NEW YORK - New York Life Asset Management has created a PC software program to quiz the executives of companies sponsoring a 401(k) plan instead of quizzing the employee participants in the plan.
Several providers of investment options for 401(k) plans have come up with software education programs to help participants devise an investment program. New York Life's Education Builder is different from those and seems similar to a quiz in Cosmopolitan magazine, except that with Education Builder you can punch in numerical variables in an electronic file and it's more comprehensive than a simple quiz. Instead of asking about aspects of your love life or personality as the magazine quiz would do, the New York Life quiz asks about the 401(k) education program and your level of satisfaction.
At the end of the quiz, the Education Builder suggests possible modifications to the existing employee investment education program.
Some questions in the program are about your goals: whether you want increased employee participation, increased contribution rates, improved participant diversification, and age-appropriate investment selection.
The program also asks what education tools are used: stuffers in payroll envelopes, posters, booklets, etc. In a test of the program where some dissatisfaction with a hypothetical 401(k) program was suggested, the program suggested a multimonth education program that suggested many different ways of communicating and educating employees, including "women's issues communications." The program takes about 20 minutes to run.
More information may be obtained by contacting Dean Landew at (201) 331-2546.
Towers Perrin planner
VALHALLA, N.Y. - In about 20 years, milk will be selling for about $5 a gallon, according to Towers Perrin's retirement planning software called Outlook. A pair of running shoes will cost about $250.
The graphically attractive, simple-to-run software is being offered to plan sponsors to help them educate participants in retirement programs estimate their income at retirement age and projected retirement expenses.
Once the user punches in numbers about sources of income and estimates on expected rate of salary increases and savings investment return rates, the software shows what you are likely to have to spend and what the probable costs will be.
The software shows whether there will be a gap (or excess) between how you want to live and what you will have to spend. It also permits a user to print out a report of the session with Outlook.
According to Towers Perrin, Outlook gives employees an overall picture about retirement, allowing them to calculate income from company plans, savings, Social Security and other sources. It also allows employees to calculate expenses, such as taxes, health care, housing and incidental expenses.
Outlook also allows employees to calculate elements that are specific to them, such as college expenses for children, long-term care, travel plans, lifestyle choices and retirement income from a spouse.
More information can be obtained by contacting Joseph P. Conway at (914) 745-4000.
Aetna picks up PAM
PRINCETON, N.J. - Aetna Capital Management Inc. has licensed PAM for Securities software for portfolio management and accounting systems, from Princeton Financial Systems.
Aetna Capital Management, a subsidiary of Aetna Life Insurance Co., will use PAM for day-to-day portfolio management, periodic client reporting and regulatory reporting requirements.
"There is a very definite trend in the insurance industry toward outsourcing portfolio management and accounting functions," said Jim Mayhall, Princeton Financial's senior vice president of sales and marketing.
More than 110 institutional investors are using PAM, according to Mr. Mayhall.
Bond software updated
BERKELEY, Calif. - BARRA Inc. has released a new version of its global government bond model that gives money managers and plan sponsors a more detailed breakdown of the sources of risk in a local market.
The new version called GLOBO 5.0, includes an enhanced data base that covers more than 5,000 assets. The assets include foreign and domestic bonds.
BARRA also announced Lars Nielsen, a senior consultant in the firm's Paris office, will move to the New York office.
Mr. Nielsen will concentrate on international equity products.
EDS takes piece of IBOS
DALLAS - EDS, the General Motors Corp. subsidiary, has signed an agreement to become an equity partner in IBOS (Inter-Bank On-line System) Ltd.
IBOS operations in cross-border banking services in Europe now will be expanded worldwide, said a spokesman for EDS, the new partner.
EDS will become an equal shareholder with IBOS partners Banco Santander of Spain and The Royal Bank of Scotland.
Goldman Sachs & Co., New York, the financial adviser to IBOS, holds a minority stake in the firm.