Despite using the lock-in feature, Daw reports that dentist Millar:
"Someone who invested $100,000 when Millar did would have seen market losses and stiff annual fees erode the fund value to only $48,500 as of a few weeks ago.
But Transamerica would have paid $123,000, the value of the fund at the last guarantee reset. That's was only an average annual return of about 2.1 per cent, just enough to have kept up with rising consumer prices."
I don't know why Millar is so happy. Even with Millar's smart lock in timing, he only made 2.1%. There is a tech ETF, the Tech Select Sector SPDR (XLK) whose annualized total return from inception in December 1998 (i.e. the mid stage of the bubble) to March 2010 was negative but only minus 1.6%. The Daw article doesn't say exactly when Millar bought (I'm guessing it was earlier and at a lower tech market price), but the fees ate up most of the protection for Millar.