Having recently overhauled its product to make it less vulnerable to difficult economic conditions, SSQ Financial Group has finally surrendered. The company stopped selling its ASTRA 2.1 guaranteed income product in early March.
Subsequently, effective May 3, current customers of this product and its former incarnations (original version, version II, and version 2.1) will no longer be able to make lump sum deposits or transfers into their accounts.
All new automatic periodic transactions have also come to an end. Automatic purchase programs that are currently in place on guaranteed income products may continue until the end date, but they may not be increased during this period.
SSQ says its decision is due to “growing pressure of low interest rates, as well as the regulatory requirements” and adds that the measure will remain in effect “for an indefinite period of time”. However, the insurer is leaving its traditional ASTRA seg fund contracts (basic, enhanced and optimal options) unchanged.