Hartford Taps Asset Manager for Advisory Service

April 3, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Plan sponsors will soon be able to get some help in fulfilling their fiduciary obligations, courtesy of a new program from The Hartford and Neuberger Berman.

Under the program, which will be officially launched next month, asset manager Neuberger Berman will offer investment advisory services to The Hartford’s 401(k) plan sponsor clients.   Through the new program, titled Neuberger Berman Plan IQ, Neuberger Berman will assist plan sponsors in researching, selecting and monitoring of plan investments, taking on the role of an investment advice fiduciary under Section 3(21)(A) of ERISA to those plans that follow its recommendations fully.

The Hartford is the first company to partner with Neuberger Berman to offer this service, which is also unique in utilizing a firm that actually manages money for a living to make the evaluation.   According to Jim Davey, vice president and managing director of corporate retirement plans at The Hartford, it’s no accident that Hartford chose a money management firm to provide the service.   “Neuberger Berman was chosen based on its more than sixty years of managing money for institutions, corporations and pension funds. That is their area of expertise and as a result, that makes this a very unique service that the market hasn’t seen until now,” he said.

Demographic Dynamics

Through the Plan IQ program Neuberger Berman reviews and analyzes a plan sponsor’s employee demographics and plan status and, based on the results makes recommendations suited to the risk/reward parameters of the company’s employee demographics.   The program includes a formal review of the individual plan requirements and appropriate fund selections at least once a year.   Additionally, changes will be communicated and coordinated via personal interaction.

To help ensure unbiased guidance, Neuberger Berman’s funds are not available through this program. Additionally, the Hartford’s plan sponsor clients will receive a formal Investment Policy Statement from Neuberger Berman, as well as receive advice and reporting for possible recommendations of changes to the investment offerings. In addition, Neuberger Berman will monitor investment selections for The Hartford’s core retirement program.

“Financial Advisors have been asking for this type of service and support to complement what they bring to the table in the sales process,” said Davey.   “This service completes our vision of providing educational solutions and resources at not only the participant level, but for the plan sponsor as well, helping them manage risk within their retirement programs.”