Ameren Corp., St. Louis, hired William Blair & Co. as underlying manager of a new active smidcap domestic equity option as part of an overall restructuring of its $1.6 billion 401(k) plan, confirmed Mary Ellen Brown, supervisor-trust investments.
The change comes as part of the restructuring of the company's Savings Investment Plan to a three-tier structure from a two tiers, Ms. Brown said in a telephone interview.
The new structure separates actively managed funds and index funds into two tiers with target-date funds as the third tier, and was done to make the plan's structure more logical and simplify the lineup for participants, Ms. Brown said.
As part of the change, the company now offers a single domestic smidcap equity option in the new active tier, with growth manager William Blair and existing value manager NWQ Investment Management Co., as the underlying managers. Separate options for value, managed by NWQ, and growth, managed by Royce & Associates, are no longer available. Ms. Brown wouldn't say why Royce was dropped.
Another manager was hired along with William Blair, but Ms. Brown would not provide the name of the manager.
The plan also hired BlackRock as sole manager of the plan's new index tier, with five index funds, two of which — domestic fixed income and international equity — are new to the plan. BlackRock was already manager of a TIPS fund, large-cap equity index fund and smidcap equity index fund. The plan also removed the Vanguard Extended Market index fund.
Ms. Brown said the decision to make BlackRock the sole index manager was based primarily on the convenience of the manager already running the plan's target-date funds.
The plan offers seven actively managed options, five index options and 10 target-date funds.