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Bells & Whistles | Published in April 2012

Bells & Whistles - April 2012

By PLANSPONSOR staff | April 2012
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Each month, Bells & Whistles highlights recent product introductions that plan sponsors­ may find of interest. More information about these announcements can be found on www.plansponsor.com. If you have a product announcement that you believe would be of interest to our ­readers, drop us a line at news@plansponsor.com.

Illustration by Irena Zablotska

DEFINED BENEFIT 

CAMRADATA Analytical Servicesreleased a white paper, “The Case for Pension Risk Transfer.” The paper explains why an upsurge in pension risk transfer (PRT) products is expected in the U.S. and why removing defined benefit pension liabilities is not as expensive as most plan sponsors have been led to believe.

A paper from J.P. Morgan Asset Management, titled “The Missing Link: Economic Exposure and Pension Plan Risk,” explores structural linkages between a pension plan’s funding position and the performance of the sponsoring company’s underlying business. In the process, it outlines a precise approach for measuring that risk variable and then mitigating it with an asset allocation framework that can be used to hedge sponsor risk.

In its latest Retirement, Risk & Finance Perspective, Mercer explores one solution for settling a portion of liabilities that may be financially attractive and minimally disruptive to a company’s workforce. In a discussion between two corporate executives, the article explains the approach of managing risk by cashing out liabilities for deferred vested participants.

DEFINED CONTRIBUTION 

Ary Rosenbaum, a New York-based Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) attorney, is introducing a 401(k) plan for small to mid-sized employers. 401(k) Freedom, offered by 401(k) Freedom Inc., allows multiple businesses throughout the country to offer a retirement plan under the umbrella of a single, qualified retirement plan. It will provide a complete, customizable plan design tailored to the needs of smaller companies.

IRAmarket.com launched a service to help reduce the paperwork for 401(k) rollovers to IRAs. The service helps users complete new account applications through a secure online process. The new features are powered by Wealth Management Systems Inc. (WMSI).

PLATFORM ENHANCEMENTS 

ING introduced a mobile application that allows ING retirement plan participants to access and manage their retirement plan account information while on the go. Depending on their particular retirement plan, participants may view current balances and balance history, balances by asset class and fund, personal rate of return, fund performance and contribution history.

Qualified Plan Consultants LLC (QPC)released its new Audit Protection Plan (QPC APP). The QPC APP provides assistance to QPC’s new 401(k) plan sponsor clients who become subject to an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Department of Labor (DoL) audit for any year they are a QPC client.

BMO Institutional Trust Services initiated a retirement readiness program to help employers better prepare employees for retirement. The program consists of bimonthly communications with employers that sponsor 401(k) or other retirement savings plans. Begun in March, BMO’s first retirement readiness initiative is designed to help employers persuade their employees to engage in an individualized retirement readiness boot camp.

Nationwide Retirement Solutions has redesigned and enhanced its website to better serve public sector plan sponsors and participants. Nationwide said it identified what plan participants and plan sponsors value most from their Web experience, and bases its enhancements around those qualities.