Lord Abbett Exits Small-401(k) Market

September 23, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Jersey City, New Jersey-based investment management firm Lord, Abbett & Co. announced Wednesday it is getting out of the small-401(k) market to concentrate on its DC investment only book of business.

Simultaneously, Lord Abbett and the Hartford announced a plan to transfer assets from thenearly 8,000 bundled small 401(k) plans comprising more than 59,000 participants and more than $1.2 billion in assets from their current Lord Abbett home to Hartford’s platform.

Lord Abbett said it would no longer sell any small-market 401(k) plans to clients effective October 1, 2009. The decision announced Wednesday was the result of a strategic re-assessment of its retirement business, Lord Abbett said.

According to the news releases, the asset-transfer pact with The Hartford calls for Lord Abbett to enable eligible 401(k) plans to access the Hartford’s lineup of Aviator open architecture 401(k) products.

The Hartford will also waive transfer fees. The offer includes a waiver of all contingent deferred sales charges (CDSCs) on all A and C share plans; the waiver of a plan termination fee; and the waiver of a 2010 billing fee for plans that submit account opening paperwork by April 1, 2010.

“We are pleased to be strategically partnering with The Hartford – a leader in retirement services,” said Daria L.Foster, Managing Partner of Lord Abbett. “The strength of their organization, the scope of their distribution, the quality of their products, and the mutual respect we both have for the role of the financial adviser make this an ideal opportunity. We are proud to be associated with this great organization, and we look forward to helping our clients gain the flexibility and range of choice offered by this platform.”

“The Hartford views its retirement plan business as a significant growth opportunity, and we are actively looking to expand our presence in the marketplace,” said Jim Davey, Executive Vice President of The Hartford’s Investments and Retirement Division. “We are excited about this strategic alliance and the opportunity for us to provide these retirement plan clients access to our products and new investment opportunities.”