Nine of the 18 insurance firms that provide variable annuities through financial advisors affiliated with Raymond James Financial Inc. will begin offering new, less expensive investment products this week, meeting a deadline set by the financial services firm.

Raymond James studied variable annuities as an investment, taking into account criticism that they had become too costly and so complex that purchasers found them difficult to understand. In response, the company rolled out a new product design aimed at simplifying the product and still retaining typical standard and optional benefits.

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