Keyport Life Insurance Co. said it is receiving a better reception with bank customers thanks to a new variable annuity that uses several different investment choices.

For years, the Keyport variable annuities accessed mutual funds managed by two fellow Liberty Financial Cos. subsidiaries-Stein Roe & Farnham and Colonial Investment Services.

In November the new annuity, dubbed Keyport Advisor, was fashioned to include nonproprietary mutual funds managed by Alliance Capital, Massachusetts Financial Services, and Fred Alger Management Inc. Keyport also added funds managed by Newport Fund Management Inc., a San Francisco firm Liberty bought in 1995.

"We found it had to have nonproprietary funds to give people in banks the confidence that their customers would have a diverse array of investment opportunities," said Keyport senior vice president Stephen B. Bonner.

He added that the life insurance company has held meetings about Keyport Advisor with 60 banks since last month. So far, bank customers have invested $4 million in 17 mutual funds underlying the annuity. The minimum investment in the annuity is $5,000, and Mr. Bonner said customers have put in an average of $70,000.

The funds are marketed through the bank channel by another Liberty company, Independent Financial Marketing Group, which is tapped into 140 banks nationwide.

Keyport Advisor was designed with features the insurer figures will appeal to bank customers, such as an immediate payout option allowing the holder to pull out with no penalty.

"Unlike a lot of annuities that have no liquidity, we will convert all remaining payments to cash," Mr. Bonner said.

Also, instead of running for a set period of years, the annuity will provide income until the death-or 100th birthday-of the holder. Keyport Advisor targets customers from 55 to 75.

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