JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Corbel & Co. formed National Pension Alliance Ltd. to provide a bundled, daily valuation defined contribution plan service to third-party administrators for a single licensing fee. NPA will provide daily record keeping, access to voice response systems, employee investment education and investment advisory services to help with manager selection.
NPA is negotiating with more than 30 mutual fund families to provide investment management selections; between eight and 10 will become "preferred providers," likely to receive the bulk of client business, said Stuart Hack, NPA's new senior vice president.
Mr. Hack said NPA is targeting regional third-party administrators because they don't offer daily valued record keeping services to their mostly medium and small defined contribution plan clients. Beta testing is starting with 20 companies in September, and the service will formally debut in November. Corbel is a producer of pension plan administration software and document services.
NEW YORK - Towers Perrin is arranging streamlined administrative services and is negotiating reimbursements for record keeping services with 12 large U.S. mutual fund families for its DC Link program, a bundled 401(k) service.
To date, DC Link has stressed separate account management; if a client using DC Link wanted to use mutual funds, Towers Perrin had to negotiate on a case-by-case basis with the affected fund families.
Clients are increasingly demanding access to daily valued mutual funds, said Marvin Green, head of Towers Perrin national consulting practice. Mr. Green stressed the mutual fund agreements do not constitute an "alliance."
"An alliance implies a mutual obligation between the consultant and the mutual fund company. It also implies exclusivity, the use of a limited universe of 'approved' funds. We are not making any such agreements. We will not compromise our independent consulting status that way. We are not limiting the universe of the mutual funds we will consider when we do manager searches for clients searches.
"We are merely streamlining administrative details and organizing an overall reimbursement of record-keeping fees, rather than negotiating on a client-by-client basis," he said.
Ruth Hughes Guden, director of defined contribution services at consultants RogersCasey, Darien, Conn., said Towers Perrin's decision not to set up an alliance with mutual fund families differentiates them from other consulting firms.
"A mutual fund alliance with a consulting firm generally involves some steering of client assets into certain mutual fund families, in order to gain fees reimbursements. If clients really are free to select whatever mutual funds they want, without encouragement from the consultant to one fund family or another, then this new arrangement will be different from a mutual fund alliance," said Ms. Hughes Guden.
Towers Perrin has reimbursement agreements or is near agreement with American AAdvantage Funds, AMT, Brinson Partners, Neuberger and Berman, Phoenix, Twentieth Century, Dodge & Cox, Founders, INVESCO, Janus, Kemper, J.P. Morgan, Morley Capital Management, Strong Funds and Wells Fargo Nikko.
Service agreements are in place with Fidelity Investment, Northern Trust and the Vanguard Group of Investment Cos.
NEW YORK - Standard & Poor's, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc., has been hired by Mellon Trust, a subsidiary of Mellon Bank Corp., Pittsburgh, to provide a financial planning newsletter for 401(K) and other defined contribution participants.
The quarterly newsletter, Invest in Your Future, will be written by S&P and distributed by Mellon in bulk for distribution by plan sponsors or to plan participants directly in their benefit statements.
The newsletters can be customized by each employer with the addition of a company-specific insert with news specific to that plan's designs and features.
"We were impressed with the content of S&P's newsletter because it is clearly and concisely written and provides objective information to help participants make the most of their 401(k) program," said Diana Fraser, vice president and director of the employee communications and education group at Mellon Trust.
SEATTLE - Milliman & Robertson Inc. this month is rolling out a new retirement planning software package, PlanAhead.
The Windows-based, PC software tool allows employees to project the full range of obligations and costs associated with retirement and to devise a savings program and asset allocation based on their defined benefit and defined contribution plans. Unusually, projections for retiree medical costs are also included in the modeling program to help employees factor in what may be a significant post-retirement budget need.
PlanAhead is designed to be customized to reflect the employee benefit programs of each client, said Brad Fowler, a Milliman & Robertson principal.