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My point is that these are not simple products.

Some are, some are not.

Fixed annuities and SPIA are generally very simple. VAs, EIAs, and other variations are not, to say the least.

This is why fixed annuities SPIAs don't require the same licensing to sell them. They are not as complex and do not require a securities license.

There are plenty of fees and expenses hidden in plain sight

That is simply not true.

According to a link that intcst (??) posted, even straightforward SPIA have massive fees that the customers just don't recognise.

Also not true.

Let me ask you, does a CD have hidden fees? Let's say you bought a one year cd earning .5% and that if you wanted to terminate it early, it would cost you all your interest plus $10.

Where is the hidden fee?

Don't confuse fees with with the spread the institution makes on selling a product.

If you buy a $50,000 fixed annuity and it pays 3% for five years, and it matures in five years, and has a surrender charge schedule that is disclosed to you, there are no hidden fees just because the insurance company might be making 5% off of that $50,000 and only paying you 3%.

The same goes for a SPIA.

Consider it another way:
If a bank A is paying you 1% on your deposits and bank B is paying you 1.5% on your deposits, yet bank A is making 2% while bank B is making 3%, that does not mean that bank B is charging you more in fees.
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