Allan Roth has long been critical of variable annuities especially from insurance companies. However, he admits in this CBS News article
that a new variable annuity from Vanguard may be useful for certain people and for some of their portfolio:
Late last year, Vanguard launched a new variable annuity with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit. This is the first variable annuity I've ever considered for clients, and to learn more about how the product works I spoke with Vanguard principals John Heywood and Tim Holmes.