., our wholly owned subsidiary, is a limited purpose trust company chartered with the Connecticut Department of Banking. Voya Investment Trust Co. is not permitted to, and does not, accept deposits (other than incidental to its trust activities). Voya Investment Trust Co.’s activities are primarily to serve as trustee for and manage various collective and common trust funds. Voya Investment Trust Co. is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the Connecticut Banking Commissioner and is subject to state fiduciary duty laws. In addition, the collective trust funds managed by Voya Investment Trust Co. are generally subject to ERISA.

Financial Reform Legislation and Initiatives

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

The Dodd-Frank Act, enacted in 2010, effects comprehensive changes to the regulation of financial services in the United States. The Dodd-Frank Act directs government agencies and bodies to perform studies and promulgate regulations implementing the law, a process that has substantially advanced but is not yet complete. While some studies have already been completed and the rule-making process is well underway, there continues to be uncertainty regarding the results of ongoing studies and the ultimate requirements of the remaining regulations yet to be adopted. We cannot predict with certainty how the Dodd-Frank Act and such

 
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regulations will affect the financial markets generally, or impact our business, ratings, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

The Dodd-Frank Act contains numerous provisions, some of which may have an impact on us. These include:

The Dodd-Frank Act creates a framework for regulating over-the-counter ("OTC") derivatives which has transformed derivatives markets and trading in significant ways. Under the new regulatory regime and subject to certain exceptions, certain standardized OTC interest rate and credit derivatives must now be cleared through a centralized clearinghouse and executed on a centralized exchange or execution facility, and the CFTC and the SEC may designate additional types of OTC derivatives for mandatory clearing and trade execution requirements in the future. In addition to mandatory central clearing of certain derivatives products, non-centrally cleared OTC derivatives which have been excluded from the clearing mandate and which are used by market participants like us are now subject to additional regulatory reporting and margin requirements. Specifically, both the CFTC and federal banking regulators issued final rules in 2015, which became effective in 2017, establishing minimum margin requirements for OTC derivatives traded by either (non-bank) swap dealers or banks which qualify as swaps entities. Nearly all of the counterparties we trade with are either swap dealers or swap entities subject to these rules. Both the CFTC and prudential regulator margin rules require mandatory exchange of variation margin for most OTC derivatives transacted by us and will require exchange of initial margin commencing in 2020. As a result of the transition to central clearing and the new margin requirements for OTC derivatives, we will be required to hold more cash and highly liquid securities resulting in lower yields in order to satisfy the projected increase in margin required. In addition, increased capital charges imposed by regulators on non-cash collateral held by bank counterparties and central clearinghouses is expected to result in higher hedging costs, causing a reduction in income from investments. We are also observing an increasing reluctance from counterparties to accept certain non-cash collateral from us due to higher capital or operational costs associated with such asset classes that we typically hold in abundance. These developments present potentially significant business, liquidity and operational risk for us which could materially and adversely impact both the cost and our ability to effectively hedge various risks, including equity, interest rate, currency and duration risks within many of our insurance and annuity products and investment portfolios. In addition, inconsistencies between U.S. rules and regulations and parallel regimes in other jurisdictions, such as the EU, may further increase costs of hedging or inhibit our ability to access market liquidity in those other jurisdictions.

The Dodd-Frank Act includes various securities law reforms that may affect our business practices and the liabilities and/or exposures associated therewith. See "—Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers" above.

Until all remaining final regulations are promulgated pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the full impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on our businesses, products, results of operation and financial condition will remain unclear. Additionally, there is substantial uncertainty as to whether aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act or regulatory bodies established thereunder will be impacted by regulatory or legislative changes made by the Trump administration or Congress.

Other Laws and Regulations

USA Patriot Act

The Patriot Act contains anti-money laundering and financial transparency laws applicable to broker-dealers and other financial services companies, including insurance companies. The Patriot Act seeks to promote cooperation among financial institutions, regulators and law enforcement entities in identifying parties that may be involved in terrorism or money laundering. Anti-money laundering laws outside of the United States contain provisions that may be different, conflicting or more rigorous. Internal practices, procedures and controls are required to meet the increased obligations of financial institutions to identify their customers, watch for and report suspicious transactions, respond to requests for information by regulatory authorities and law enforcement agencies and share information with other financial institutions.

We are also required to follow certain economic and trade sanctions programs administered by the Office of Foreign Asset Control that prohibit or restrict transactions with suspected countries, their governments and, in certain circumstances, their nationals. We are also subject to regulations governing bribery and other anti-corruption measures.

Privacy Laws and Regulation

U.S. federal and state laws and regulations require all companies generally, and financial institutions, including insurance companies in particular, to protect the security and confidentiality of personal information and to notify consumers about their policies and practices relating to their collection, use, and disclosure of consumer information and the protection of the security and

 
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confidentiality of that information. The collection, use, disclosure and security of protected health information is also governed by federal and state laws. Federal and state laws also require notice to affected individuals, law enforcement, regulators and others if there is a breach of the security of certain personal information, including social security numbers, and require holders of certain personal information to protect the security of the data. Federal regulations require financial institutions to implement effective programs to detect, prevent and mitigate identity theft. Federal and state laws and regulations regulate the ability of financial institutions to make telemarketing calls and to send unsolicited e-mail or fax messages to consumers and customers. Federal laws and regulations also regulate the permissible uses of certain types of personal information, including consumer report information. Federal and state governments and regulatory bodies may consider additional or more detailed regulation regarding these subjects. Numerous state regulatory bodies are focused on privacy requirements for all companies that collect personal information and have proposed legislation and regulations regarding privacy standards and protocols.

Environmental Considerations

Our ownership and operation of real property and properties within our commercial mortgage loan portfolio is subject to federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations. Risks of hidden environmental liabilities and the costs of any required clean-up are inherent in owning and operating real property. Under the laws of certain states, contamination of a property may give rise to a lien on the property to secure recovery of the costs of clean-up, which could adversely affect the valuation of, and increase the liabilities associated with, the commercial mortgage loans we hold. In several states, this lien has priority over the lien of an existing mortgage against such property. In addition, we may be liable, in certain circumstances, as an "owner" or "operator," for costs of cleaning-up releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances at a property mortgaged to us under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 and the laws of certain states. Application of various other federal and state environmental laws could also result in the imposition of liability on us for costs associated with environmental hazards.

We routinely conduct environmental assessments prior to closing any new commercial mortgage loans or to taking title to real estate. Although unexpected environmental liabilities can always arise, we seek to minimize this risk by undertaking these environmental assessments and complying with our internal environmental policies and procedures.

Health Care Reform Legislation

In March 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was subsequently amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (together, the "Health Care Act"). The Health Care Act regulates coverage that must be provided under employer-sponsored health care plans, which in turn affects the coverage we provide on our Excess Risk Insurance products. There is significant uncertainty surrounding the current administration's efforts to repeal and replace the Health Care Act. Future changes to, or de-funding of, the Health Care Act could result in increased insurance regulatory activity at the state level, which could negatively affect our Employee Benefits segment.

AVAILABLE INFORMATION

We file periodic and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC. Such reports, proxy statements and other information may be obtained through the SEC’s website (www.sec.gov) or by visiting the Public Reference Room of the SEC at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington D.C. 20549 or calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330.

You may also access our press releases, financial information and reports filed with the SEC (for example, our Annual Report on Form 10-K, our Proxy Statement, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those Forms) online at investors.voya.com. Copies of any documents on our website are available without charge, and reports filed with or furnished to the SEC will be available as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed with or furnished to the SEC. The information found on our website is not part of this or any other report filed with or furnished to the SEC.

Item 1A.     Risk Factors

We face a variety of risks that are substantial and inherent in our business, including market, liquidity, credit, operational, legal, regulatory and reputational risks. The following are some of the more important factors that could affect our business.


 
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Risks Related to Our Business—General

We may not complete the CBVA and Annuity Transaction on the terms or timing currently contemplated, or at all, and the Transaction could have negative impacts on us.

As further described under "Item 1–Business–Organizational History and Structure–CBVA and Annuity Transaction", on December 20, 2017, we entered into the Transaction with VA Capital and Athene, pursuant to which VA Capital's wholly owned subsidiary, Venerable, will acquire certain of our assets, including all of the shares of the capital stock of VIAC, our Iowa-domiciled insurance subsidiary, and all of the membership interest of DSL, a broker-dealer subsidiary, and which will result in the disposition of substantially all of the Company’s variable annuity and fixed and fixed indexed annuity businesses and related assets.

While the Transaction is expected to close in the second or third quarters of 2018, the consummation of the closing under the MTA is subject to conditions specified in the MTA, including the receipt of required regulatory approvals, and conditions that could allow us or VA Capital not to close if the amount of capital we or they would be required to fund in connection with the closing of the Transaction would exceed certain thresholds.

Unanticipated developments could also delay, prevent or otherwise adversely affect the currently proposed closing, including possible problems or delays in obtaining various state insurance or other regulatory approvals, and disruptions in the capital and financial markets. Therefore, the Company cannot provide any assurance that this transaction will occur on the terms described herein or at all.

The purchase price in the Transaction is equal to the difference between the Required Adjusted Book Value (as defined in the MTA) and the Statutory capital in VIAC at closing. The Required Adjusted Book Value is based on, subject to certain adjustments, the CTE95 standard which is a statistical tail risk measure under the S&P model which follows the Risk Based capital C-3 Phase II guidelines as stipulated by the NAIC.

The MTA contains limits on the amount of additional capital we could be required to contribute to meet any increases in the Required Adjusted Book Value and on the amount of capital in excess of such amount that VA Capital could be required to compensate us for if such excess capital were to become trapped in VIAC prior to Transaction closing, in each case subject to certain termination rights.

In order to position ourselves for the proposed closing, we are actively pursuing strategic, structural and process realignment and restructuring actions within our former CBVA and Annuities segments. These actions could lead to disruptions of our operations, loss of, or inability to recruit, key personnel needed to operate our businesses and complete the Transaction, weakening of our internal standards, controls or procedures, and impairment of our relationship with key customers and counterparties. We have and will continue to incur significant expenses in connection with the Transaction, whether or not it closes.

In addition, we may face difficulties attracting or retaining third-party affiliate relationships through which we distribute our products and services. As a result of the Transaction, we have seen a reduction in our distributor network for annuities products. Additional distributors may in the future elect to suspend, alter, reduce or terminate, their distribution relationships with us for various reasons, including uncertainty related to the Transaction, changes in our distribution strategy, potential adverse developments in our business, potential adverse rating agency actions or concerns about market-related risks.

We may also not achieve certain of the benefits that we expect in connection with the Transaction, including expected revenues from the appointment of Voya IM or its affiliated advisors as the preferred asset management partner for Venerable, and the achievement of projected targets at our remaining businesses despite our additional focus on those businesses. In addition, completion of the Transaction will require significant amounts of our management’s time and effort which may divert management’s attention from operating and growing our remaining businesses and could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Conditions in the global capital markets and the economy generally have affected and may continue to affect our business and results of operations.

Our business and results of operations are materially affected by conditions in the global capital markets and the economy generally. Subdued growth rates globally and the uncertain consequences of evolving monetary policies among the world's large central banks could create economic disruption, decrease asset prices, increase market volatility and potentially affect the availability and cost of credit.


 
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Although we carry out business almost exclusively in the United States, we are affected by both domestic and international macroeconomic developments. Domestically, the U.S. has experienced a modest increase in economic growth. With the domestic economy approaching full employment, the Federal Reserve has continued its unwind of extraordinary monetary accommodation implemented in the wake of the 2008-2009 recession. In the short to medium term, the Federal Reserve has indicated that it will seek to balance the pace of its policy unwind to achieve its dual mandate of low and stable inflation and full employment. After an extended period of extraordinary accommodation and the resulting low financial market volatility, an unprecedented unwind could result in increased pricing fluctuations for financial securities, including those in which we invest. In the longer term, persistent government budget deficits and unchecked entitlement spending could raise concerns about debt sustainability and weaken economic growth potential.

Internationally, the global economy is currently experiencing an upturn in economic growth after an extended period of below normal growth. The unwind of continued extraordinary monetary accommodation in the U.S. and the beginning of the reduction of monetary support in the European Union could result in increased volatility in interest rates, currencies, and trade flows. The ongoing economic transition in China from a capital intensive, export-focused economy to a more balanced economy driven by the domestic consumer continues to raise concerns about rising domestic debt levels and the stability of asset credit markets, which could have global consequences.

In recent times, political events have increasingly threatened the cohesiveness of the European Union, and are likely to result in the cessation or rollback of the political and economic integration of Europe that has occurred over the past several decades. In particular, the results of the "Brexit" referendum held by the United Kingdom in 2016 and the U.K. government’s declared intention to withdraw from the EU could have substantial adverse consequences for the U.K. and European economies. The financial and political turmoil in Europe continues to be a long-term threat to global capital markets and remains a challenge to global financial stability.

More generally, the international system has in recent years faced heightened geopolitical risk, most notably in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, but also in Africa and Southeast Asia, and events in any one of these regions could give rise to an increase in market volatility or a decrease in global economic output.

Even in the absence of a market downturn, our insurance, annuity, retirement and investment products, as well as our investment returns and our access to and cost of financing, are sensitive to equity, fixed income, real estate and other market fluctuations and general economic and political conditions. These fluctuations and conditions could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, including in the following respects:

We provide a number of insurance, annuity, retirement and investment products that expose us to risks associated with fluctuations in interest rates, market indices, securities prices, default rates, the value of real estate assets, currency exchange rates and credit spreads. The profitability of many of our insurance, annuity, retirement and investment products depends in part on the value of the general accounts and separate accounts supporting them, which may fluctuate substantially depending on the foregoing conditions.

Volatility or downturns in the equity markets can cause a reduction in fee income we earn from managing investment portfolios for third parties and fee income on certain annuity, retirement and investment products. Because these products and services generate fees related primarily to the value of AUM, a decline in the equity markets could reduce our revenues because of the reduction in the value of the investments we manage.

A change in market conditions, including prolonged periods of high or low inflation or interest rates, could cause a change in consumer sentiment and adversely affect sales and could cause the actual persistency of these products to vary from their anticipated persistency (the probability that a product will remain in force from one period to the next) and adversely affect profitability. Changing economic conditions or adverse public perception of financial institutions can influence customer behavior, which can result in, among other things, an increase or decrease in claims, lapses, withdrawals, deposits or surrenders in certain products, any of which could adversely affect profitability.

An equity market decline, decreases in prevailing interest rates, or a prolonged period of low interest rates could result in the value of guaranteed minimum benefits contained in certain of our life insurance, annuity and retirement products being higher than current account values or higher than anticipated in our pricing assumptions, requiring us to materially increase reserves for such products, and may result in a decrease in customer lapses, thereby increasing the cost to us. In addition, such a scenario could lead to increased amortization and/or unfavorable unlocking of DAC and value of business acquired ("VOBA").


 
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Reductions in employment levels of our existing employer customers may result in a reduction in underlying employee participation levels, contributions, deposits and premium income for certain of our retirement products. Participants within the retirement plans for which we provide certain services may elect to make withdrawals from these plans, or reduce or stop their payroll deferrals to these plans, which would reduce assets under management or administration and our revenues.

We have significant investment and derivative portfolios that include, among other investments, corporate securities, ABS, equities and commercial mortgages. Economic conditions as well as adverse capital market and credit conditions, interest rate changes, changes in mortgage prepayment behavior or declines in the value of underlying collateral will impact the credit quality, liquidity and value of our investment and derivative portfolios, potentially resulting in higher capital charges and unrealized or realized losses and decreased investment income. The value of our investments and derivative portfolios may also be impacted by reductions in price transparency, changes in the assumptions or methodology we use to estimate fair value and changes in investor confidence or preferences, which could potentially result in higher realized or unrealized losses and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition. Market volatility may also make it difficult to value certain of our securities if trading becomes less frequent.

Market conditions determine the availability and cost of the reinsurance protection we purchase and may result in additional expenses for reinsurance or an inability to obtain sufficient reinsurance on acceptable terms, which could adversely affect the profitability of future business and the availability of capital to support new sales.

Hedging instruments we use to manage product and other risks might not perform as intended or expected, which could result in higher realized losses and unanticipated cash needs to collateralize or settle such transactions. Adverse market conditions can limit the availability and increase the costs of hedging instruments, and such costs may not be recovered in the pricing of the underlying products being hedged. In addition, hedging counterparties may fail to perform their obligations resulting in unhedged exposures and losses on positions that are not collateralized.

Regardless of market conditions, certain investments we hold, including privately placed fixed income investments, investments in private equity funds and commercial mortgages, are relatively illiquid. If we need to sell these investments, we may have difficulty selling them in a timely manner or at a price equal to what we could otherwise realize by holding the investment to maturity.

We are exposed to interest rate and equity risk based upon the discount rate and expected long-term rate of return assumptions associated with our pension and other retirement benefit obligations. Sustained declines in long-term interest rates or equity returns could have a negative effect on the funded status of these plans and/or increase our future funding costs.

Fluctuations in our results of operations and realized and unrealized gains and losses on our investment and derivative portfolio may impact our tax profile, our ability to optimally utilize tax attributes and our deferred income tax assets. See "Our ability to use beneficial U.S. tax attributes is subject to limitations."

A default by any financial institution or by a sovereign could lead to additional defaults by other market participants. The failure of a sufficiently large and influential institution could disrupt securities markets or clearance and settlement systems and lead to a chain of defaults, because the commercial and financial soundness of many financial institutions may be closely related as a result of credit, trading, clearing or other relationships. Even the perceived lack of creditworthiness of a counterparty may lead to market-wide liquidity problems and losses or defaults by us or by other institutions. This risk is sometimes referred to as "systemic risk" and may adversely affect financial intermediaries, such as clearing agencies, clearing houses, banks, securities firms and exchanges with which we interact on a daily basis. Systemic risk could have a material adverse effect on our ability to raise new funding and on our business, results of operations, financial condition, liquidity and/or business prospects. In addition, such a failure could impact future product sales as a potential result of reduced confidence in the financial services industry. Regulatory changes implemented to address systemic risk could also cause market participants to curtail their participation in certain market activities, which could decrease market liquidity and increase trading and other costs.

Widening credit spreads, if not offset by equal or greater declines in the risk-free interest rate, would also cause the total interest rate payable on newly issued securities to increase, and thus would have the same effect as an increase in underlying interest rates with respect to the valuation of our current portfolio.


 
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To the extent that any of the foregoing risks were to emerge in a manner that adversely affected general economic conditions, financial markets, or the markets for our products and services, our financial condition, liquidity, and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

Adverse capital and credit market conditions may impact our ability to access liquidity and capital, as well as the cost of credit and capital.

Adverse capital market conditions may affect the availability and cost of borrowed funds, thereby impacting our ability to support or grow our businesses. We need liquidity to pay our operating expenses, interest on our debt and dividends on our capital stock, to carry out any share repurchases that we may undertake, to maintain our securities lending activities, to collateralize certain obligations with respect to our indebtedness, and to replace certain maturing liabilities. Without sufficient liquidity, we will be forced to curtail our operations and our business will suffer. As a holding company with no direct operations, our principal assets are the capital stock of our subsidiaries.

Payments of dividends and advances or repayment of funds to us by our insurance subsidiaries are restricted by the applicable laws and regulations of their respective jurisdictions, including laws establishing minimum solvency and liquidity thresholds.

For our insurance and other subsidiaries, the principal sources of liquidity are insurance premiums and fees, annuity deposits and cash flow from investments and assets. At the holding company level, sources of liquidity in normal markets also include a variety of short-term liquid investments and short-and long-term instruments, including credit facilities, equity securities and medium-and long-term debt.

In the event current resources do not satisfy our needs, we may have to seek additional financing. The availability of additional financing will depend on a variety of factors such as market conditions, the general availability of credit, the volume of trading activities, the overall availability of credit to the financial services industry and our credit ratings and credit capacity, as well as the possibility that customers or lenders could develop a negative perception of our long- or short-term financial prospects. Similarly, our access to funds may be limited if regulatory authorities or rating agencies take negative actions against us. If our internal sources of liquidity prove to be insufficient, there is a risk that we may not be able to successfully obtain additional financing on favorable terms, or at all. Any actions we might take to access financing may cause rating agencies to reevaluate our ratings.

Disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the capital and credit markets may also limit our access to capital. Such market conditions may in the future limit our ability to raise additional capital to support business growth, or to counter-balance the consequences of losses or increased regulatory reserves and rating agency capital requirements. This could force us to (1) delay raising capital, (2) reduce, cancel or postpone interest payments on our debt or reduce or eliminate dividends paid on our capital stock, (3) issue capital of different types or under different terms than we would otherwise or (4) incur a higher cost of capital than would prevail in a more stable market environment. This would have the potential to decrease both our profitability and our financial flexibility. Our results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, statutory capital and rating agency capital position could be materially and adversely affected by disruptions in the financial markets.

The level of interest rates may adversely affect our profitability, particularly in the event of a continuation of the low interest rate environment or a period of rapidly increasing interest rates.

The Federal Reserve has begun the process of normalizing short-term interest rates. However, interest rates remain below historic averages. Supportive monetary policy continues in developed markets globally, but the extent of accommodation has likely peaked. The unwind of extraordinary monetary accommodation by global central banks may lead to increased interest rate volatility.

During periods of declining interest rates or a prolonged period of low interest rates, life insurance and annuity products may be relatively more attractive to consumers due to minimum guarantees that are frequently mandated by regulators, resulting in increased premium payments on products with flexible premium features and a higher percentage of insurance and annuity contracts remaining in force from year-to-year than we anticipated in our pricing, potentially resulting in greater claims costs than we expected and asset/liability cash flow mismatches. A decrease in interest rates or a prolonged period of low interest rates may also require additional provisions for guarantees included in life insurance and annuity contracts, as the guarantees become more valuable to policyholders. During a period of decreasing interest rates or a prolonged period of low interest rates, our investment earnings may decrease because the interest earnings on our recently purchased fixed income investments will likely have declined in tandem with market interest rates. In addition, a prolonged low interest rate period may result in higher costs for certain derivative instruments that may be used to hedge certain of our product risks. RMBS and callable fixed income securities in our investment portfolios will be more likely to be prepaid or redeemed as borrowers seek to borrow at lower interest rates. Consequently, we may be required to reinvest the proceeds in securities bearing lower interest rates. Accordingly, during periods of declining interest rates, our profitability may suffer as the result of a decrease in the spread between interest rates credited to policyholders and

 
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contract owners and returns on our investment portfolios. An extended period of declining or prolonged low interest rates or a prolonged period of low interest rates may also coincide with a change to our long-term view of the interest rates. Such a change in our view would cause us to change the long-term interest rate assumptions in our calculation of insurance assets and liabilities under U.S. GAAP. Any future revision would result in increased reserves, accelerated amortization of DAC and other unfavorable consequences, which would be incremental to those consequences recorded in connection with the most recent revision. In addition, certain statutory capital and reserve requirements are based on formulas or models that consider interest rates, and an extended period of low interest rates may increase the statutory capital we are required to hold and the amount of assets we must maintain to support statutory reserves. We believe a continuation of the low interest rate environment would negatively affect our financial performance.

Conversely, in periods of rapidly increasing interest rates, policy loans, withdrawals from, and/or surrenders of, life insurance and annuity contracts and certain GICs may increase as policyholders choose to seek higher investment returns. Obtaining cash to satisfy these obligations may require us to liquidate fixed income investments at a time when market prices for those assets are lower because of increases in interest rates. This may result in realized investment losses. Regardless of whether we realize an investment loss, such cash payments would result in a decrease in total invested assets and may decrease our net income and capitalization levels. Premature withdrawals may also cause us to accelerate amortization of DAC, which would also reduce our net income. An increase in market interest rates could also have a material adverse effect on the value of our investment portfolio by, for example, decreasing the estimated fair values of the fixed income securities within our investment portfolio. An increase in market interest rates could also create increased collateral posting requirements associated with our interest rate hedge programs and Federal Home Loan Bank funding agreements, which could materially and adversely affect liquidity. In addition, an increase in market interest rates could require us to pay higher interest rates on debt securities we may issue in the financial markets from time to time to finance our operations, which would increase our interest expense and reduce our results of operations.

Lastly, certain statutory reserve requirements are based on formulas or models that consider forward interest rates and an increase in forward interest rates may increase the statutory reserves we are required to hold thereby reducing statutory capital. Changes in prevailing interest rates may negatively affect our business including the level of net interest margin we earn. In a period of changing interest rates, interest expense may increase and interest credited to policyholders may change at different rates than the interest earned on assets. Accordingly, changes in interest rates could decrease net interest margin. Changes in interest rates may negatively affect the value of our assets and our ability to realize gains or avoid losses from the sale of those assets, all of which also ultimately affect earnings. In addition, our insurance and annuity products and certain of our retirement and investment products are sensitive to inflation rate fluctuations. A sustained increase in the inflation rate in our principal markets may also negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operation. For example, a sustained increase in the inflation rate may result in an increase in nominal market interest rates. A failure to accurately anticipate higher inflation and factor it into our product pricing assumptions may result in mispricing of our products, which could materially and adversely impact our results of operations.

A downgrade or a potential downgrade in our financial strength or credit ratings could result in a loss of business and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Ratings are important to our business. Credit ratings represent the opinions of rating agencies regarding an entity’s ability to repay its indebtedness. Our credit ratings are important to our ability to raise capital through the issuance of debt and to the cost of such financing. Financial strength ratings, which are sometimes referred to as "claims-paying" ratings, represent the opinions of rating agencies regarding the financial ability of an insurance company to meet its obligations under an insurance policy. Financial strength ratings are important factors affecting public confidence in insurers, including our insurance company subsidiaries. The financial strength ratings of our insurance subsidiaries are important to our ability to sell our products and services to our customers. Ratings are not recommendations to buy our securities. Each of the rating agencies reviews its ratings periodically, and our current ratings may not be maintained in the future.

Our ratings could be downgraded at any time and without notice by any rating agency. For a description of material rating actions that have occurred from the end of 2015 through the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, see "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Ratings."

A downgrade of the financial strength rating of one of our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries could affect our competitive position by making it more difficult for us to market our products as potential customers may select companies with higher financial strength ratings and by leading to increased withdrawals by current customers seeking companies with higher financial strength ratings. This could lead to a decrease in AUM and result in lower fee income. Furthermore, sales of assets to meet customer withdrawal demands could also result in losses, depending on market conditions. In addition, a downgrade in either our financial strength or credit ratings could potentially, among other things, increase our borrowing costs and make it more difficult to access financing; adversely affect the availability of LOCs and other financial guarantees; result in additional collateral requirements, or other required payments or termination rights under derivative contracts or other agreements; and/or impair, or cause the termination

 
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of, our relationships with creditors, broker-dealers, distributors, reinsurers or trading counterparties, which could potentially negatively affect our profitability, liquidity and/or capital. In addition, we use assumptions of market participants in estimating the fair value of our liabilities, including insurance liabilities that are classified as embedded derivatives under U.S. GAAP. These assumptions include our nonperformance risk (i.e., the risk that the obligations will not be fulfilled). Therefore, changes in our credit or financial strength ratings may affect the fair value of our liabilities.

In December 2017, ratings agencies downgraded the credit and financial strength ratings of VIAC, our Iowa-domiciled insurance subsidiary, as a result of our entry into the Transaction, pursuant to which we are selling VIAC to a third-party investment vehicle. This downgrade has significantly affected VIAC's distribution relationships and its ability to sell new annuities during the period before the Transaction closes. See "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Ratings."

As rating agencies continue to evaluate the financial services industry, it is possible that rating agencies will heighten the level of scrutiny that they apply to financial institutions, increase the frequency and scope of their credit reviews, request additional information from the companies that they rate and potentially adjust upward the capital and other requirements employed in the rating agency models for maintenance of certain ratings levels. It is possible that the outcome of any such review of us would have additional adverse ratings consequences, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. We may need to take actions in response to changing standards or capital requirements set by any of the rating agencies which could cause our business and operations to suffer. We cannot predict what additional actions rating agencies may take, or what actions we may take in response to the actions of rating agencies.

Certain of our securities continue to be guaranteed by ING Group. A downgrade of the credit ratings of ING Group could result in downgrades of these securities, as occurred during the second quarter of 2015, when Moody's downgraded these guaranteed securities from A3 to Baa1.

Because we operate in highly competitive markets, we may not be able to increase or maintain our market share, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

In each of our businesses we face intense competition, including from domestic and foreign insurance companies, broker-dealers, financial advisors, asset managers and diversified financial institutions, banks, technology companies and start-up financial services providers, both for the ultimate customers for our products and for distribution through independent distribution channels. We compete based on a number of factors including brand recognition, reputation, quality of service, quality of investment advice, investment performance of our products, product features, scope of distribution, price, perceived financial strength and credit ratings, scale and level of customer service. A decline in our competitive position as to one or more of these factors could adversely affect our profitability. In addition, we may in the future sacrifice our competitive or market position in order to improve our profitability. Many of our competitors are large and well-established and some have greater market share or breadth of distribution, offer a broader range of products, services or features, assume a greater level of risk, have greater financial resources, or have higher claims-paying or credit ratings than we do. Furthermore, the preferences of the end consumers for our products and services may shift, including as a result of technological innovations affecting the marketplaces in which we operate. To the extent our competitors are more successful than we are at adopting new technology and adapting to the changing preferences of the marketplace, our competitiveness may decline.

In recent years, there has been substantial consolidation among companies in the financial services industry resulting in increased competition from large, well-capitalized financial services firms. Future economic turmoil may accelerate additional consolidation activity. Many of our competitors also have been able to increase their distribution systems through mergers, acquisitions, partnerships or other contractual arrangements. Furthermore, larger competitors may have lower operating costs and have an ability to absorb greater risk, while maintaining financial strength ratings, allowing them to price products more competitively. These competitive pressures could result in increased pressure on the pricing of certain of our products and services, and could harm our ability to maintain or increase profitability. In addition, if our financial strength and credit ratings are lower than our competitors, we may experience increased surrenders and/or a significant decline in sales. The competitive landscape in which we operate may be further affected by the government sponsored programs or regulatory changes in the United States and similar governmental actions outside of the United States. Competitors that receive governmental financing, guarantees or other assistance, or that are not subject to the same regulatory constraints, may have or obtain pricing or other competitive advantages. Due to the competitive nature of the financial services industry, there can be no assurance that we will continue to effectively compete within the industry or that competition will not have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition.


 
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Our risk management policies and procedures, including hedging programs, may prove inadequate for the risks we face, which could negatively affect our business and financial condition or result in losses.

We have developed risk management policies and procedures, including hedging programs, that utilize derivative financial instruments, and expect to continue to do so in the future. Nonetheless, our policies and procedures to identify, monitor and manage risks may not be fully effective, particularly during turbulent economic conditions. Many of our methods of managing risk and exposures are based upon observed historical market behavior or statistics based on historical models. As a result, these methods may not predict future exposures, which could be significantly greater than historical measures indicate. Other risk management methods depend on the evaluation of information regarding markets, customers, catastrophe occurrence or other matters that is publicly available or otherwise accessible to us. This information may not always be accurate, complete, up-to-date or properly evaluated. Management of operational, legal and regulatory risks requires, among other things, policies and procedures to record and verify large numbers of transactions and events. These policies and procedures may not be fully effective.

We employ various strategies, including hedging and reinsurance, with the objective of mitigating risks inherent in our business and operations. These risks include current or future changes in the fair value of our assets and liabilities, current or future changes in cash flows, the effect of interest rates, equity markets and credit spread changes, the occurrence of credit defaults, currency fluctuations and changes in mortality and longevity. We seek to control these risks by, among other things, entering into reinsurance contracts and derivative instruments, such as swaps, options, futures and forward contracts. See "—Reinsurance subjects us to the credit risk of reinsurers and may not be available, affordable or adequate to protect us against losses" for a description of risks associated with our use of reinsurance. Developing an effective strategy for dealing with these risks is complex, and no strategy can completely insulate us from such risks. Our hedging strategies also rely on assumptions and projections regarding our assets, liabilities, general market factors, and the creditworthiness of our counterparties that may prove to be incorrect or prove to be inadequate. Accordingly, our hedging activities may not have the desired beneficial impact on our results of operations or financial condition. Hedging strategies involve transaction costs and other costs, and if we terminate a hedging arrangement, we may also be required to pay additional costs, such as transaction fees or breakage costs. We may incur losses on transactions after taking into account our hedging strategies. In particular, our hedging strategies primarily focus on the protection of regulatory and rating agency capital, rather than U.S. GAAP earnings. As U.S. GAAP accounting differs from the methods used to determine regulatory reserves and rating agency capital requirements, our hedge program tends to create earnings volatility in our U.S. GAAP financial statements. Further, the nature, timing, design or execution of our hedging transactions could actually increase our risks and losses. Our hedging strategies and the derivatives that we use, or may use in the future, may not adequately mitigate or offset the hedged risk and our hedging transactions may result in losses.

Past or future misconduct by our employees, agents, intermediaries, representatives of our broker-dealer subsidiaries or employees of our vendors could result in violations of law by us or our subsidiaries, regulatory sanctions and/or serious reputational or financial harm and the precautions we take to prevent and detect this activity may not be effective in all cases. Although we employ controls and procedures designed to monitor associates' business decisions and to prevent us from taking excessive or inappropriate risks, associates may take such risks regardless of such controls and procedures. Our compensation policies and practices are reviewed by us as part of our overall risk management program, but it is possible that such compensation policies and practices could inadvertently incentivize excessive or inappropriate risk taking. If our associates take excessive or inappropriate risks, those risks could harm our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

The inability of counterparties to meet their financial obligations could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

Third parties that owe us money, securities or other assets may not pay or perform under their obligations. These parties include the issuers or guarantors of securities we hold, customers, reinsurers, trading counterparties, securities lending and repurchase counterparties, counterparties under swaps, credit default and other derivative contracts, clearing agents, exchanges, clearing houses and other financial intermediaries. Defaults by one or more of these parties on their obligations to us due to bankruptcy, lack of liquidity, downturns in the economy or real estate values, operational failure or other factors, or even rumors about potential defaults by one or more of these parties, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity.

We routinely execute a high volume of transactions such as unsecured debt instruments, derivative transactions and equity investments with counterparties and customers in the financial services industry, including broker-dealers, commercial and investment banks, mutual and hedge funds, institutional clients, futures clearing merchants, swap dealers, insurance companies and other institutions, resulting in large periodic settlement amounts which may result in our having significant credit exposure to one or more of such counterparties or customers. Many of these transactions comprise derivative instruments with a number of counterparties in order to hedge various risks, including equity and interest rate market risk features within many of our insurance and annuity products. Our obligations under our products are not changed by our hedging activities and we are liable for our obligations even if our derivative counterparties do not pay us. As a result, we face concentration risk with respect to liabilities or amounts we expect to collect from specific counterparties and customers. A default by, or even concerns about the creditworthiness

 
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of, one or more of these counterparties or customers could have an adverse effect on our results of operations or liquidity. There is no assurance that losses on, or impairments to the carrying value of, these assets due to counterparty credit risk would not materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition.

We are also subject to the risk that our rights against third parties may not be enforceable in all circumstances. The deterioration or perceived deterioration in the credit quality of third parties whose securities or obligations we hold could result in losses and/or adversely affect our ability to rehypothecate or otherwise use those securities or obligations for liquidity purposes. While in many cases we are permitted to require additional collateral from counterparties that experience financial difficulty, disputes may arise as to the amount of collateral we are entitled to receive and the value of pledged assets. Our credit risk may also be exacerbated when the collateral we hold cannot be realized or is liquidated at prices not sufficient to recover the full amount of the loan or derivative exposure that is due to us, which is most likely to occur during periods of illiquidity and depressed asset valuations, such as those experienced during the financial crisis of 2008-09. The termination of contracts and the foreclosure on collateral may subject us to claims for the improper exercise of rights under the contracts. Bankruptcies, downgrades and disputes with counterparties as to the valuation of collateral tend to increase in times of market stress and illiquidity.

Requirements to post collateral or make payments related to changes in market value of specified assets may adversely affect liquidity.

The amount of collateral we may be required to post under short-term financing agreements and derivative transactions may increase under certain circumstances. Pursuant to the terms of some transactions, we could be required to make payment to our counterparties related to any change in the market value of the specified collateral assets. Such requirements could have an adverse effect on liquidity. Furthermore, with respect to any such payments, we may have unsecured risk to the counterparty as these amounts may not be required to be segregated from the counterparty’s other funds, may not be held in a third-party custodial account and may not be required to be paid to us by the counterparty until the termination of the transaction. Additionally, the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act and the resultant changes in collateral requirements may increase the need for liquidity and eligible collateral assets in excess of what is already being held.

Our investment portfolio is subject to several risks that may diminish the value of our invested assets and the investment returns credited to customers, which could reduce our sales, revenues, AUM and results of operations.

Fixed income securities represent a significant portion of our investment portfolio. We are subject to the risk that the issuers, or guarantors, of fixed income securities we own may default on principal and interest payments they owe us. We are also subject to the risk that the underlying collateral within asset-backed securities, including mortgage-backed securities, may default on principal and interest payments causing an adverse change in cash flows. The occurrence of a major economic downturn, acts of corporate malfeasance, widening mortgage or credit spreads, or other events that adversely affect the issuers, guarantors or underlying collateral of these securities could cause the estimated fair value of our fixed income securities portfolio and our earnings to decline and the default rate of the fixed income securities in our investment portfolio to increase. A ratings downgrade affecting issuers or guarantors of securities in our investment portfolio, or similar trends that could worsen the credit quality of such issuers, or guarantors could also have a similar effect. Similarly, a ratings downgrade affecting a security we hold could indicate the credit quality of that security has deteriorated and could increase the capital we must hold to support that security to maintain our RBC ratio. See "A decrease in the RBC ratio (as a result of a reduction in statutory surplus and/or increase in RBC requirements) of our insurance subsidiaries could result in increased scrutiny by insurance regulators and rating agencies and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition." We are also subject to the risk that cash flows resulting from the payments on pools of mortgages that serve as collateral underlying the mortgage-backed securities we own may differ from our expectations in timing or size. Cash flow variability arising from an unexpected acceleration in mortgage prepayment behavior can be significant, and could cause a decline in the estimated fair value of certain "interest-only" securities within our mortgage-backed securities portfolio. Any event reducing the estimated fair value of these securities, other than on a temporary basis, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We derive operating revenues from providing investment management and related services. Our revenues depend largely on the value and mix of AUM. Our investment management related revenues are derived primarily from fees based on a percentage of the value of AUM. Any decrease in the value or amount of our AUM because of market volatility or other factors negatively impacts our revenues and income. Global economic conditions, changes in the equity markets, currency exchange rates, interest rates, inflation rates, the shape of the yield curve, defaults by derivative counterparties and other factors that are difficult to predict affect the mix, market values and levels of our AUM. The funds we manage may be subject to an unanticipated large number of redemptions as a result of such events, causing the funds to sell securities they hold, possibly at a loss, or draw on any available lines of credit to obtain cash, or use securities held in the applicable fund, to settle these redemptions. We may, in our discretion, also provide financial support to a fund to enable it to maintain sufficient liquidity in such an event. Additionally, changing market conditions may cause a shift in our asset mix towards fixed-income products and a related decline in our revenue and income, as

 
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we generally derive higher fee revenues and income from equity products than from fixed-income products we manage. Any decrease in the level of our AUM resulting from price declines, interest rate volatility or uncertainty, increased redemptions or other factors could negatively impact our revenues and income.

From time to time we invest our capital to seed a particular investment strategy or investment portfolio. We may also co-invest in funds or take an equity ownership interest in certain structured finance/investment vehicles that we manage for our customers. In some cases, these interests may be leveraged with third-party debt financing. Any decrease in the value of such investments could negatively affect our revenues and income or subject us to losses.

Our investment performance is critical to the success of our investment management and related services business, as well as to the profitability of our insurance, annuity and retirement products. Poor investment performance as compared to third-party benchmarks or competitor products could lead to a decrease in sales of investment products we manage and lead to redemptions of existing assets, generally lowering the overall level of AUM and reducing the management fees we earn. We cannot assure you that past or present investment performance in the investment products we manage will be indicative of future performance. Any poor investment performance may negatively impact our revenues and income.

Some of our investments are relatively illiquid and in some cases are in asset classes that have been experiencing significant market valuation fluctuations.

We hold certain assets that may lack liquidity, such as privately placed fixed income securities, commercial mortgage loans, policy loans and limited partnership interests. These asset classes represented 33.3% of the carrying value of our total cash and invested assets as of December 31, 2017. If we require significant amounts of cash on short notice in excess of normal cash requirements or are required to post or return collateral in connection with our investment portfolio, derivatives transactions or securities lending activities, we may have difficulty selling these investments in a timely manner, be forced to sell them for less than we otherwise would have been able to realize, or both.

The reported values of our relatively illiquid types of investments do not necessarily reflect the current market price for the asset. If we were forced to sell certain of our assets in the current market, there can be no assurance that we would be able to sell them for the prices at which we have recorded them and we might be forced to sell them at significantly lower prices.

We invest a portion of our invested assets in investment funds, many of which make private equity investments. The amount and timing of income from such investment funds tends to be uneven as a result of the performance of the underlying investments, including private equity investments. The timing of distributions from the funds, which depends on particular events relating to the underlying investments, as well as the funds’ schedules for making distributions and their needs for cash, can be difficult to predict. As a result, the amount of income that we record from these investments can vary substantially from quarter to quarter. Recent equity and credit market volatility may reduce investment income for these types of investments.

Our CMO-B portfolio exposes us to market and behavior risks.

We manage a portfolio of various collateralized mortgage obligation ("CMO") tranches in combination with financial derivatives as part of a proprietary strategy we refer to as "CMO-B," as described under "Investments—CMO-B Portfolio." As of December 31, 2017, our CMO-B portfolio had $3 billion in total assets, consisting of notional or principal securities backed by mortgages secured by single-family residential real estate, and including interest-only securities, principal-only securities, inverse-floating rate (principal) securities, inverse interest-only securities and Agency Credit Risk Transfer securities. The CMO-B portfolio is subject to a number of market and behavior risks, including interest rate risk, prepayment risk, and delinquency and default risk associated with Agency mortgage borrowers. Interest rate risk represents the potential for adverse changes in portfolio value resulting from changes in the general level of interest rates. Prepayment risk represents the potential for adverse changes in portfolio value resulting from changes in residential mortgage prepayment speed, which in turn depends on a number of factors, including conditions in both credit markets and housing markets. As of December 31, 2017, December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, approximately 43.2%, 46.4%, and 46.6%, respectively, of the Company’s total CMO holdings were invested in those types of CMOs, such as interest-only or principal-only strips, which are subject to more prepayment and extension risk than traditional CMOs. In addition, government policy changes affecting residential housing and residential housing finance, such as government agency reform and government sponsored refinancing programs, and Federal Reserve Bank purchases of agency mortgage securities could alter prepayment behavior and result in adverse changes to portfolio values. While we actively monitor our exposure to these and other risks inherent in this strategy, we cannot assure you that our hedging and risk management strategies will be effective; any failure to manage these risks effectively could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, although our CMO-B portfolio performed well for a number of years, and particularly well since the financial crisis of 2008-09, primarily due to persistently low levels of short-term interest rates and mortgage prepayments in an atmosphere of tightened housing-related credit availability, this portfolio may not continue to perform as well in the future. A rise in home prices, the

 
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concern over further introduction of or changes to government policies aimed at altering prepayment behavior, and an increased availability of housing-related credit could combine to increase expected or actual prepayment speeds, which would likely lower interest only ("IO") and inverse IO valuations. Under these circumstances, the results of our CMO-B portfolio would likely underperform those of recent periods.

Defaults or delinquencies in our commercial mortgage loan portfolio may adversely affect our profitability.

The commercial mortgage loans we hold face both default and delinquency risk. We establish loan specific estimated impairments at the balance sheet date. These impairments are based on the excess carrying value of the loan over the present value of expected future cash flows discounted at the loan’s original effective interest rate, the estimated fair value of the loan's collateral if the loan is in the process of foreclosure or otherwise collateral dependent, or the loan’s observable market price. We also establish valuation allowances for loan losses when, based on past experience, it is probable that a credit event has occurred and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. These valuation allowances are based on loan risk characteristics, historical default rates and loss severities, real estate market fundamentals and outlook as well as other relevant factors. As of December 31, 2017, there were no commercial loans that were 30 days or less past due, and no commercial mortgage loans in process of foreclosure. The performance of our commercial mortgage loan investments may fluctuate in the future. In addition, legislative proposals that would allow or require modifications to the terms of commercial mortgage loans could be enacted. We cannot predict whether these proposals will be adopted, or what impact, if any, such laws, if enacted, could have on our business or investments. An increase in the delinquency and default rate of our commercial mortgage loan portfolio could adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition.

Further, any geographic or sector concentration of our commercial mortgage loans may have adverse effects on our investment portfolios and consequently on our results of operations or financial condition. While we generally seek to mitigate the risk of sector concentration by having a broadly diversified portfolio, events or developments that have a negative effect on any particular geographic region or sector may have a greater adverse effect on the investment portfolios to the extent that the portfolios are concentrated, which could affect our results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, liability under environmental protection laws resulting from our commercial mortgage loan portfolio and real estate investments could affect our results of operations or financial condition. Under the laws of several states, contamination of a property may give rise to a lien on the property to secure recovery of the costs of cleanup. In some states, such a lien has priority over the lien of an existing mortgage against the property, which would impair our ability to foreclose on that property should the related loan be in default. In addition, under the laws of some states and under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, we may be liable for costs of addressing releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that require remedy at a property securing a mortgage loan held by us, regardless of whether or not the environmental damage or threat was caused by the obligor, which could harm our results of operations and financial condition. We also may face this liability after foreclosing on a property securing a mortgage loan held by us.

Our operations are complex and a failure to properly perform services could have an adverse effect on our revenues and income.

Our operations include, among other things, retirement plan administration, policy administration, portfolio management, investment advice, retail and wholesale brokerage, fund administration, shareholder services, benefits processing and servicing, contract and sales and servicing, transfer agency, underwriting, distribution, custodial, trustee and other fiduciary services. In order to be competitive, we must properly perform our administrative and related responsibilities, including recordkeeping and accounting, regulatory compliance, security pricing, corporate actions, compliance with investment restrictions, daily net asset value computations, account reconciliations and required distributions to fund shareholders. Further, certain of our investment management subsidiaries may act as general partner for various investment partnerships, which may subject them to liability for the partnerships' liabilities. If we fail to properly perform and monitor our operations, our business could suffer and our revenues and income could be adversely affected.

Our products and services are complex and are frequently sold through intermediaries, and a failure to properly perform services or the misrepresentation of our products or services could have an adverse effect on our revenues and income.

Many of our products and services are complex and are frequently sold through intermediaries. In particular, our insurance businesses are reliant on intermediaries to describe and explain their products to potential customers. The intentional or unintentional misrepresentation of our products and services in advertising materials or other external communications, or inappropriate activities by our personnel or an intermediary, could adversely affect our reputation and business prospects, as well as lead to potential regulatory actions or litigation.


 
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Revenues, earnings and income from our Investment Management business operations could be adversely affected if the terms of our asset management agreements are significantly altered or the agreements are terminated, or if certain performance hurdles are not realized.

Our revenues from our investment management business operations are dependent on fees earned under asset management and related services agreements that we have with the clients and funds we advise. Adjusted operating revenues for this segment were $731 million for the year ended December 31, 2017, $627 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, and $622 million for the year ended December 31, 2015 and could be adversely affected if these agreements are altered significantly or terminated in the future. The decline in revenue that might result from alteration or termination of our asset management services agreements could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations or financial condition. Adjusted operating earnings before income taxes for this segment were $248 million for the year ended December 31, 2017, $171 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, and $182 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. In addition, under certain laws, most notably the Investment Company Act and the Investment Advisers Act, advisory contracts may require approval or consent from clients or fund shareholders in the event of an assignment of the contract or a change in control of the investment adviser. Were a transaction to result in an assignment or change in control, the inability to obtain consent or approval from clients or shareholders of mutual funds or other investment funds could result in a significant reduction in advisory fees.

As investment manager for certain private equity funds that we sponsor, we earn both a fixed management fee and performance-based capital allocations, or "carried interest." Our receipt of carried interest is dependent on the fund exceeding a specified investment return hurdle over the life of the fund. The profitability of our investment management activities with respect to these funds depends to a significant extent on our ability to exceed the hurdle rates and receive carried interest. To the extent that we exceed the investment hurdle during the life of the fund, we may receive or accrue carried interest, which is reported as Net investment income and net realized gains (losses) within our Investment Management segment during the period such fees are first earned. If the investment return of a fund were to subsequently decline so that the cumulative return of a fund falls below its specified investment return hurdle, we may have to reverse previously reported carried interest, which would result in a reduction to Net investment income and net realized gains (losses) during the period in which such reversal becomes due. Consequently, a decline in fund performance could require us to reverse previously reported carried interest, which could create volatility in the results we report in our Investment Management segment, and the adverse effects of any such reversals could be material to our results for the period in which they occur. We experienced such losses in the first and second quarters of 2016, for example. As of December 31, 2017, approximately $66 million of previously accrued carried interest would be subject to full or partial reversal in future periods if cumulative fund performance hurdles are not maintained throughout the remaining life of the affected funds.

The valuation of many of our financial instruments includes methodologies, estimations and assumptions that are subject to differing interpretations and could result in changes to investment valuations that may materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

The following financial instruments are carried at fair value in our financial statements: fixed income securities, equity securities, derivatives, embedded derivatives, assets and liabilities related to consolidated investment entities, and separate account assets. We have categorized these instruments into a three-level hierarchy, based on the priority of the inputs to the respective valuation technique. The fair value hierarchy gives the highest priority to quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities (Level 1) and the lowest priority to unobservable inputs (Level 3), while quoted prices in markets that are not active or valuation techniques requiring inputs that are observable for substantially the full term of the asset or liability are Level 2.

Factors considered in estimating fair values of securities, and derivatives and embedded derivatives related to our securities include coupon rate, maturity, principal paydown including prepayments, estimated duration, call provisions, sinking fund requirements, credit rating, industry sector of the issuer and quoted market prices of comparable securities. Factors considered in estimating the fair values of embedded derivatives and derivatives related to product guarantees and index-crediting features (collectively, "guaranteed benefit derivatives") include risk-free interest rates, long-term equity implied volatility, interest rate implied volatility, correlations among mutual funds associated with variable annuity contracts, correlations between interest rates and equity funds and actuarial assumptions such as mortality rates, lapse rates and benefit utilization, as well as the amount and timing of policyholder deposits and partial withdrawals. The impact of our risk of nonperformance is also reflected in the estimated fair value of guaranteed benefit derivatives. Changes in the estimated fair value of embedded derivatives guarantees due to nonperformance risk have had a material effect on our results of operations in past periods. In many situations, inputs used to measure the fair value of an asset or liability may fall into different levels of the fair value hierarchy. In these situations, we will determine the level in which the fair value falls based upon the lowest level input that is significant to the determination of the fair value.

The determinations of fair values are made at a specific point in time, based on available market information and judgments about financial instruments, including estimates of the timing and amounts of expected future cash flows and the credit standing of the

 
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issuer or counterparty. The use of different methodologies and assumptions may have a material effect on the estimated fair value amounts.

During periods of market disruption, including periods of rapidly changing credit spreads or illiquidity, it has been in the past and likely would be in the future difficult to value certain of our securities, such as certain mortgage-backed securities, if trading becomes less frequent and/or market data becomes less observable. There may be certain asset classes that, although currently in active markets with significant observable data, could become illiquid in a difficult financial environment. In such cases, more securities may fall to Level 3 and thus require more subjectivity and management judgment in determining fair value. As such, valuations may include inputs and assumptions that are less observable or require greater estimation, thereby resulting in values that may differ materially from the value at which the investments may be ultimately sold. Further, rapidly changing and unprecedented credit and equity market conditions could materially impact the valuation of securities as reported within the financial statements, and the period-to-period changes in value could vary significantly. Decreases in value could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. As of December 31, 2017, 4%, 93% and 3% of our available-for-sale securities were considered to be Level 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

The determination of the amount of allowances and impairments taken on our investments is subjective and could materially and adversely impact our results of operations or financial condition. Gross unrealized losses may be realized or result in future impairments, resulting in a reduction in net income.

We evaluate investment securities held by us for impairment on a quarterly basis. This review is subjective and requires a high degree of judgment. For fixed income securities held, an impairment loss is recognized if the fair value of the debt security is less than the carrying value and we no longer have the intent to hold the debt security; if it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell the debt security before recovery of the amortized cost basis; or if a credit loss has occurred.

When we do not intend to sell a security in an unrealized loss position, potential credit related other-than-temporary impairments ("OTTI") are considered using a variety of factors, including the length of time and extent to which the fair value has been less than cost, adverse conditions specifically related to the industry, geographic area in which the issuer conducts business, financial condition of the issuer or underlying collateral of a security, payment structure of the security, changes in credit rating of the security by the rating agencies, volatility of the fair value changes and other events that adversely affect the issuer. In addition, we take into account relevant broad market and economic data in making impairment decisions.

As part of the impairment review process, we utilize a variety of assumptions and estimates to make a judgment on how fixed income securities will perform in the future. It is possible that securities in our fixed income portfolio will perform worse than our expectations. There is an ongoing risk that further declines in fair value may occur and additional OTTI may be recorded in future periods, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. Furthermore, historical trends may not be indicative of future impairments or allowances.

Fixed income and equity securities classified as available-for-sale are reported at their estimated fair value. Unrealized gains or losses on available-for-sale securities are recognized as a component of other comprehensive income (loss) and are therefore excluded from net income (loss). The accumulated change in estimated fair value of these available-for-sale securities is recognized in net income (loss) when the gain or loss is realized upon the sale of the security or in the event that the decline in estimated fair value is determined to be other-than-temporary and an impairment charge to earnings is taken. Such realized losses or impairments may have a material adverse effect on our net income (loss) in a particular interim or annual period. For example, we recorded OTTI of $21 million, $34 million, and $83 million in net realized capital losses for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.

Our participation in a securities lending program and a repurchase program subjects us to potential liquidity and other risks.

We engage in a securities lending program whereby certain securities from our portfolio are loaned to other institutions for short periods of time. Initial collateral, primarily cash, is required at a rate of 102% of the market value of the loaned securities. For certain transactions, a lending agent may be used and the agent may retain some or all of the collateral deposited by the borrower and transfer the remaining collateral to us. Collateral retained by the agent is invested in liquid assets on our behalf. The market value of the loaned securities is monitored on a daily basis with additional collateral obtained or refunded as the market value of the loaned securities fluctuates.

We also participate in a repurchase agreement program whereby we sell fixed income securities to a third party, primarily major brokerage firms or commercial banks, with a concurrent agreement to repurchase those same securities at a determined future date. During the term of the repurchase agreements, cash or other types of permitted collateral provided to us is sufficient to allow us to fund substantially all of the cost of purchasing replacement assets in the event of counterparty default (i.e., the sold securities

 
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are not returned to us on the scheduled repurchase date). Cash proceeds received by us under the repurchase program are typically invested in fixed income securities but may in certain circumstances be available to us for liquidity or other purposes prior to the scheduled repurchase date. The repurchase of securities or our inability to enter into new repurchase agreements would reduce the amount of such cash collateral available to us. Market conditions on or after the repurchase date may limit our ability to enter into new agreements at a time when we need access to additional cash collateral for investment or liquidity purposes.

For both securities lending and repurchase transactions, in some cases, the maturity of the securities held as invested collateral (i.e., securities that we have purchased with cash collateral received) may exceed the term of the related securities on loan and the estimated fair value may fall below the amount of cash received as collateral and invested. If we are required to return significant amounts of cash collateral on short notice and we are forced to sell securities to meet the return obligation, we may have difficulty selling such collateral that is invested in securities in a timely manner, be forced to sell securities in a volatile or illiquid market for less than we otherwise would have been able to realize under normal market conditions, or both. In addition, under adverse capital market and economic conditions, liquidity may broadly deteriorate, which would further restrict our ability to sell securities. If we decrease the amount of our securities lending and repurchase activities over time, the amount of net investment income generated by these activities will also likely decline. See "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Securities Lending."

Differences between actual claims experience and reserving assumptions may adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition.

We establish and hold reserves to pay future policy benefits and claims. Our reserves do not represent an exact calculation of liability, but rather are actuarial or statistical estimates based on data and models that include many assumptions and projections, which are inherently uncertain and involve the exercise of significant judgment, including assumptions as to the levels and/or timing of receipt or payment of premiums, benefits, claims, expenses, interest credits, investment results (including equity market returns), retirement, mortality, morbidity and persistency. We periodically review the adequacy of reserves and the underlying assumptions. We cannot, however, determine with precision the amounts that we will pay for, or the timing of payment of, actual benefits, claims and expenses or whether the assets supporting our policy liabilities, together with future premiums, will grow to the level assumed prior to payment of benefits or claims. If actual experience differs significantly from assumptions or estimates, reserves may not be adequate. If we conclude that our reserves, together with future premiums, are insufficient to cover future policy benefits and claims, we would be required to increase our reserves and incur income statement charges for the period in which we make the determination, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We may face significant losses if mortality rates, morbidity rates, persistency rates or other underwriting assumptions differ significantly from our pricing expectations.

We set prices for many of our insurance, employee benefits and annuity products based upon expected claims and payment patterns, using assumptions for mortality rates, or likelihood of death, and morbidity rates, or likelihood of sickness, of our policyholders. In addition to the potential effect of natural or man-made disasters, significant changes in mortality or morbidity could emerge gradually over time due to changes in the natural environment, the health habits of the insured population, technologies and treatments for disease or disability, the economic environment, or other factors. The long-term profitability of such products depends upon how our actual mortality rates, and to a lesser extent actual morbidity rates, compare to our pricing assumptions. In addition, prolonged or severe adverse mortality or morbidity experience could result in increased reinsurance costs, and ultimately, reinsurers might not offer coverage at all. If we are unable to maintain our current level of reinsurance or purchase new reinsurance protection in amounts that we consider sufficient, we would have to accept an increase in our net risk exposures, revise our pricing to reflect higher reinsurance premiums, or otherwise modify our product offering.

Pricing of our insurance, employee benefits and annuity products is also based in part upon expected persistency of these products, which is the probability that a policy will remain in force from one period to the next. Persistency of our annuity products may be significantly and adversely impacted by the increasing value of guaranteed minimum benefits contained in many of our variable annuity products due to poor equity market performance or extended periods of low interest rates as well as other factors. The minimum interest rate guarantees in our fixed annuities may also be more valuable in extended periods of low interest rates. Persistency could be adversely affected generally by developments adversely affecting customer perception of us. Results may also vary based on differences between actual and expected premium deposits and withdrawals for these products. Many of our deferred annuity products also contain optional benefits that may be exercised at certain points within a contract. We set prices for such products using assumptions for the rate of election of deferred annuity living benefits and other optional benefits offered to our contract owners. The profitability of our deferred annuity products may be less than expected, depending upon how actual contract owner decisions to elect or delay the utilization of such benefits compare to our pricing assumptions. The development of a secondary market for life insurance, including stranger-owned life insurance, life settlements or "viaticals" and investor-owned life insurance, and the potential development of third-party investor strategies in the annuities business, could also adversely affect

 
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the profitability of existing business and our pricing assumptions for new business. Actual persistency that is lower than our persistency assumptions could have an adverse effect on profitability, especially in the early years of a policy, primarily because we would be required to accelerate the amortization of expenses we defer in connection with the acquisition of the policy. Actual persistency that is higher than our persistency assumptions could have an adverse effect on profitability in the later years of a block of business because the anticipated claims experience is higher in these later years. If actual persistency is significantly different from that assumed in our current reserving assumptions, our reserves for future policy benefits may prove to be inadequate. Although some of our products permit us to increase premiums or adjust other charges and credits during the life of the policy, the adjustments permitted under the terms of the policies may not be sufficient to maintain profitability. Many of our products, however, do not permit us to increase premiums or adjust charges and credits during the life of the policy or during the initial guarantee term of the policy. Even if permitted under the policy, we may not be able or willing to raise premiums or adjust other charges for regulatory or competitive reasons.

Pricing of our products is also based on long-term assumptions regarding interest rates, investment returns and operating costs. Management establishes target returns for each product based upon these factors, the other underwriting assumptions noted above and the average amount of regulatory and rating agency capital that we must hold to support in-force contracts. We monitor and manage pricing and sales to achieve target returns. Profitability from new business emerges over a period of years, depending on the nature and life of the product, and is subject to variability as actual results may differ from pricing assumptions. Our profitability depends on multiple factors, including the comparison of actual mortality, morbidity and persistency rates and policyholder behavior to our assumptions; the adequacy of investment margins; our management of market and credit risks associated with investments; our ability to maintain premiums and contract charges at a level adequate to cover mortality, benefits and contract administration expenses; the adequacy of contract charges and availability of revenue from providers of investment options offered in variable contracts to cover the cost of product features and other expenses; and management of operating costs and expenses.

Unfavorable developments in interest rates, credit spreads and policyholder behavior can result in adverse financial consequences related to our stable value products, and our hedge program and risk mitigation features may not successfully offset these consequences.

We offer stable value products primarily as a fixed rate, liquid asset allocation option for employees of our plan sponsor customers within the defined contribution funding plans offered by our Retirement business. Although a majority of these products do not provide for a guaranteed minimum credited rate, a portion of this book of business provides a guaranteed annual credited rate (currently up to three percent) on the invested assets in addition to enabling participants the right to withdraw and transfer funds at book value.

The sensitivity of our statutory reserves and surplus established for the stable value products to changes in interest rates, credit spreads and policyholder behavior will vary depending on the magnitude of these changes, as well as on the book value of assets, the market value of assets, the guaranteed credited rates available to customers and other product features. Realization or re-measurement of these risks may result in an increase in the reserves for stable value products, and could materially and adversely affect our financial position or results of operations. In particular, in extended low interest rate environments, we bear exposure to the risk that reserves must be added to fund book value withdrawals and transfers when guaranteed annual credited rates exceed the earned rate on invested assets. In a rising interest rate environment, we are exposed to the risk of financial disintermediation through a potential increase in the level of book value withdrawals.

Although we maintain a hedge program and other risk mitigating features to offset these risks, such program and features may not operate as intended or may not be fully effective, and we may remain exposed to such risks.

We may be required to accelerate the amortization of DAC, deferred sales inducements ("DSI") and/or VOBA, any of which could adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition.

DAC represents policy acquisition costs that have been capitalized. DSI represents benefits paid to contract owners for a specified period that are incremental to the amounts we credit on similar contracts without sales inducements and are higher than the contract's expected ongoing crediting rates for periods after the inducement. VOBA represents outstanding value of in-force business acquired. Capitalized costs associated with DAC, DSI and VOBA are amortized in proportion to actual and estimated gross profits, gross premiums or gross revenues depending on the type of contract. On an ongoing basis, we test the DAC, DSI and VOBA recorded on our balance sheets to determine if these amounts are recoverable under current assumptions. In addition, we regularly review the estimates and assumptions underlying DAC, DSI and VOBA. The projection of estimated gross profits, gross premiums or gross revenues requires the use of certain assumptions, principally related to separate account fund returns in excess of amounts credited to policyholders, policyholder behavior such as surrender, lapse and annuitization rates, interest margin, expense margin, mortality, future impairments and hedging costs. Estimating future gross profits, gross premiums or gross revenues is a complex process requiring considerable judgment and the forecasting of events well into the future. If these assumptions prove to be

 
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inaccurate, if an estimation technique used to estimate future gross profits, gross premiums or gross revenues is changed, or if significant or sustained equity market declines occur and/or persist, we could be required to accelerate the amortization of DAC, DSI and VOBA, which would result in a charge to earnings. Such adjustments could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Reinsurance subjects us to the credit risk of reinsurers and may not be available, affordable or adequate to protect us against losses.

We cede life insurance policies and annuity contracts or certain risks related to life insurance policies and annuity contracts to other insurance companies using various forms of reinsurance, including coinsurance, modified coinsurance, funds withheld, monthly renewable term and yearly renewable term. However, we remain liable to the underlying policyholders, even if the reinsurer defaults on its obligations with respect to the ceded business. If a reinsurer fails to meet its obligations under the reinsurance contract, we will be forced to bear the entire liability for claims on the reinsured policies. In addition, a reinsurer insolvency may cause us to lose our reserve credits on the ceded business, in which case we would be required to establish additional statutory reserves.

In addition, if a reinsurer does not have accredited reinsurer status, or if a currently accredited reinsurer loses that status, in any state where we are licensed to do business, we are not entitled to take credit for reinsurance in that state if the reinsurer does not post sufficient qualifying collateral (either qualifying assets in a qualifying trust or qualifying LOCs). In this event, we would be required to establish additional statutory reserves. Similarly, the credit for reinsurance taken by our insurance subsidiaries under reinsurance agreements with affiliated and unaffiliated non-accredited reinsurers is, under certain conditions, dependent upon the non-accredited reinsurer’s ability to obtain and provide sufficient qualifying assets in a qualifying trust or qualifying LOCs issued by qualifying lending banks. In order to control expenses associated with LOCs, some of our affiliated reinsurers have established and will continue to pursue alternative sources for qualifying reinsurance collateral. If these steps are unsuccessful, or if unaffiliated non-accredited reinsurers that have reinsured business from our insurance subsidiaries are unsuccessful in obtaining sources of qualifying reinsurance collateral, our insurance subsidiaries might not be able to obtain full statutory reserve credit. Loss of reserve credit by an insurance subsidiary would require it to establish additional statutory reserves and would result in a decrease in the level of its capital, which could have a material adverse effect on our profitability, results of operations and financial condition.

Our reinsurance recoverable balances are periodically assessed for uncollectability and there were no significant allowances for uncollectible reinsurance as of December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016. The collectability of reinsurance recoverables is subject to uncertainty arising from a number of factors, including whether the insured losses meet the qualifying conditions of the reinsurance contract, whether reinsurers or their affiliates have the financial capacity and willingness to make payments under the terms of the reinsurance contract, and the degree to which our reinsurance balances are secured by sufficient qualifying assets in qualifying trusts or qualifying LOCs issued by qualifying lender banks. Although a substantial portion of our reinsurance exposure is secured by assets held in trusts or LOCs, the inability to collect a material recovery from a reinsurer could have a material adverse effect on our profitability, results of operations and financial condition. For additional information regarding our unsecured reinsurance recoverable balances, see "Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk—Market Risk Related to Credit Risk" in Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

The premium rates and other fees that we charge are based, in part, on the assumption that reinsurance will be available at a certain cost. Some of our reinsurance contracts contain provisions that limit the reinsurer’s ability to increase rates on in-force business; however, some do not. If a reinsurer raises the rates that it charges on a block of in-force business, in some instances, we will not be able to pass the increased costs onto our customers and our profitability will be negatively impacted. Additionally, such a rate increase could result in our recapturing of the business, which may result in a need to maintain additional reserves, reduce reinsurance receivables and expose us to greater risks. While in recent years, we have faced a number of rate increase actions on in-force business, our management of those actions has not had a material effect on our results of operations or financial condition. However, there can be no assurance that the outcome of future rate increase actions would similarly result in no material effect. In addition, if reinsurers raise the rates that they charge on new business, we may be forced to raise our premiums, which could have a negative impact on our competitive position.

A decrease in the RBC ratio (as a result of a reduction in statutory surplus and/or increase in RBC requirements) of our insurance subsidiaries could result in increased scrutiny by insurance regulators and rating agencies and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The NAIC has established regulations that provide minimum capitalization requirements based on RBC formulas for insurance companies. The RBC formula for life insurance companies establishes capital requirements relating to asset, insurance, interest rate and business risks, including equity, interest rate and expense recovery risks associated with variable annuities and group annuities that contain guaranteed minimum death and living benefits. Each of our insurance subsidiaries is subject to RBC standards

 
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and/or other minimum statutory capital and surplus requirements imposed under the laws of its respective jurisdiction of domicile. For additional discussion of possible updates to how the NAIC calculates RBC ratios, see "Item 1. Business— Regulation —Regulation Affecting Voya Financial, Inc.—Financial Regulation—Risk-Based Capital."

In any particular year, statutory surplus amounts and RBC ratios may increase or decrease depending on a variety of factors, including the amount of statutory income or losses generated by the insurance subsidiary (which itself is sensitive to equity market and credit market conditions), the amount of additional capital such insurer must hold to support business growth, changes in equity market levels, the value and credit ratings of certain fixed-income and equity securities in its investment portfolio, the value of certain derivative instruments that do not receive hedge accounting and changes in interest rates, as well as changes to the RBC formulas and the interpretation of the NAIC’s instructions with respect to RBC calculation methodologies. In addition, as further described below under "Changes in tax laws and interpretations of existing tax law could increase our tax costs, impact the ability of our insurance company subsidiaries to make distributions to Voya Financial, Inc. or make our insurance, annuity and investment product less attractive to customers," the federal tax legislation signed into law on December 22, 2017 ("Tax Reform") has caused us to write down the carrying value of our deferred tax asset as of December 31, 2017, which has, among other effects, result in a lowering of our RBC ratios. In addition, if the NAIC were to update the RBC formula for reduced corporate tax rates, we estimate our combined RBC ratio would be lower by 60 to 70 RBC percentage points. Many of these factors are outside of our control. Our financial strength and credit ratings are significantly influenced by statutory surplus amounts and RBC ratios. In addition, rating agencies may implement changes to their own internal models, which differ from the RBC capital model, that have the effect of increasing or decreasing the amount of statutory capital we or our insurance subsidiaries should hold relative to the rating agencies' expectations. In extreme scenarios of equity market declines, sustained periods of low interest rates, rapidly rising interest rates or credit spread widening, the amount of additional statutory reserves that an insurance subsidiary is required to hold for certain types of GICs and variable annuity guarantees and stable value contracts may increase at a greater than linear rate. This increase in reserves would decrease the statutory surplus available for use in calculating the subsidiary's RBC ratios. To the extent that an insurance subsidiary's RBC ratios are deemed to be insufficient, we may seek to take actions either to increase the capitalization of the insurer or to reduce the capitalization requirements. If we were unable to accomplish such actions, the rating agencies may view this as a reason for a ratings downgrade.

The failure of any of our insurance subsidiaries to meet its applicable RBC requirements or minimum capital and surplus requirements could subject it to further examination or corrective action imposed by insurance regulators, including limitations on its ability to write additional business, supervision by regulators or seizure or liquidation. Any corrective action imposed could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. A decline in RBC ratios, whether or not it results in a failure to meet applicable RBC requirements, may still limit the ability of an insurance subsidiary to make dividends or distributions to us, could result in a loss of customers or new business, and could be a factor in causing ratings agencies to downgrade the insurer’s financial strength ratings, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Our statutory reserve financings may be subject to cost increases and new financings may be subject to limited market capacity.

We have financing facilities in place for our previously written business and have remaining capacity in existing facilities to support writings through the end of 2017 or later. However certain of these facilities mature prior to the run off of the reserve liability so that we are subject to cost increases or unavailability of capacity upon the refinancing. If we are unable to refinance such facilities, or if the cost of such facilities were to significantly increase, we could be required to obtain other forms of equity or debt financing in order to prevent a reduction in our statutory capitalization. We could incur higher operating or tax costs if the cost of these facilities were to significantly increase or if the cost of replacement financing were significantly higher. For more details, see "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Credit Facilities and Subsidiary Credit Support Arrangements."

A significant portion of our institutional funding originates from two Federal Home Loan Banks, which subjects us to liquidity risks associated with sourcing a large concentration of our funding from two counterparties.

A significant portion of our institutional funding agreements originates from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines (each an "FHLB"). As of December 31, 2017 and 2016, for our continuing operations, we had $501 million and $300 million of non-putable funding agreements in force, respectively, in exchange for eligible collateral in the form of cash, mortgage backed securities, commercial real estate and U.S. Treasury securities. In addition, for our business held for sale, we had $602 million as of December 31, 2017 and no outstanding balance as of December 31, 2016 related to non-putable funding agreements in force, which we are required to unwind in connection with the Transaction.

Should the FHLBs choose to change their definition of eligible collateral, change the lendable value against such collateral or if the market value of the pledged collateral decreases in value due to changes in interest rates or credit ratings, we may be required

 
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to post additional amounts of collateral in the form of cash or other eligible collateral. Additionally, we may be required to find other sources to replace this funding if we lose access to FHLB funding. This could occur if our creditworthiness falls below either of the FHLB's requirements or if legislative or other political actions cause changes to the FHLBs' mandate or to the eligibility of life insurance companies to be members of the FHLB system.

Any failure to protect the confidentiality of customer information could adversely affect our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operation.

Our businesses and relationships with customers are dependent upon our ability to maintain the security and confidentiality of our and our customers’ personal information, trade secrets and other confidential information (including customer transactional data and personal information about our customers, the employees and customers of our customers, and our own employees). We are also subject to numerous federal and state laws regarding the privacy and security of personal information, which laws vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Many of our employees and contractors and the representatives of our broker-dealer subsidiaries have access to and routinely process personal information in computerized, paper and other forms. We rely on various internal policies, procedures and controls to protect the security and confidentiality of personal and confidential information that is accessible to, or in the possession of, us or our employees, contractors and representatives. It is possible that an employee, contractor or representative could, intentionally or unintentionally, disclose or misappropriate personal information or other confidential information. If we fail to maintain adequate internal controls, including any failure to implement newly-required additional controls, or if our employees, contractors or representatives fail to comply with our policies and procedures, misappropriation or intentional or unintentional inappropriate disclosure or misuse of personal information or confidential customer information could occur. Such internal control inadequacies or non-compliance could materially damage our reputation, result in regulatory action or lead to civil or criminal penalties, which, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, results of operations and financial condition. For additional risks related to our potential failure to protect confidential information, see "—Interruption or other operational failures in telecommunication, information technology, and other operational systems, including as a result of human error, could harm our business," and "—A failure to maintain the security, integrity, confidentiality or privacy of our telecommunication, information technology or other operational systems, or the sensitive data residing on such systems, could harm our business."

Interruption or other operational failures in telecommunication, information technology and other operational systems, including as a result of human error, could harm our business.

We are highly dependent on automated and information technology systems to record and process both our internal transactions and transactions involving our customers, as well as to calculate reserves, value invested assets and complete certain other components of our U.S. GAAP and statutory financial statements. We could experience a degradation, error, disruption or failure of one or more of these systems, our employees or agents could fail to monitor and implement enhancements or other modifications to a system in a timely and effective manner, or our employees or agents could fail to complete all necessary data reconciliation or other conversion controls when implementing a new system or application or implementing modifications to an existing system or application. Despite the implementation of security and back-up measures, our information technology systems may remain vulnerable to disruptions. We may also be subject to disruptions of any of these systems arising from events that are wholly or partially beyond our control (for example, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, epidemics, computer viruses and electrical/telecommunications outages). All of these risks are also applicable where we rely on outside vendors to provide services to us and our customers and third party service providers, including those to whom we outsource certain of our functions. The failure of any one of these systems for any reason, or errors made by our employees or agents, could in each case cause significant interruptions to our operations, which could harm our reputation, adversely affect our internal control over financial reporting, or have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Central banks in Europe and Japan have pursued negative interest rate policies in the past and, while current conditions in the U.S. have made this less likely, the FOMC has not completely ruled out the possibility that the Federal Reserve would adopt a negative interest rate policy for the United States at some point in the future if circumstances so warranted. Because negative interest rates are largely unprecedented, there is uncertainty as to whether the technology used by financial institutions, including us, could operate correctly in such a scenario. Should negative interest rates emerge, our hardware or software, or the hardware or software used by our contractual counterparties and financial services providers, may not function as expected or at all. In such a case, our financial results and our operations could be adversely affected.

A failure to maintain the security, integrity, confidentiality or privacy of our telecommunication, information technology and other operational systems, or the sensitive data residing on such systems, could harm our business.

We are highly dependent on automated telecommunications, information technology and other operational systems to record and process our internal transactions and transactions involving our customers. Despite the implementation of security and back-up

 
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measures, our information technology systems may be vulnerable to physical or electronic intrusions, viruses or other attacks, programming errors, and similar disruptions. Businesses in the United States and in other countries have increasingly become the targets of "cyberattacks," "hacking" or similar illegal or unauthorized intrusions into computer systems and networks. Such events are often highly publicized, result in the theft of significant amounts of information and funds from online financial accounts, and cause extensive damage to the reputation of the targeted business, in addition to leading to significant expenses associated with investigation, remediation and customer protection measures. Like others in our industry, we are subject to cyber incidents in the ordinary course of our business. Although we seek to limit our vulnerability to such events through technological and other means, it is not possible to anticipate or prevent all potential forms of cyberattack or to guarantee our ability to fully defend against all such attacks. In addition, due to the sensitive nature of much of the financial and other personal information we maintain, we may be at particular risk for targeting.

We retain personal and confidential information and financial accounts in our information technology systems, and we rely on industry standard commercial technologies to maintain the security of those systems. Anyone who is able to circumvent our security measures and penetrate our information technology systems could access, view, misappropriate, alter, or delete information in the systems, including personal information and proprietary business information, and misappropriate funds from online financial accounts. Information security risks also exist with respect to the use of portable electronic devices, such as laptops, which are particularly vulnerable to loss and theft. The laws of most states require that individuals be notified if a security breach compromises the security or confidentiality of their personal information. Any attack or other breach of the security of our information technology systems that compromises personal information or that otherwise results in unauthorized disclosure or use of personal information, could damage our reputation in the marketplace, deter purchases of our products, subject us to heightened regulatory scrutiny, sanctions, significant civil and criminal liability or other adverse legal consequences and require us to incur significant technical, legal and other expenses.

Our third party service providers, including third parties to whom we outsource certain of our functions are also subject to the risks outlined above, any one of which could result in our incurring substantial costs and other negative consequences, including a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The NAIC, numerous state and federal regulatory bodies and self-regulatory organizations like FINRA are focused on cybersecurity standards both for the financial services industry and for all companies that collect personal information, and have proposed legislation, regulations, and issued guidance regarding cybersecurity standards and protocols. For example, in February 2017, the NYDFS issued final Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Companies that would require banks, insurance companies, and other financial services institutions regulated by the NYDFS, including us, to establish and maintain a cybersecurity program "designed to protect consumers and ensure the safety and soundness of New York State’s financial services industry."  The regulation became effective on March 1, 2017 and has transition periods ranging up to two years from that date.  We continue to evaluate this regulation and its potential impact on our operations, but depending on its implementation, we and other financial services companies may be required to incur significant expense in order to meet its requirements. During 2018, we expect cybersecurity risk management, prioritization and reporting to continue to be an area of significant focus by governments, regulatory bodies and self-regulatory organizations at all levels.

Changes in accounting standards could adversely impact our reported results of operations and our reported financial condition.

Our financial statements are subject to the application of U.S. GAAP, which is periodically revised or expanded. Accordingly, from time to time we are required to adopt new or revised accounting standards issued by recognized authoritative bodies, including the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB"). It is possible that future accounting standards we are required to adopt could change the current accounting treatment that we apply to our consolidated financial statements and that such changes could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

FASB is working on several projects which could result in significant changes in U.S. GAAP, including how we account for our insurance contracts and financial instruments and how our financial statements are presented. The changes to U.S. GAAP could affect the way we account for and report significant areas of our business, could impose special demands on us in the areas of governance, employee training, internal controls and disclosure and will likely affect how we manage our business.


 
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We may be required to reduce the carrying value of our deferred income tax asset or establish an additional valuation allowance against the deferred income tax asset if: (i) there are significant changes to federal tax policy, (ii) our business does not generate sufficient taxable income; (iii) there is a significant decline in the fair market value of our investment portfolio; or (iv) our tax planning strategies are not feasible. Reductions in the carrying value of our deferred income tax asset or increases in the deferred tax valuation allowance could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Deferred income tax represents the tax effect of the differences between the book and tax basis of assets and liabilities. Deferred tax assets represent the tax benefit of future deductible temporary differences, operating loss carryforwards and tax credits carryforward. We periodically evaluate and test our ability to realize our deferred tax assets. Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance if, based on the weight of evidence, it is more likely than not that some portion, or all, of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. In assessing the more likely than not criteria, we consider future taxable income as well as prudent tax planning strategies. In 2017, Tax Reform resulted in a reduction of an estimated $679 million in our net deferred tax asset position as of December 31, 2017, which includes $146 million associated with assets held for sale, and is reflected in income from continuing operations. This reduction is substantially all due to the reduction in the U.S. federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. This estimate includes the effect of a reduction in our deferred tax liability within AOCI. Exclusive of the AOCI amount, the reduction in our deferred tax asset position is estimated at $1 billion. In addition, for the year ended December 31, 2017, we had a loss of $692 million of deferred tax assets related to businesses held for sale in connection with the Transaction.

The final impact to our deferred taxes could be materially adversely affected by future clarifications in, or guidance related to, Tax Reform. In addition, changes in facts, circumstances, tax law, including a further reduction in federal corporate tax rates or the elimination of the dividends received deduction may result in a reduction in the carrying value of our deferred income tax asset or an increase in the valuation allowance. A reduction in the carrying value of our deferred income tax asset or an increase in the valuation allowance could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations and financial condition. Tax Reform also resulted in a reduction in the combined statutory deferred tax asset of our insurance companies, reducing their combined RBC ratio. Future changes or clarifications in tax law could cause further reductions to the statutory deferred tax assets and RBC ratios of our insurance subsidiaries. A reduction in the statutory deferred tax assets or RBC ratios of our insurance subsidiaries could have a material adverse effect on the Company's results of operations and financial condition.

As of December 31, 2017, we have an estimated net deferred tax asset balance of $781 million. Recognition of this asset has been based on projections of future taxable income and on tax planning related to unrealized gains on investment assets. To the extent that our estimates of future taxable income decrease or if actual future taxable income is less than the projected amounts, the recognition of the deferred tax asset may be reduced. Also, to the extent unrealized gains decrease, the tax benefit may be reduced. Any reduction, including a reduction associated with a decrease in tax rate, in the deferred tax asset may be recorded as a tax expense in tax on continuing operations based on the intra period tax allocation rules described in ASC Topic 740, "Income Taxes."

Our ability to use certain beneficial U.S. tax attributes is subject to limitations.

Section 382 ("Section 382") and Section 383 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Internal Revenue Code"), operate as anti-abuse rules, the general purpose of which is to prevent trafficking in tax losses and credits, but which can apply without regard to whether a "loss trafficking" transaction occurs or is intended. These rules are triggered by the occurrence of an ownership change—generally defined as when the ownership of a company, or its parent, changes by more than 50% (measured by value) on a cumulative basis in any three year period ("Section 382 event"). If triggered, the amount of the taxable income for any post-change year which may be offset by a pre-change loss is subject to an annual limitation. Generally speaking, this limitation is derived by multiplying the fair market value of the Company immediately before the date of the Section 382 event by the applicable federal long-term tax-exempt rate. Although we experienced a Section 382 event during the quarter ended March 31, 2014, the deferred tax asset, the valuation allowance, and the admitted deferred tax asset did not change as a result of this event. As of December 31, 2017 the Company has net operating losses and capital losses of approximately $2.8 billion and tax credits of approximately $190 million subject to the annual Section 382 limitations. As part of our participation in the IRS’s Compliance Assurance Process ("CAP"), in December 2014, we entered into an Issue Resolution Agreement ("IA") with the IRS relating to the Internal Revenue Code Section 382 calculation of the annual limitation on the use of certain of the Company’s federal tax attributes that will apply as a consequence of the Section 382 event experienced by the Company in March 2014. We do not expect the annual limitation to impact our ability to utilize the losses or credits. However, the matters addressed by the IA may be re-visited by the IRS in connection with a tax audit or other examination or inquiry of the Company’s tax position. If the IRS were to revisit and successfully challenge the Company's Section 382 calculations, this could impact our ability to obtain tax benefits from existing attributes as well as future losses and deductions.


 
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Our business may be negatively affected by adverse publicity or increased governmental and regulatory actions with respect to us, other well-known companies or the financial services industry in general.

Governmental scrutiny with respect to matters relating to compensation, compliance with regulatory and tax requirements and other business practices in the financial services industry has increased dramatically in the past several years and has resulted in more aggressive and intense regulatory supervision and the application and enforcement of more stringent standards. The financial crisis of 2008-09 and current political and public sentiment regarding financial institutions has resulted in a significant amount of adverse press coverage, as well as adverse statements or charges by regulators and elected officials. Press coverage and other public statements that assert some form of wrongdoing, regardless of the factual basis for the assertions being made, could result in some type of inquiry or investigation by regulators, legislators and/or law enforcement officials or in lawsuits. Responding to these inquiries, investigations and lawsuits, regardless of the ultimate outcome of the proceeding, is time-consuming and expensive and can divert the time and effort of our senior management from its business. Future legislation or regulation or governmental views on compensation may result in us altering compensation practices in ways that could adversely affect our ability to attract and retain talented employees. Adverse publicity, governmental scrutiny, pending or future investigations by regulators or law enforcement agencies and/or legal proceedings involving us or our affiliates, could also have a negative impact on our reputation and on the morale and performance of employees, and on business retention and new sales, which could adversely affect our businesses and results of operations.

Litigation may adversely affect our profitability and financial condition.

We are, and may be in the future, subject to legal actions in the ordinary course of insurance, investment management and other business operations. Some of these legal proceedings may be brought on behalf of a class. Plaintiffs may seek large or indeterminate amounts of damage, including compensatory, liquidated, treble and/or punitive damages. Our reserves for litigation may prove to be inadequate and insurance coverage may not be available or may be declined for certain matters. It is possible that our results of operations or cash flows in a particular interim or annual period could be materially affected by an ultimate unfavorable resolution of pending litigation depending, in part, upon the results of operations or cash flows for such period. Given the large or indeterminate amounts sometimes sought, and the inherent unpredictability of litigation, it is also possible that in certain cases an ultimate unfavorable resolution of one or more pending litigation matters could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.

A loss of, or significant change in, key product distribution relationships could materially affect sales.

We distribute certain products under agreements with affiliated distributors and other members of the financial services industry that are not affiliated with us. We compete with other financial institutions to attract and retain commercial relationships in each of these channels, and our success in competing for sales through these distribution intermediaries depends upon factors such as the amount of sales commissions and fees we pay, the breadth of our product offerings, the strength of our brand, our perceived stability and financial strength ratings, and the marketing and services we provide to, and the strength of the relationships we maintain with, individual distributors. An interruption or significant change in certain key relationships could materially affect our ability to market our products and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Distributors may elect to alter, reduce or terminate their distribution relationships with us, including for such reasons as changes in our distribution strategy, adverse developments in our business, adverse rating agency actions or concerns about market-related risks. Alternatively, we may terminate one or more distribution agreements due to, for example, a loss of confidence in, or a change in control of, one of the distributors, which could reduce sales.

We are also at risk that key distribution partners may merge or change their business models in ways that affect how our products are sold, either in response to changing business priorities or as a result of shifts in regulatory supervision or potential changes in state and federal laws and regulations regarding standards of conduct applicable to distributors when providing investment advice to retail and other customers.

The occurrence of natural or man-made disasters may adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We are exposed to various risks arising from natural disasters, including hurricanes, climate change, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes and pandemic disease, as well as man-made disasters and core infrastructure failures, including acts of terrorism, military actions, power grid and telephone/internet infrastructure failures, which may adversely affect AUM, results of operations and financial condition by causing, among other things:

losses in our investment portfolio due to significant volatility in global financial markets or the failure of counterparties to perform;


 
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changes in the rate of mortality, claims, withdrawals, lapses and surrenders of existing policies and contracts, as well as sales of new policies and contracts; and

disruption of our normal business operations due to catastrophic property damage, loss of life, or disruption of public and private infrastructure, including communications and financial services.

There can be no assurance that our business continuation and crisis management plan or insurance coverages would be effective in mitigating any negative effects on operations or profitability in the event of a disaster, nor can we provide assurance that the business continuation and crisis management plans of the independent distributors and outside vendors on whom we rely for certain services and products would be effective in mitigating any negative effects on the provision of such services and products in the event of a disaster.

Claims resulting from a catastrophic event could also materially harm the financial condition of our reinsurers, which would increase the probability of default on reinsurance recoveries. Our ability to write new business could also be adversely affected.

In addition, the jurisdictions in which our insurance subsidiaries are admitted to transact business require life insurers doing business within the jurisdiction to participate in guaranty associations, which raise funds to pay contractual benefits owed pursuant to insurance policies issued by impaired, insolvent or failed insurers. It is possible that a catastrophic event could require extraordinary assessments on our insurance companies, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The loss of key personnel could negatively affect our financial results and impair our ability to implement our business strategy.

Our success depends in large part on our ability to attract and retain key people. Intense competition exists for key employees with demonstrated ability, and we may be unable to hire or retain such employees. Our key employees include investment professionals, such as portfolio managers, sales and distribution professionals, actuarial and finance professionals and information technology professionals. While we do not believe that the departure of any particular individual would cause a material adverse effect on our operations, the unexpected loss of several of our senior management, portfolio managers or other key employees could have a material adverse effect on our operations due to the loss of their skills, knowledge of our business, and their years of industry experience as well as the potential difficulty of promptly finding qualified replacement employees. We also rely upon the knowledge and experience of employees involved in functions that require technical expertise in order to provide for sound operational controls for our overall enterprise, including the accurate and timely preparation of required regulatory filings and U.S. GAAP and statutory financial statements and operation of internal controls. A loss of such employees could adversely impact our ability to execute key operational functions and could adversely affect our operational controls, including internal controls over financial reporting.

If we experience difficulties arising from outsourcing relationships, our ability to conduct business may be compromised, which may have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

As we continue to focus on reducing the expense necessary to support our operations, we have increasingly used outsourcing strategies for a significant portion of our information technology and business functions. If third-party providers experience disruptions or do not perform as anticipated, or we experience problems with a transition, we may experience system failures, disruptions, or other operational difficulties, an inability to meet obligations, including, but not limited to, obligations to policyholders, customers, business partners and distribution partners, increased costs and a loss of business, and such events may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. For other risks associated with our outsourcing of certain functions, see "—Interruption or other operational failures in telecommunication, information technology, and other operational systems, including as a result of human error, could harm our business," and "—A failure to maintain the security, integrity, confidentiality or privacy of our telecommunication, information technology or other operational systems, or the sensitive data residing on such systems, could harm our business."

We may not be able to protect our intellectual property and may be subject to infringement claims.

We rely on a combination of contracts and copyright, trademark, patent and trade secret laws to protect our intellectual property. Although we endeavor to protect our rights, third parties may infringe upon or misappropriate our intellectual property. We may have to litigate to enforce and protect our copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets or to determine their scope, validity or enforceability. This would represent a diversion of resources that may be significant and our efforts may not prove successful. The inability to secure or protect our intellectual property could have a material adverse effect on our business and our ability to compete.


 
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We may also be subject to claims by third parties for (i) patent, trademark or copyright infringement, (ii) breach of contractual patent, trademark or copyright license rights, or (iii) misappropriation of trade secrets. Any such claims and any resulting litigation could result in significant expense and liability for damages. If we were found to have infringed or misappropriated a third-party intellectual property right, we could in some circumstances be enjoined from providing certain products or services to our customers or from utilizing and benefiting from certain methods, processes, technology copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets or licenses. Alternatively, we could be required to enter into costly licensing arrangements with third parties or implement a costly work around. Any of these scenarios could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

We may incur further liabilities in respect of our defined benefit retirement plans for our employees if the value of plan assets is not sufficient to cover potential obligations, including as a result of differences between results underlying actuarial assumptions and models.

We operate various defined benefit retirement plans covering a significant number of our employees. The liability recognized in our consolidated balance sheet in respect of our defined benefit plans is the present value of the defined benefit obligations at the balance sheet date, less the fair value of each plan’s assets. We determine our defined benefit plan obligations based on external actuarial models and calculations using the projected unit credit method. Inherent in these actuarial models are assumptions including discount rates, rates of increase in future salary and benefit levels, mortality rates, consumer price index and the expected return on plan assets. These assumptions are updated annually based on available market data and the expected performance of plan assets. Nevertheless, the actuarial assumptions may differ significantly from actual results due to changes in market conditions, economic and mortality trends and other assumptions. Any changes in these assumptions could have a significant impact on our present and future liabilities to and costs associated with our defined benefit retirement plans and may result in increased expenses and reduce our profitability.

When contributing to our qualified retirement plans, we will take into consideration the minimum and maximum amounts required by ERISA, the attained funding target percentage of the plan, the variable-rate premiums that may be required by the PBGC, and any funding relief that might be enacted by Congress. These factors could lead to increased PBGC variable-rate premiums and/or increases in plan funding in future years.

Although our retail variable annuity products with substantial guarantee features are now managed within our CBVA business, we continue to offer variable annuity products and other products with similar features in our other segments.

In 2009, we decided to cease sales of retail variable annuities with substantial guarantee features and now manage that business within our CBVA business. However, we continue to offer products that have features of variable annuities such as guaranteed benefits. For example, certain of the deferred annuities sold by our Retirement segment are on group and individual variable annuity policy forms, since these product types allow customers to allocate their retirement savings to a variety of different investment options. These products may contain guaranteed death benefit features, but they do not offer guaranteed living benefit features of the type found within CBVA.

Our Annuities business also offers guaranteed withdrawal benefit provisions on certain indexed annuity products.

To the extent that the foregoing risk-control measures do not sufficiently mitigate the associated risks, and to the extent that we continue to offer variable annuity products and products with similar features in our other segments, the risks described below under "Risks Related to Our CBVA Business" could impact our other segments.


 
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Risks Related to Our CBVA Business

Although we no longer actively market retail variable annuities with substantial guarantee features, our business, results of operations, financial condition and liquidity will continue to be affected by our CBVA business until it is fully divested.

Our CBVA business consists of retail variable annuity insurance policies sold primarily from 2001 to early 2010, when the block entered run-off. CBVA represented 11.7% of our total AUM as of December 31, 2017. See "Item 1. Business—CBVA and Annuities Businesses—CBVA." These products offered long-term savings vehicles in which customers (policyholders) made deposits that were invested, largely at the customer’s direction, in a variety of U.S. and international equity, fixed income, real estate and other investment options. In addition, these products provided customers with the option to purchase living benefit riders, including GMWBL, GMIB, GMAB and GMWB. All retail variable annuity products include GMDB. In 2009, we decided to cease sales of retail variable annuity products with substantial guarantee features. In early 2010, we ceased all new sales of these products with substantial guarantees, although we continue to accept new deposits in accordance with, and subject to the limitations of, the provisions of existing contracts. In some cases, these additional deposits may increase the guarantee available to policyholder. We will continue to bear the risks associated with these policies until the closing of the Transaction, or indefinitely, if the Transaction fails to close.

Market movements and actuarial assumption changes (including, with respect to policyholder behavior and mortality) can result in material adverse impacts to our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. Because policyholders have various contractual rights to defer withdrawals, annuitization and/or maturity of their contracts, the nature and period of contract maturity is subject to policyholder behavior and is therefore indeterminate. Future market movements and changes in actuarial assumptions can result in significant earnings and liquidity impacts, as well as increases in regulatory reserve and capital requirements for CBVA. The latter may necessitate additional capital contributions into the business and/or adversely impact dividend capacity.

Our CBVA business is subject to market risks.

Our CBVA business is subject to a number of market risks, primarily associated with U.S. and other global equity market values and interest rates. For example, declining equity market values, increasing equity market volatility, declining interest rates or a prolonged period of low interest rates can result in an increase in the valuation of future policy benefits, reducing our net income or resulting in net losses. Declining market values for bonds and equities also reduce the account balances of our variable annuity contracts, and since we collect fees and risk charges based on these account balances, our net income may be further reduced. We will continue to bear these risks until the closing of the Transaction, or indefinitely, if the Transaction fails to close.

Declining interest rates, a prolonged period of low interest rates, increased equity market volatility or declining equity market values may also subject us to increased hedging costs. Market events can cause an increase in the amount of statutory reserves that our insurance subsidiaries are required to hold for variable annuity guarantees, lowering their statutory surplus, which would adversely impact their ability to pay dividends to us. An increase in interest rates could result in decreased fee income associated with a decline in the value of variable annuity account balances invested in fixed income funds, which also might affect the value of the underlying guarantees within these variable annuities.

We hedge some, but not all, of the market risk to which our CBVA business is exposed. To the extent that market conditions develop for which we do not have adequate hedge protection, our results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

The performance of our CBVA business depends on assumptions that may not be accurate.

Our CBVA business is subject to risks associated with the future behavior of policyholders and future claims payment patterns, using assumptions for mortality experience, lapse rates, GMIB annuitization rates and GMWBL withdrawal rates. We are required to make assumptions about these behaviors and patterns, which may not reflect the actual behaviors and patterns we experience in the future. It is possible that future assumption changes could produce reserve changes that could be material. Any such increase to reserves could require us to make material additional capital contributions to one or more of our insurance company subsidiaries or could otherwise be material and adverse to the results of operations or financial condition of the Company. We will continue to bear these risks until the closing of the Transaction, or indefinitely, if the Transaction fails to close.

In particular, we have only minimal experience regarding the long-term implications of policyholder behavior for our GMIB and as a result, future experience could lead to significant changes in our assumptions. Our GMIB contracts, most of which were issued during the period from 2004 to 2006, have a ten-year waiting period before annuitization is available. These contracts first became eligible to annuitize during the period from 2014 through 2016, but contain significant incentives to delay annuitization beyond the first eligibility date. In recent years, we have made several surrender and income enhancement offers to holders of particular

 
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series of GMIB contracts, under which policy holders were offered an incentive to surrender their contract or to annuitize prior to the end of the waiting period, and we have waived the remaining waiting period on these GMIB contracts. As a result, although we have increased experience on policyholder behavior for the first opportunity to annuitize, including from the acceptance rates of the surrender and income enhancement offers, we continue to have only a statistically small sample of experience used to set annuitization rates beyond the maximum rollup period. Therefore, we anticipate that observable experience data will become statistically credible later in this decade, when a large volume of GMIB benefits begin to reach their maximum rollup period over the period from 2019 to 2022.

Similarly, most of our GMWBL contracts were issued during the period from 2006 to 2009, so our assumptions for withdrawal from contracts with GMWBL benefits may change as experience emerges. In addition, many of our GMWBL contracts contain significant incentives to delay withdrawal with the GMWBL benefits reaching their maximum rollup over the period from 2016 to 2019. Our experience for GMWBL contracts has recently become more credible, however it is possible that policyholders may choose to withdraw sooner or later than our current best estimate assumes. We expect customer decisions on withdrawal will be influenced by their financial plans and needs as well as by market conditions over time and by the availability and features of competing products.

We also make estimates of expected lapse rates, which represent the probability that a policy will not remain in force from one period to the next, for CBVA contracts. Lapse rates of our variable annuity contracts may be significantly impacted by the value of guaranteed minimum benefits relative to the value of the underlying separate accounts (account value or account balance). In general, policies with guarantees that are "in the money" are assumed to be less likely to lapse. Conversely, "out of the money" guarantees are assumed to be more likely to lapse as the policyholder has less incentive to retain the policy. Lapse rates could also be adversely affected generally by developments that affect customer perception of us.

Our variable annuity lapse rate experience has varied significantly over the period from 2006 to the present, reflecting among other factors, both pre-and post-financial crisis experience. Relative to our current expectations, actual lapse rates have generally demonstrated a declining trend over the period from 2006 to the present. We analyze actual experience over that entire period, as we believe that over the duration of the variable annuity policies we may experience the full range of policyholder behavior and market conditions. However, management’s current best estimate of variable annuity policyholder lapse behavior is weighted more heavily toward more recent experience, as the last three years of data have shown a more consistent trend of lapse behavior. We use a combination of actual and industry experience when setting our lapse assumptions.

Actual lapse rates that are lower than our lapse rate assumptions could have an adverse effect on profitability in the later years of a block of business because the anticipated claims experience may be higher than expected in these later years, and, as discussed above, future reserve increases in connection with experience updates could be material and adverse to the results of operations or financial condition of the Company.

We make estimates regarding mortality, which refers to the ceasing of life contingent benefit payments due to the death of the annuitant. Mortality also refers to the incidence of death amongst policyholders triggering the payment of Guaranteed Minimum Death Benefits. We use actual experience when setting our mortality assumptions.

We review overall policyholder experience at least annually (including lapse, annuitization and withdrawal), and update these assumptions when deemed necessary based on additional information that becomes available. If policyholder experience is significantly different from that assumed, this could have a significant effect on the Company's reserve levels and related results of operations.

During the third quarter of each year, we conduct our annual review of assumptions, including projection model inputs. For 2017 and 2016, our CBVA assumption changes attributable to policyholder behavior resulted in gains (excluding income taxes) of $116 million and $155 million, respectively. For 2015, our CBVA assumption changes attributable to policyholder behavior resulted in a loss (excluding income taxes) of $43 million. We will continue to monitor the emergence of experience. If adjustments to policyholder behavior assumptions (e.g., lapse, annuitization and withdrawal) are necessary, which is ordinary course for interest-sensitive long-dated liabilities, we anticipate that the financial impact of such a change (either under U.S. GAAP or due to increases or decreases in gross U.S. statutory reserves) will likely be in a range, either up or down, that is generally consistent with the impact experienced in the past three years.


 
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Our Variable Annuity Hedge Program currently focuses on the protection of regulatory and rating agency capital from market movements and less on the U.S. GAAP earnings impact of this block, which could result in materially lower or more volatile U.S. GAAP earnings or significant U.S. GAAP losses.

Our Variable Annuity Hedge Program currently focuses on the protection of regulatory and rating agency capital from market movements rather than on the U.S. GAAP earnings impact of this block. U.S. GAAP accounting differs from the methods used to determine regulatory and rating agency capital measures. Therefore, our Variable Annuity Hedge Program tends to create earnings volatility in our U.S. GAAP financial statements, or produce lower U.S. GAAP income, or U.S. GAAP losses, compared to what our unhedged results would have been. In general, in any given period rising equity market values can produce losses in our Variable Annuity Hedge Program that substantially exceed the benefit we derive from the associated decrease in valuation of the future policy benefits associated with CBVA products on a U.S. GAAP basis, and the impact of declining markets can produce gains in our Variable Annuity Hedge Program that substantially exceed the loss we derive from the associated increase in valuation of the future policy benefits on a U.S. GAAP basis. Changes in other market indicators, including interest rates and volatility, can also create significant U.S. GAAP losses. As a result of the Transaction described in "Item 1–Business–Organizational History and Structure–CBVA and Annuity Transaction", substantially all of our CBVA and Annuities businesses have been reclassified as "Business Held for Sale/Discontinued Operations." Excluding the immaterial portion of the retained business not accounted for in Discontinued Operations, we recorded net gains (losses) related to incurred guaranteed benefits and Variable Annuity Hedge Program, excluding the effect of nonperformance risk, of $(1,136) million, $(1,470) million, and $(1,097) million for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016, and 2015, respectively. See "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Results of Operations—Company Consolidated."

As stated above, the primary focus of the hedge program is to protect regulatory and rating agency capital from market movements. Hedge ineffectiveness, along with other aspects not directly hedged (including unexpected policyholder experience), may cause losses of regulatory or rating agency capital. Regulatory and rating agency capital requirements may move disproportionately (i.e., they may change by different amounts as market conditions and other factors change), and, therefore, this could also cause our hedge program to not realize its key objective of protecting both regulatory and rating agency capital from market movements.

Our Variable Annuity Hedge Program may not be effective and may be more costly than anticipated.

We periodically re-evaluate our Variable Annuity Hedge Program to respond to changing market conditions and balance the trade-offs among several important factors, including regulatory reserves, rating agency capital, underlying economics, earnings and other factors. While our Variable Annuity Hedge Program is intended to balance numerous critical metrics, we are subject to the risk that our strategies and other management decisions may prove ineffective or that unexpected policyholder experience, alone or in combination with unfavorable market events, may produce losses or unanticipated cash needs beyond the scope of the risk management strategies employed. The Variable Annuity Hedge Program assumes that hedge positions can be rebalanced during a market shock and that the performance of the derivative contracts reasonably matches the performance of the contract owners’ variable fund returns. In addition, our Variable Annuity Hedge Program does not hedge certain non-market risks inherent in this segment, including business, credit, insurance and operational risks; any of these risks could cause us to experience unanticipated losses or cash needs. For example, hedging counterparties may fail to perform their obligations resulting in unhedged exposures and losses on positions that are not collateralized. Finally, the cost of the Variable Annuity Hedge Program itself may be greater than anticipated as adverse market conditions can limit the availability and increase the costs of the hedging instruments we employ, and such costs may not be recovered in the pricing of the underlying products being hedged. For example, the cost of hedging guaranteed minimum benefits increases as market volatilities increase and/or interest rates decrease, resulting in a reduction to net income.

Risks Related to Regulation

Our businesses and those of our affiliates are heavily regulated and changes in regulation or the application of regulation may reduce our profitability.

We are subject to detailed insurance, asset management and other financial services laws and government regulation. In addition to the insurance, asset management and other regulations and laws specific to the industries in which we operate, regulatory agencies have broad administrative power over many aspects of our business, which may include ethical issues, money laundering, privacy, recordkeeping and marketing and sales practices. Also, bank regulators and other supervisory authorities in the United States and elsewhere continue to scrutinize payment processing and other transactions under regulations governing such matters as money-laundering, prohibited transactions with countries subject to sanctions, and bribery or other anti-corruption measures.

Compliance with applicable laws and regulations is time consuming and personnel-intensive, and changes in laws and regulations may materially increase the cost of compliance and other expenses of doing business. There are a number of risks that may arise

 
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where applicable regulations may be unclear, subject to multiple interpretations or under development or where regulations may conflict with one another, where regulators revise their previous guidance or courts overturn previous rulings, which could result in our failure to meet applicable standards. Regulators and other authorities have the power to bring administrative or judicial proceedings against us, which could result, among other things, in suspension or revocation of our licenses, cease and desist orders, fines, civil penalties, criminal penalties or other disciplinary action which could materially harm our results of operations and financial condition. If we fail to address, or appear to fail to address, appropriately any of these matters, our reputation could be harmed and we could be subject to additional legal risk, which could increase the size and number of claims and damages asserted against us or subject us to enforcement actions, fines and penalties. See "Item 1. Business—Regulation" for further discussion of the impact of regulations on our businesses.

In March 2010, President Obama signed into law the Health Care Act. The Health Care Act regulates coverage that must be provided under employer-sponsored health care plans, which in turn affects the coverage we provide on our Excess Risk Insurance products. There is significant uncertainty surrounding the current administration's efforts to repeal and replace the Health Care Act. Future changes to, or de-funding of, the Health Care Act could result in increased insurance regulatory activity at the state level, which could negatively affect our Employee Benefits segment.

Our insurance businesses are heavily regulated, and changes in regulation in the United States, enforcement actions and regulatory investigations may reduce profitability.

Our insurance operations are subject to comprehensive regulation and supervision throughout the United States. State insurance laws regulate most aspects of our insurance businesses, and our insurance subsidiaries are regulated by the insurance departments of the states in which they are domiciled and the states in which they are licensed. The primary purpose of state regulation is to protect policyholders, and not necessarily to protect creditors and investors. See "Item 1. Business—Regulation—Insurance Regulation."

State insurance guaranty associations have the right to assess insurance companies doing business in their state in order to help pay the obligations of insolvent insurance companies to policyholders and claimants. Because the amount and timing of an assessment is beyond our control, liabilities we have currently established for these potential assessments may not be adequate. State insurance regulators, the NAIC and other regulatory bodies regularly reexamine existing laws and regulations applicable to insurance companies and their products. Changes in these laws and regulations, or in interpretations thereof, are often made for the benefit of the consumer at the expense of the insurer and could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition. We currently use captive reinsurance subsidiaries primarily to reinsure term life insurance, universal life insurance with secondary guarantees, and stable value annuity business. We also use our Arizona captives primarily to reinsure life insurance and annuity business from our insurance subsidiaries. Uncertainties associated with continued use of our captive reinsurance subsidiaries and our Arizona captives are primarily related to potential regulatory changes. In 2014, the NAIC considered a proposal to require states to apply NAIC accreditation standards, applicable to traditional insurers, to captive reinsurers. In 2015, the NAIC adopted such a proposal, in the form of a revised preamble to the NAIC accreditation standards (the "Standard"), with an effective date of January 1, 2016 for application of the Standard to captives that assume XXX and AXXX business. Under the Standard, a state will be deemed in compliance as it relates to XXX and AXXX captives if the applicable reinsurance transaction satisfies AG48. In addition, the Standard applies prospectively, so that XXX/AXXX captives will not be subject to the Standard if reinsured policies were issued prior to January 1, 2015 and ceded so that they were part of a reinsurance arrangement as of December 31, 2014. The NAIC left for future action application of the Standard to captives that assume variable annuity business. As drafted, it appears that the Standard would apply to our Arizona captives. During 2015, the NAIC E Committee established the VAIWG to oversee the NAIC's efforts to study and address, as appropriate, regulatory issues resulting in variable annuity captive reinsurance transactions. At various times in the past several years, the NAIC has indicated that it might pursue changes to the current reserve and capital framework that applies to insurers, including several of our Insurance Subsidiaries, who write or reinsure variable annuity ("VA") policies. Since 2015, the NAIC’s Variable Annuity Issues Working Group ("VAIWG") has been considering general proposals for VA reserve and capital reform that would create more uniformity in VA reserving practices and reduce incentives for the use of captive reinsurance arrangements for VA business. These proposals, if adopted, could change the reserves and capital we are required to hold with respect to VA business, particularly in our CBVA business.

During 2016, VAIWG engaged Oliver Wyman ("OW") to conduct an initial quantitative impact ("QIS1") study involving industry participants, including Voya Financial, of possible revisions to the current VA reserve and capital framework. In late 2016, OW provided the VAIWG a QIS1 report that included preliminary findings and recommended a second quantitative impact study be conducted so that testing can inform the proper calibration for certain conceptual and/or preliminary parameters set out in the QIS1 report. The second quantitative impact study ("QIS2") began in February 2017 and OW provided the VAIWG a QIS 2 report in late 2017. The NAIC deliberations on QIS2 results and proposed VA reserve and capital reforms began during the fourth quarter of 2017. It is unlikely that any changes adopted by the NAIC would be effective prior to 2019, although timing remains uncertain.


 
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The outcome of QIS2, and the parameters of any VA reserve and capital reform to be proposed by OW or adopted by the VAIWG, is uncertain at this time. Certain proposals under consideration as part of QIS2, if adopted as a component of any final VA reserve and capital reform, could negatively impact VA reserve and capital calculations for our CBVA business and potentially result in increased collateral requirements at RRII, our Arizona captive that reinsures CBVA living benefit guarantees. It is possible that any negative impacts to statutory reserves or rating agency capital requirements as a result of VA reserve and capital reform could be material to our capital position. If we are required to increase reserves or collateral, we believe it is likely that such increases would be subject to a multiyear grade-in period. At the present time, we cannot predict what, if any, of these proposals may become part of any VA framework reform proposal or what impact any final VAIWG VA framework reform would have on CBVA reserves, capital or captive collateralization requirements.

Any regulatory action that limits our ability to achieve desired benefits from the use of or materially increases our cost of using captive reinsurance companies, either retroactively or prospectively, including, if adopted as proposed, without grandfathering provisions for existing captive variable annuity reinsurance entities, the Standard, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations. For more detail see "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Statutory Capital and Risk-Based Capital of Principal Insurance Subsidiaries—Captive Reinsurance Subsidiaries."

Insurance regulators have implemented, or begun to implement significant changes in the way in which insurers must determine statutory reserves and capital, particularly for products with contractual guarantees such as variable annuities and universal life policies, and are considering further potentially significant changes in these requirements. The NAIC's PBR approach for life insurance policies became effective January 1, 2017, and has a three year phase in period. We are currently assessing the impact of, and appropriate implementation plan for, the PBR approach for life policies. The timing and extent of further changes to statutory reserves and reporting requirements are uncertain.

In addition, state insurance regulators have become more active in adopting and enforcing suitability standards with respect to sales of fixed, indexed and variable annuities. In particular, the NAIC has adopted a revised SAT, which will, if enacted by the states, place new responsibilities upon issuing insurance companies with respect to the suitability of annuity sales, including responsibilities for training agents. Many states have taken action to adopt provisions already based on the SAT.

In addition to the foregoing risks, the financial services industry is the focus of increased regulatory scrutiny as various state and federal governmental agencies and self-regulatory organizations conduct inquiries and investigations into the products and practices of the financial services industries. For a description of certain regulatory inquiries affecting the Company, see the Litigation and Regulatory Matters section of the Commitments and Contingencies Note in our Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8. of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. It is possible that future regulatory inquiries or investigations involving the insurance industry generally, or the Company specifically, could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition.

In some cases, this regulatory scrutiny has led to legislation and regulation, or proposed legislation and regulation that could significantly affect the financial services industry, or has resulted in regulatory penalties, settlements and litigation. New laws, regulations and other regulatory actions aimed at the business practices under scrutiny could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition. The adoption of new laws and regulations, enforcement actions, or litigation, whether or not involving us, could influence the manner in which we distribute our products, result in negative coverage of the industry by the media, cause significant harm to our reputation and materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition.

Our products are subject to extensive regulation and failure to meet any of the complex product requirements may reduce profitability.

Our insurance, annuity, retirement and investment products are subject to a complex and extensive array of state and federal tax, securities, insurance and employee benefit plan laws and regulations, which are administered and enforced by a number of different governmental and self-regulatory authorities, including state insurance regulators, state securities administrators, state banking authorities, the SEC, FINRA, the DOL and the IRS.

For example, U.S. federal income tax law imposes requirements relating to insurance and annuity product design, administration and investments that are conditions for beneficial tax treatment of such products under the Internal Revenue Code. Additionally, state and federal securities and insurance laws impose requirements relating to insurance and annuity product design, offering and distribution and administration. Failure to administer product features in accordance with contract provisions or applicable law, or to meet any of these complex tax, securities, or insurance requirements could subject us to administrative penalties imposed by

 
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a particular governmental or self-regulatory authority, unanticipated costs associated with remedying such failure or other claims, harm to our reputation, interruption of our operations or adversely impact profitability.

The Dodd-Frank Act, its implementing regulations and other financial regulatory reform initiatives could have adverse consequences for the financial services industry, including us, and/or materially affect our results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.

The Dodd-Frank Act, enacted in 2010, effects comprehensive changes to the regulation of financial services in the United States. The Dodd-Frank Act directs government agencies and bodies to perform studies and promulgate regulations implementing the law, a process that has substantially advanced but is not yet complete. While some studies have already been completed and the rule-making process is well underway, there continues to be uncertainty regarding the results of ongoing studies and the ultimate requirements of the remaining regulations that have yet to be adopted. We cannot predict with certainty how the Dodd-Frank Act and such regulations will continue to affect the financial markets generally, or impact our business, ratings, results of operations, financial condition or liquidity. The Dodd-Frank Act’s potential effects could include:

The Dodd-Frank Act creates a framework for regulating over-the-counter ("OTC") derivatives which has transformed derivatives markets and trading in significant ways. Under the new regulatory regime and subject to certain exceptions, certain standardized OTC interest rate and credit derivatives must now be cleared through a centralized clearinghouse and executed on a centralized exchange or execution facility, and the CFTC and the SEC may designate additional types of OTC derivatives for mandatory clearing and trade execution requirements in the future. In addition to mandatory central clearing of certain derivatives products, non-centrally cleared OTC derivatives which have been excluded from the clearing mandate and which are used by market participants like us are now subject to additional regulatory reporting and margin requirements. Specifically, both the CFTC and federal banking regulators issued final rules in 2015, which became effective in 2017, establishing minimum margin requirements for OTC derivatives traded by either (non-bank) swap dealers or banks which qualify as swaps entities. Nearly all of the counterparties we trade with are either swap dealers or swap entities subject to these rules. Both the CFTC and prudential regulator margin rules require mandatory exchange of variation margin for most OTC derivatives transacted by us and will require exchange of initial margin commencing in 2020. As a result of the transition to central clearing and the new margin requirements for OTC derivatives, we will be required to hold more cash and highly liquid securities resulting in lower yields in order to satisfy the projected increase in margin required. In addition, increased capital charges imposed by regulators on non-cash collateral held by bank counterparties and central clearinghouses is expected to result in higher hedging costs, causing a reduction in income from investments. We are also observing an increasing reluctance from counterparties to accept certain non-cash collateral from us due to higher capital or operational costs associated with such asset classes that we typically hold in abundance. These developments present potentially significant business, liquidity and operational risk for us which could materially and adversely impact both the cost and our ability to effectively hedge various risks, including equity, interest rate, currency and duration risks within many of our insurance and annuity products and investment portfolios. In addition, inconsistencies between U.S. rules and regulations and parallel regimes in other jurisdictions, such as the EU, may further increase costs of hedging or inhibit our ability to access market liquidity in those other jurisdictions.

The Dodd-Frank Act also includes various securities law reforms that may affect our business practices. See "—Changes in U.S. federal and state securities laws and regulations may affect our operations and our profitability" below.

Although the full impact of the Dodd-Frank Act cannot be determined until all remaining final regulations are adopted, many of the legislation’s requirements could have profound and/or adverse consequences for the financial services industry, including for us. The Dodd-Frank Act could make it more expensive for us to conduct business, require us to make changes to our business model or satisfy increased capital requirements, subject us to greater regulatory scrutiny or to potential increases in whistleblower claims in light of the increased awards available to whistleblowers under the Act and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition. Additionally, there is substantial uncertainty as to whether aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act or regulatory bodies established thereunder will be impacted by regulatory or legislative changes made by the Trump administration or Congress.

See "Item 1. Business—Regulation" for further discussion of the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on our businesses.

Changes in U.S. federal and state securities laws and regulations may affect our operations and our profitability.

U.S. federal and state securities laws apply to sales of our mutual funds and to our variable annuity and variable life insurance products (which are considered to be both insurance products and securities) as well as to sales of third-party investment products. As a result, some of our subsidiaries and the products they offer are subject to regulation under these federal and state securities laws. Our insurance subsidiaries’ separate accounts are registered as investment companies under the Investment Company Act.

 
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Some variable annuity contracts and variable life insurance policies issued by our insurance subsidiaries also are registered under the Securities Act. Other subsidiaries are registered as broker-dealers under the Exchange Act, are members of, and subject to, regulation by FINRA, and are also registered as broker-dealers in various states, as applicable. In addition, some of our subsidiaries are registered as investment advisers under the Investment Advisers Act.

Securities laws and regulations are primarily intended to ensure the integrity of the financial markets and to protect investors in the securities markets or investment advisory or brokerage clients. These laws and regulations generally grant supervisory agencies broad administrative powers, including the power to limit or restrict the conduct of business for failure to comply with those laws and regulations. A number of changes have recently been proposed to the laws and regulations that govern the conduct of our variable insurance products business and our distributors that could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, distribution of our annuity products registered as securities are affected by federal and state securities laws and laws and regulations applicable to broker-dealers.

Changes to federal regulations could adversely affect our distribution model by restricting our ability to provide customers with advice.

In April 2016, the Department of Labor ("DOL") issued a final rule that broadened the definition of "fiduciary" for purposes of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") and the Internal Revenue Code, as it applies to a person or entity providing investment advice with respect to ERISA plans or IRAs. The rule expanded the circumstances in which providers of investment advice to ERISA plan sponsors and plan participants, and IRA investors, are deemed to act in a fiduciary capacity. The rule requires such providers to act in their clients' "best interests", not influenced by any conflicts of interest, including due to the direct or indirect receipt of compensation that varies based on the fiduciary’s investment recommendation. The DOL concurrently adopted a "best interest contract exemption" ("BIC") intended to enable continuation of certain industry practices relating to receipt of commissions and other compensation. This exemption enables us and our distributors to continue many historical practices - subject, among other things, to a heightened best interests standard and a requirement that compensation be "reasonable". Key provisions of the rule became effective on June 9, 2017, while other provisions (including the requirement to enter into a "best interest contract" when relying on the BIC, a provision that would potentially subject advice providers such as us to costly private litigation) have been delayed to July 1, 2019. Under the rule, certain business activities in which we engage, such as IRA rollovers and other IRA sales, have become subject to a heightened fiduciary standard. Where Voya Financial, Inc. is deemed to act in a fiduciary capacity, we have either modified our sales and compensation practices or are relying on an applicable exemption.

The SEC has requested public comment on whether it should issue a rule updating and harmonizing the standard of care applicable to providers of investment advice. During the delay of the DOL rule, we anticipate that the SEC and other federal and state regulators will consider whether a more comprehensive, harmonized approach is preferable to the DOL rule. It is too early to predict the outcome of any such process.

In addition, the rule may make it easier for the DOL in enforcement actions, and for plaintiffs' attorneys in litigation, to attempt to extend fiduciary status to, or to claim fiduciary or contractual breach by, advisors who would not be deemed fiduciaries under current regulations. Compliance with the proposed rule could also increase our overall operational costs for providing some of the services we currently provide. See Part I, Item 1. Business-Regulation-Employee Retirement Income Security Act Considerations.

Changes in U.S. pension laws and regulations may affect our results of operations and our profitability.

Congress from time to time considers pension reform legislation that could decrease the attractiveness of certain of our retirement products and services to retirement plan sponsors and administrators or have an unfavorable effect on our ability to earn revenues from these products and services. In this regard, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 made significant changes in employer pension funding obligations associated with defined benefit pension plans that are likely to increase sponsors’ costs of maintaining these plans and imposed certain requirements on defined contribution plans. Over time, these changes could negatively impact our sales of defined benefit or defined contribution plan products and services and cause sponsors to discontinue existing plans for which we provide insurance, asset management, administrative, or other services. Certain tax-favored savings initiatives that have been proposed could hinder sales and persistency of our products and services that support employment-based retirement plans.

The Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010 also includes certain provisions for defined benefit pension plan funding relief. These provisions may impact the likelihood of corporate plan sponsors terminating their plans and/or engaging in transactions to partially or fully transfer pension obligations to an insurance company. As part of our retirement services segment, we offer general account and separate account group annuity products that enable a plan sponsor to transfer these risks, often in connection with the termination of defined benefit pension plans. Consequently, this legislation could indirectly affect the mix of our business, with fewer closeouts and more non-guaranteed funding products, and adversely impact our results of operations.

 
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We may not be able to mitigate the reserve strain associated with Regulation XXX and AG38, potentially resulting in a negative impact on our capital position.

Regulation XXX requires insurers to establish additional statutory reserves for certain term life insurance policies with long-term premium guarantees and for certain universal life policies with secondary guarantees. In addition, AG38 clarifies the application of Regulation XXX with respect to certain universal life insurance policies with secondary guarantees. While we no longer issue these products, certain of our existing term insurance products and a number of our universal life insurance products are affected by Regulation XXX and AG38, respectively. The application of both Regulation XXX and AG38 involves numerous interpretations. At times, there may be differences of opinion between management and state insurance departments regarding the application of these and other actuarial standards. Such differences of opinion may lead to a state insurance regulator requiring greater reserves to support insurance liabilities than management estimated.

We have implemented reinsurance and capital management actions to mitigate the capital impact of Regulation XXX and AG38, including the use of LOCs and the implementation of other transactions that provide acceptable collateral to support the reinsurance of the liabilities to wholly owned reinsurance captives or to third-party reinsurers. These arrangements are subject to review and approval by state insurance regulators and review by rating agencies. State insurance regulators, the NAIC and other regulatory bodies are also investigating the use of wholly owned reinsurance captives to reinsure these liabilities and the NAIC has made recent advances in captives reform. During 2014, 2015, and 2016, the NAIC adopted captives proposals applicable to captives that assume Regulation XXX and AG38 reserves. See "Our insurance businesses are heavily regulated, and changes in regulation in the United States, enforcement actions and regulatory investigations may reduce profitability" above and "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Statutory Capital and Risk-Based Capital of Principal Insurance Subsidiaries—Captive Reinsurance Subsidiaries." Rating agencies may include a portion of these LOCs or other collateral in their leverage calculations, which could increase their assessment of our leverage ratios and potentially impact our ratings. We cannot provide assurance that our ability to use captive reinsurance companies to achieve the desired benefit from financing statutory reserves will not be limited or that there will not be regulatory or rating agency challenges to the reinsurance and capital management actions we have taken to date or that acceptable collateral obtained through such transactions will continue to be available or available on a cost-effective basis.

The result of these potential challenges, as well as the inability to obtain acceptable collateral, could require us to increase statutory reserves, incur higher operating and/or tax costs.

Certain of the reserve financing facilities we have put in place will mature prior to the run off of the liabilities they support. As a result, we cannot provide assurance that we will be able to continue to maintain collateral support related to our captive reinsurance subsidiaries or our Arizona captives. If we are unable to continue to maintain collateral support related to our captive reinsurance subsidiaries or our Arizona captives, we may be required to increase statutory reserves or incur higher operating and/or tax costs than we currently anticipate.

Changes in tax laws and interpretations of existing tax law could increase our tax costs, impact the ability of our insurance company subsidiaries to make distributions to Voya Financial, Inc. or make our insurance, annuity and investment product less attractive to customers.

In addition to the balance sheet impact, we expect Tax Reform to have other financial and economic impacts on the Company. While the change in the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% is expected to have a beneficial economic impact on the Company, there are a number of changes enacted in Tax Reform that could increase the Company's tax costs, including:

Changes to the dividends received deduction ("DRD");

Changes to the capitalization period and rates of DAC for tax purposes;

Changes to the calculation of life insurance reserves for tax purposes; and

Changes to the rules on deductibility of executive compensation.

We continue to evaluate the effect of Tax Reform on the Company, and the final impact may be materially more adverse from that discussed herein as a result of, among other things, future clarifications or guidance from the IRS, other agencies, or the courts. Moreover, U.S. states that stand to lose tax revenue as a consequence of Tax Reform may enact measures that increase our tax costs. In addition, there could be other changes in tax law, as well as changes in interpretation and enforcement of existing tax laws that could increase tax costs.

 
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As part of our participation in CAP, we have entered into agreements with the IRS to resolve issues related to: (1) the application of the Section 382 limitation, (2) whether certain derivative transactions qualify for hedge treatment, (3) the proper treatment of valid tax hedge gains and losses and (4) "other than temporary impairment" losses. These agreements may be superseded by future enacted laws, regulations or other guidance that increase our tax costs.

Tax Reform also resulted in a reduction in the combined statutory deferred tax assets of our insurance subsidiaries, reducing their combined RBC ratio. Future changes or clarifications in tax law could cause further reductions to the statutory deferred tax assets and RBC ratios of our insurance subsidiaries. A reduction in the statutory deferred tax assets or RBC ratios may impact the ability of the affected insurance subsidiaries to make distributions to us and consequently could negatively impact our ability to pay dividends to our stockholders and to service our debt.

Current U.S. federal income tax law permits tax-deferred accumulation of income earned under life insurance and annuity products, and permits exclusion from taxation of death benefits paid under life insurance contracts. Changes in tax laws that restrict these tax benefits could make some of our products less attractive to customers. Reductions in individual income tax rates or estate tax rates could also make some of our products less advantageous to customers. Changes in federal tax laws that reduce the amount an individual can contribute on a pre-tax basis to an employer-provided, tax-deferred product (either directly by reducing current limits or indirectly by changing the tax treatment of such contributions from exclusions to deductions) or changes that would limit an individual’s aggregate amount of tax-deferred savings could make our retirement products less attractive to customers. In addition, any measures that may be enacted in U.S. states in response to Tax Reform, or otherwise, could make our products less attractive to our customers. Furthermore, as a result of Tax Reform's recent adoption and significant scope, its impact on our products, including their attractiveness relative to competitors, cannot yet be known and may be adverse, perhaps materially.

Risks Related to Our Holding Company Structure

As holding companies, Voya Financial, Inc. and Voya Holdings depend on the ability of their subsidiaries to transfer funds to them to meet their obligations.

Voya Financial, Inc. is the holding company for all our operations, and dividends, returns of capital and interest income on intercompany indebtedness from Voya Financial, Inc.’s subsidiaries are the principal sources of funds available to Voya Financial, Inc. to pay principal and interest on its outstanding indebtedness, to pay corporate operating expenses, to pay any stockholder dividends, to repurchase any stock, and to meet its other obligations. The subsidiaries of Voya Financial, Inc. are legally distinct from Voya Financial, Inc. and, except in the case of Voya Holdings Inc., which is the guarantor of certain of our outstanding indebtedness, have no obligation to pay amounts due on the debt of Voya Financial, Inc. or to make funds available to Voya Financial, Inc. for such payments. The ability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends or other distributions to Voya Financial, Inc. in the future will depend on their earnings, tax considerations, covenants contained in any financing or other agreements and applicable regulatory restrictions. In addition, such payments may be limited as a result of claims against our subsidiaries by their creditors, including suppliers, vendors, lessors and employees. The ability of our insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends and make other distributions to Voya Financial, Inc. will further depend on their ability to meet applicable regulatory standards and receive regulatory approvals, as discussed below under "—The ability of our insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends and other distributions to Voya Financial, Inc. and Voya Holdings is further limited by state insurance laws, and our insurance subsidiaries may not generate sufficient statutory earnings or have sufficient statutory surplus to enable them to pay ordinary dividends."

Voya Holdings is wholly owned by Voya Financial, Inc. and is also a holding company, and accordingly its ability to make payments under its guarantees of our indebtedness or on the debt for which it is the primary obligor is subject to restrictions and limitations similar to those applicable to Voya Financial, Inc. Neither Voya Financial, Inc., nor Voya Holdings, has significant sources of cash flows other than from our subsidiaries that do not guarantee such indebtedness.

If the ability of our insurance or non-insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends or make other distributions or payments to Voya Financial, Inc. and Voya Holdings is materially restricted by regulatory requirements, other cash needs, bankruptcy or insolvency, or our need to maintain the financial strength ratings of our insurance subsidiaries, or is limited due to results of operations or other factors, we may be required to raise cash through the incurrence of debt, the issuance of equity or the sale of assets. However, there is no assurance that we would be able to raise cash by these means. This could materially and adversely affect the ability of Voya Financial, Inc. and Voya Holdings to pay their obligations.


 
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The ability of our insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends and other distributions to Voya Financial, Inc. and Voya Holdings Inc. is limited by state insurance laws, and our insurance subsidiaries may not generate sufficient statutory earnings or have sufficient statutory surplus to enable them to pay ordinary dividends.

The payment of dividends and other distributions to Voya Financial, Inc. and Voya Holdings Inc.by our insurance subsidiaries is regulated by state insurance laws and regulations.

The jurisdictions in which our insurance subsidiaries are domiciled impose certain restrictions on the ability to pay dividends to their respective parents. These restrictions are based, in part, on the prior year’s statutory income and surplus. In general, dividends up to specified levels are considered ordinary and may be paid without prior regulatory approval. Dividends in larger amounts, or extraordinary dividends, are subject to approval by the insurance commissioner of the relevant state of domicile. Under the insurance laws applicable to our insurance subsidiaries domiciled in Connecticut, Iowa and Minnesota, an extraordinary dividend or distribution is defined as a dividend or distribution that, together with other dividends and distributions made within the preceding twelve months, exceeds the greater of (1) 10% of the insurer’s policyholder surplus as of the preceding December 31 or (2) the insurer’s net gain from operations for the twelve-month period ended the preceding December 31, in each case determined in accordance with statutory accounting principles. Under Colorado insurance law, an extraordinary dividend or distribution is defined as a dividend or distribution that, together with other dividends and distributions made within the preceding twelve months, exceeds the lesser of (1) 10% of the insurer’s policyholder surplus as of the preceding December 31 or (2) the insurer’s net gain from operations for the twelve-month period ended the preceding December 31, in each case determined in accordance with statutory accounting principles. In addition, under the insurance laws applicable to our insurance subsidiaries domiciled in Connecticut, Iowa and Minnesota, no dividend or other distribution exceeding an amount equal to an insurance company’s earned surplus may be paid without the domiciliary insurance regulator’s prior approval (the "positive earned surplus requirement"). Under applicable domiciliary insurance regulations, our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries must deduct any distributions or dividends paid in the preceding twelve months in calculating dividend capacity. From time to time, the NAIC and various state insurance regulators have considered, and may in the future consider, proposals to further limit dividend payments that an insurance company may make without regulatory approval. More stringent restrictions on dividend payments may be adopted from time to time by jurisdictions in which our insurance subsidiaries are domiciled, and such restrictions could have the effect, under certain circumstances, of significantly reducing dividends or other amounts payable to Voya Financial, Inc. or Voya Holdings by our insurance subsidiaries without prior approval by regulatory authorities. We may also choose to change the domicile of one or more of our insurance subsidiaries or captive insurance subsidiaries, in which case we would be subject to the restrictions imposed under the laws of that new domicile, which could be more restrictive than those to which we are currently subject. In addition, in the future, we may become subject to debt instruments or other agreements that limit the ability of our insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends or make other distributions. The ability of our insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends or make other distributions is also limited by our need to maintain the financial strength ratings assigned to such subsidiaries by the rating agencies. These ratings depend to a large extent on the capitalization levels of our insurance subsidiaries.

For a summary of ordinary dividends and extraordinary distributions paid by each of our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries to Voya Financial or Voya Holdings in 2016 and 2017, and a discussion of ordinary dividend capacity for 2018, see "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Liquidity and Capital Resources-Restrictions on Dividends and Returns of Capital from Subsidiaries." Our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries domiciled in Colorado, Connecticut and Iowa each have ordinary dividend capacity for 2018. However, as a result of the extraordinary dividends it paid in 2015 and 2016, together with statutory losses incurred in connection with the recapture and cession to one of our Arizona captives of certain term life business in the fourth quarter of 2016, our Principal Insurance Subsidiary domiciled in Minnesota currently has negative earned surplus and therefore does not have capacity at this time to make ordinary dividend payments to Voya Holdings and cannot make an extraordinary dividend payment to Voya Holdings Inc. without domiciliary regulatory approval, which can be granted or withheld in the discretion of the regulator.

If any of our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries subject to the positive earned surplus requirement do not succeed in building up sufficient positive earned surplus to have ordinary dividend capacity in future years, such subsidiary would be unable to pay dividends or distributions to our holding companies absent prior approval of its domiciliary insurance regulator, which can be granted or withheld in the discretion of the regulator. In addition, if our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries generate capital in excess of our target combined estimated RBC ratio of 425% and our individual insurance company ordinary dividend limits in future years, then we may also seek extraordinary dividends or distributions. There can be no assurance that our Principal Insurance Subsidiaries will receive approval for extraordinary distribution payments in the future.

The payment of dividends by our captive reinsurance subsidiaries is regulated by their respective governing licensing orders and restrictions in their respective insurance securitization agreements. Generally, our captive reinsurance subsidiaries may not declare or pay dividends in any form to their parent companies other than in accordance with their respective insurance securitization transaction agreements and their respective governing licensing orders, and in no event may the dividends decrease the capital of

 
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the captive below the minimum capital requirement applicable to it, and, after giving effect to the dividends, the assets of the captive paying the dividend must be sufficient to satisfy its domiciliary insurance regulator that it can meet its obligations. Likewise, our Arizona captives may not declare or pay dividends in any form to us other than in accordance with their annual capital and dividend plans as approved by the ADOI, which include minimum capital requirements.

Item 1B.     Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2.         Properties

As of December 31, 2017, we owned or leased 67 locations totaling approximately 1.9 million square feet, of which approximately 0.8 million square feet was owned properties and approximately 1.1 million square feet was leased properties throughout the United States.

Item 3.         Legal Proceedings

See the Litigation and Regulatory Matters section of the Commitments and Contingencies Note in our Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8. of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a description of our material legal proceedings.

Item 4.         Mine Safety Disclosures

Not Applicable.

 
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PART II

Item 5.
Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Issuer Common Equity
    
Voya Financial, Inc.'s common stock, par value $0.01 per share, began trading on the NYSE under the symbol "VOYA" on May 2, 2013.
    
The following table summarizes high and low sales prices for the common stock on the NYSE for the periods indicated and the dividends declared per share during such periods:
2017
 
High
 
Low
 
Dividends declared
1st Quarter
 
$
42.93

 
$
36.98

 
$
0.01

2nd Quarter
 
38.03

 
34.18

 
0.01

3rd Quarter
 
40.90

 
36.18

 
0.01

4th Quarter
 
$
52.07

 
$
39.50

 
$
0.01

2016
 
High
 
Low
 
Dividends declared
1st Quarter
 
$
37.02

 
$
25.75

 
$
0.01

2nd Quarter
 
33.74

 
23.05

 
0.01

3rd Quarter
 
29.62

 
22.75

 
0.01

4th Quarter
 
$
41.17

 
$
28.63

 
$
0.01


The declaration and payment of dividends is subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors and depends on Voya Financial, Inc.'s financial condition, results of operations, cash requirements, future prospects, regulatory restrictions on the payment of dividends by Voya Financial, Inc.'s other insurance subsidiaries and other factors deemed relevant by the Board. The payment of dividends is also subject to restrictions under the terms of our junior subordinated debentures in the event we should choose to defer interest payments on those debentures. See Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Liquidity and Capital Resources in Part II, Item 7. of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further information regarding common stock dividends.

At February 16, 2018, there were three stockholders of record of common stock, which are different from the number of beneficial owners of the Company’s common stock.


 
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Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer

The following table summarizes Voya Financial, Inc.'s repurchases of its common stock for the three months ended December 31, 2017:
Period
Total Number of Shares Purchased
 
Average Price Paid Per Share
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
 
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(in millions) 
 
October 1, 2017 - October 31, 2017

 
$

 

 
$
1,011

 
November 1, 2017 - November 30, 2017

 

 

 
1,011

 
December 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017
7,821,666

 
51.14

 
7,821,666

 
511

(1) 
Total
7,821,666

 
$
51.14

 
7,821,666

 
N/A

 
(1) Amount reflects $500 million share repurchase arrangement entered into on December 26, 2017 with a third-party institution. The transaction included upfront delivery of shares at a per-share repurchase price of $51.14. This arrangement includes the potential for additional shares to be delivered or returned upon final settlement depending on the daily volume-weighted average price of the Company's stock during the repurchase arrangement period. The repurchase arrangement will terminate on March 26, 2018.

In connection with the vesting of equity-based compensation awards, employees may remit to Voya Financial, Inc., or Voya Financial, Inc. may withhold into treasury stock, shares of common stock in respect of tax withholding obligations associated with such vesting. For the three months ended December 31, 2017, there were 13,893 Treasury share increases in connection with such withholding activities.

Refer to the Share-based Incentive Compensation Plans Note in our Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8. of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and to Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters for equity compensation information.

 
77

 


Item 6.    Selected Financial Data

The following selected financial data has been derived from the Company’s Consolidated Financial Statements. The Statement of Operations data for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 and the Balance Sheet data as of December 31, 2017 and 2016 have been derived from the Company’s Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere herein. The Statement of Operations data for the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2013 and the Balance Sheet data as of December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013 have been derived from the Company's audited Consolidated Financial Statements not included herein. Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to reflect the presentation of discontinued operations and assets and liabilities of businesses held for sale. The selected financial data set forth below should be read in conjunction with Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in Part II, Item 7. of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data in our Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8. of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.


 
78

 


 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
($ in millions, except per share amounts)
Statement of Operations Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenues
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net investment income
$
3,294

 
$
3,354

 
$
3,343

 
$
3,357

 
$
3,488

Fee income
2,627

 
2,471

 
2,470

 
2,462

 
2,429

Premiums
2,121

 
2,795

 
2,554

 
2,006

 
1,877

Net realized capital gains (losses)
(227
)
 
(363
)
 
(560
)
 
(105
)
 
(324
)
Total revenues
8,618