CLEVELAND - KeyCorp has created three lifestyle mutual funds using a fund-of-funds approach that will be offered to individuals and 401(k) participants through its PRISM Daily program.
The funds include growth, moderate growth, and income and growth styles each with varying exposure to equities. The mutual funds and commingled funds included in the lifestyle funds are managed by Society Asset Management; Spears, Benzak, Salomon & Farrell; and KeyCorp Mutual Fund Advisers.
Web site launched
MINNEAPOLIS - American Express Institutional Services has launched a World Wide Web site that individuals and companies can use to obtain retirement planning and personal financial information.
Called "The 401(k) Site" Web surfers can enter personal financial information and receive immediate feedback regarding retirement questions and related issues. Individuals may explore which investment options are best suited to their needs and retirement goals, estimate necessary savings levels needed to achieve those goals, asset allocation information and how plan contributions affect take-home pay.
Users can create a personalized portfolio of fund information to track performance of selected mutual funds.
The 401(k) Site also allows benefits and human resource administrators to monitor and track news, regulatory issues and legislation pertaining to the retirement planning area.
"The 401(k) Site" is on line at http: www.americanexpress.com/401(k).
Aetna Internet test
HARTFORD, Conn. - Aetna Retirement Services is conducting a pilot program of a customer self-service Internet site at the University of Connecticut allowing plan participants direct access to account information. The program allows about 1,200 university staff plan participants to transfer among investment options and allocate future contributions to their 403(b) and 457 variable annuity accounts.
Following the test period, expected to last from one to two months, Aetna plans to roll out the Internet direct access capability nationally to about 1 million 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plan participants.
Equities take top prize
NEW YORK - Participants in 401(k) plans have a larger proportion of assets in equity funds than in GIC funds, according to a new study by Foster Higgins. It was the first time equities surpassed GICs since the annual survey started in 1990, the consulting firm said.
In 1996, equities held 40% of participant balances, up from 35% in 1995. GICs held 33%, down dramatically from 42%. The most popular equity fund is the actively managed domestic growth fund, offered by 78% of plan sponsors, up from 72% in 1995.
The average number of investment options increased to 7.7 from 6.3. Plan participation rates declined slightly in 1996 to 76% of eligible employees from about 78% the year before, according to Foster Higgins.
Kemper offers software
CHICAGO - Kemper Retirement Plans released a new software package to assist qualified plan participants in determining appropriate contribution levels and retirement planning information.
The program, Retirement Reality, allows participants to immediately see how different circumstances, such as changes in deferral contributions, will affect long-term retirement planning.
Using current age and salary information, anticipated life expectancy and retirement age, the program provides an initial estimate of retirement needs. Participants can refine their estimate by adjusting several assumptions such as projected Social Security benefits, other savings and investments, or modifying retirement age and projected life expectancy.
Once the rate of return needed to achieve projected financial needs is determined, participants can select investment options designed to help provide that rate.
Hewitt opening Orlando center
LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. - Hewitt Associates will establish a new benefits outsourcing center in Orlando, Fla. and will hire 1,000 employees to staff the center during the next five years.
Hewitt has nearly 5,500 employees worldwide. The Orlando center opens in July and is designed to manage employee benefit plans for large client companies. Hewitt had annual revenue of $568 million last year and expects outsourcing to contribute 50% of revenues in 1997.
Scudder offers volatility kit
BOSTON - Scudder Defined Contribution Services created the Scudder University Market Correction Kit in response to concern among 401(k) clients that employees might overreact to market volatility in case of a significant correction or a stagnating market.
The market correction kit has two parts. Part one is the Scudder University Times, a newspaper with information and charts to answer questions that might arise during a volatile market and convey the benefits of long-term investing, asset diversification and global investing.
Part two is the market correction workshop, in which an education specialist leads plan participants in an interactive workshop and discusses in detail many of the concepts introduced in the Scudder University Times.
Scudder says it will let clients determine when to use the programs.
SunLife's small DC vehicle
WELLESLEY, Mass. - Sun Life of Canada (U.S.) rolled out a new bundled service for 401(k) plans with up to 99 employees. RQ-EZ includes administration, record keeping, education support materials and investments. Nine investment options are offered through American Century; Fidelity; Massachusetts Financial Services; Neuberger & Berman and Sun Life of Canada (U.S.). Plan administration is done by Benefits Resource Group Inc. and includes daily valuation, voice response and IRS filings.
BALTIMORE - A World Wide Web directory of 401(k) service providers using artificial intelligence tools has been developed for plan sponsors to help identify potential vendors.
According to HR Investment Consultants, Baltimore, publishers of the 401(k) Provider Directory, employers can enter basic plan data and aspects of the plan they want to improve or modify to generate a list of service provider candidates.
The site also will allow what-if analysis by changing criteria or by assigning different levels of importance to various plan aspects.
The web site address is http: www.401ksearch.com.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. expanded its relationship with Universal Pensions Inc., by outsourcing 1,200 of its 1,400 record-keeping clients to UPI. Lincoln earlier this year outsourced nearly 3,000 record keeping clients to UPI. A decision on the balance will be made later, according to Lincoln National. Officials said the move was based on cost and allows the firm to focus its attention on asset management.