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Recent Product Introductions that Plan Sponsors May Find of Interest

Platform Enhancements
Nationwide has expanded its 3(38) investment fiduciary service from IRON Financial LLC. The service will now include fiduciary monitoring of Nationwide ProAccount, the company’s managed account service, at the plan level for no additional cost. When a plan sponsor adopts the 3(38) service, IRON Financial assumes the responsibility and legal liabilities associated with selecting, monitoring and replacing plan investments under Section 3(38) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

Kanaly Trust’s Corporate Executive Financial Counseling program aims to help with employee retention and with analysis of company benefit decisions. The program uses a team approach to financial planning, with unbiased, objective advice, minus the constraints of a product sales environment. An array of financial advisory services provides expertise in tax compliance, wealth management, portfolio management and estate planning. The program can help clients analyze company benefit decisions, determine how those choices fit with their personal goals, and aid in protecting their wealth.

Augmented reality technology via a mobile application (app) from Transamerica Retirement Solutions can be used by employees to enroll in a plan, increase contributions or assess their financial outlook for retirement. If participants who have downloaded the app point a smartphone at a printed advertisement, for example, Augmented Reality by Transamerica (ART) will provide an added digital layer of content, showing short videos that promote awareness of retirement readiness and the importance of saving for retirement. Then, if Transamerica is their employer’s retirement plan provider, users will be led to the company’s website, where they can take further action on saving for retirement. The ART app is available from Apple iTunes or Google Play.

Buck Consultants at Xerox announced the launch of SavIncent, an incentive-based financial wellness program. The program uses monetary rewards to encourage workers’ financial improvements. SavIncent links financial education and activities to a company’s retirement savings plan. Employees who complete various elements of the program receive employer contributions to their savings plan. SavIncent will reward completing a financial health or risk profile; enrolling in a 401(k) plan or signing up for automatic escalation; meeting with a financial adviser; establishing a will; taking financial training seminars; and monitoring one’s credit score.

A white paper by the Principal Financial Group, “What Can We Learn From Six Common Annuity Purchase Misconceptions?,” tackles annuity purchase confusion. Annuities can help manage defined benefit (DB) plan risks, but retirement plan sponsors should contemplate a few common misperceptions, the firm argues. In the paper, The Principal aims to demystify annuity purchasing and help plan sponsors make informed decisions through discussion of common scenarios, case studies, modeling and other similar means.

A recently developed Fidelity Investments digital tool called Executive Insights provides the capability to segment and analyze different sections of the plan population to identify and combat specific challenges. It allows plan sponsor clients to use on-demand data analysis and plan design modeling, as well as income projections, to build a real-time benchmark of where the plan stands today and how specific design changes would affect it and its participants. The data is tied back to the retirement income picture of the participants.

The launch of the “Empower” brand by Great-West Financial combines the resources of that company with Putnam Investments and Great-West Financial Retirement Plan Services, formerly J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services. The brand comes into being with nearly 7 million defined contribution (DC) participants and more than $400 billion in plan assets.

In an effort to streamline communications and enhance existing security measures, TriStar Pension Consulting has implemented Plan Sponsor Link’s new secure Web portal. The firm’s client portal may be accessed from the TriStar website by clients and their financial counterparts, including advisers and certified public accountants (CPAs). The software enables them and their clients to send and receive documents about data security with confidence. Once a TriStar administrator drops a document into the client’s portal, the client gets an email notification.

The retirement plans division of Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. expanded the investment options available within its retirement plan products by adding 32 new funds. The expansion brings the total offering to more than 235 funds within the firm’s retirement plans program. Ameritas added funds across its investment categories from these fund families: American Beacon, American Century, American Funds, DFA, Fidelity, Franklin, Loomis, Oppenheimer, T. Rowe Price, Vanguard and Wasatch.

The Legg Mason BW Dynamic Large Cap Value Fund has been unveiled. It utilizes a dynamic shifting tool and a proprietary quantitative strategy. Available in institutional shares, the fund’s broad objective is to provide long-term capital appreciation by quantitatively investing in U.S. equities. The proprietary blend is used to identify stocks that have the potential to deliver the strategy’s shifting tool. When valuation dispersion has troughed, the tool shifts the portfolio more closely to the index’s valuation. This proprietary blend of quantitative selection and dynamic shifting seeks to both mitigate downside volatility and potentially enhance long-term returns.

Northern Trust Asset Management launched a fund for institutional investors that encompasses quality small capitalization stocks across global developed equity markets. The global small-cap fund builds on Northern Trust Asset Management’s Engineered Equity strategies, with $37.4 billion in assets under management (AUM) as of September 30. The fund, which launched with an investment by Kemper Corp. for its Master Retirement Trust, is designed to efficiently capture the premium associated with high-quality small-cap stocks while minimizing uncompensated risk factors.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management will offer R6 share classes of the J.P. Morgan SmartRetirement Mutual Fund series of target-date funds (TDFs). Managed by the company’s Investment Management Solutions – Global Multi-Asset Group (IMS–GMAG), the share class provides a non-revenue-sharing option for retirement plans of all sizes and needs. R6 share classes are being offered for all vintages in the SmartRetirement Mutual Fund series, which carries a silver rating from Morningstar. R6 shares are available at net asset value (NAV), with no front-end sales charges (CDSC) or 12b-1 fees.

The Edge Collective Fund Series brings financial wellness services, paid for by the funds’ expense ratios, to plan participants through their 401(k) plan investment menu. The series consists of three separate funds similar to asset-allocation funds—conservative, moderate and growth—that are collective trusts managed through Alta Trust. Customer relationship managers from Edge 401k Funds will contact participants three times a year so they can speak with a financial coach regarding their overall financial wellness needs.

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