WESTERN SPRINGS, Ill. - The Center for Due Diligence, a defined contribution plan consulting firm, might extend its fund analysis and search capabilities to plan participants using the self-directed brokerage option offered by their sponsor.
Phillip G. Chiricotti, president, said he's gauging plan sponsor interest now.
Participants would complete a questionnaire on investment needs and risk tolerance. Then, using a fairly simple fund screen and a participant's criteria, suitable funds would be identified.
Mr. Chiricotti said the service would avoid giving investment advice, recommendations or financial planning help.
"Once the funds have been identified, it then becomes a very personal decision whether to invest or not in a given fund. What we're doing is just providing the basic data which will help trigger a decision by a participant," he said.
Mr. Chiricotti is convinced the use of self-directed brokerage options will be popular.
"When people have this vast array available for personal savings, it's inevitable that they will demand the same for their retirement accounts," he said.
WASHINGTON - Defined contribution service providers formed the National Defined Contribution Council.
The council will serve as a forum for legislative and regulatory protection and reform as they relate to the defined contribution plan industry. Founding members include Regis Retirement Plan Services Inc., Merrill Lynch, Chase Manhattan, Bankers Trust Co., CIGNA Retirement and Investment Services, Delaware Management Co. and Rogers Casey & Associates.
The group will hold its first symposium Nov. 8-9 in Washington. The NDCC is managed by Great Western Association Management Inc., Denver.
Information is available from Patricia Sherwood at (303) 770-5353.
MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. - Strong Capital Management Inc. rolled out its new bundled 401(k) service, with investment management options from its own family of no-load mutual funds, as well as selected funds from 24 other mutual fund families.
A publicly traded company stock option and a stable value option can be added at a client's request. Strong will handle daily valued record keeping and administration internally, using a system from SunGard Employee Benefit Systems, Birmingham, Ala.
Employee communications and education also will be provided.
The new bundled service is available from a newly established unit at Strong, the retirement plan services division.
ST. PAUL, MINN. - Pension Solutions Inc., St. Paul, is now offering Fidelity's retail mutual funds and the Advisor series of funds within its mutual fund alliance for 401(k) plan services.
Pension Solutions is a subsidiary of MSI Insurance.
MINNEAPOLIS - American Express Co. is investing heavily in the infrastructure of its institutional services unit, pumping $30 million to $40 million into the 401(k) services unit over the next five years.
The sales force will be doubled and decentralized, moving representatives to key areas in regional markets.
Regional marketing will focus on plans with $10 million to $100 million; national marketing will focus on larger plans.
Some IDS mutual funds and American Express Trust Collective funds will be available soon through strategic alliances.
The Collective funds and funds from American Express' Stable Capital Management Group also will be offered on a private label basis to banks and insurance companies.
Separately, three mutual funds were added to the company's SmartPartners bundled 401(k) program - AIM Constellation, PIMCO Total Return A and Neuberger & Berman Focus Trust.
NEW YORK - PlanSmart is one of the latest software packages to help defined contribution sponsors better manage their administrative tasks.
Developed by Retirement Concepts Inc., the program is a self-audit tool to help sponsors perform an operating review of compliance with Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor regulations.
PlanSmart addresses 14 key plan management areas, including plan and trust documentation, employee eligibility, contribution and deduction levels, participant loans, distributions and participant disclosure.
The program asks employers more than 100 questions about compliance issues.
It also provides commentary about the type of information required by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor.