Adviser Support

Hot off the Presses: New products, highlights, announcements

Dalbar, Inc., and PLANSPONSOR announced a joint venture to pre-qualify financial professionals to act as Fiduciary Advisers and to provide the due diligence and documentation required by the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA). The Fiduciary Adviser Network (FAN) is designed to prepare advisers to meet the standards of prudent selection required by PPA. FAN provides the training, due diligence, and access to employers that advisers need in order to realize the income opportunities of being a Fiduciary Adviser, and is designed to support individual practitioners; small and large practices as well as advisory services of major RIA’s, banks, insurance companies, and broker/dealers.

WealthPoint has entered into a letter of intent to acquire three financial services firms in the Phoenix market -Scott, Tellier and Co., Inc.; TPGR Daily, LLC; and Sequoia Financial Advisors, Inc. WealthPoint offers retirement services including enrollment, communication, and participant education that enable plan sponsors to meet their fiduciary obligations.

The Principal Financial Group is now providing financial professionals access to Morningstar’s Advisor Workstation, a premium Web-based platform that allows users to access and prepare portfolio analysis at their desk top. The broker-dealer arm of The Principal is providing access to an exclusive version of the Advisor Workstation platform built for its registered representatives. It also includes the ability to monitor investments and portfolios with alert updates, and create customized reports and hypothetical illustrations.

Fidelity Investments has beefed up its Advisor 401(k) platform. The adviser program offers a new automatic enrollment service that allows employers to automatically enroll eligible participants. Also new to the platform are Fidelity’s Retirement Education Consultants, a team that can provide onsite initial enrollment meetings or online workshops to help educate employees on the benefits of their plan.

SEI announced plans to expand its SEI Advisor Network proposal capabilities, with support provided by a staff of 20 financial professionals who will work with advisers to develop a variety of customized proposals for prospective clients. The SEI proposal team will also provide live support to advisers, detailed competitive analysis, coach them through presentations, role-play scenarios, and discuss tax transition strategies for new clients.

AdviceAmerica, Inc., a provider of financial planning software, has unveiled the AdvisorVision Retirement Income Edition, with which advisers can create customized plans in as little as 15 minutes and evaluate a range of scenarios that consider changes in virtually every aspect of a retiree’s life, including savings and cash flow, expenses, income, market performance, withdrawal strategy, annuities, residence downsizing, long-term care, and life insurance.

BISYS has unveiled its new Advisor Advantage suite of services, which will screen for top-performing mutual fund candidates among the clients of BISYS Fund Services. Once qualified, BISYS will then actively market the funds to Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs) who invest through mutual fund platforms sponsored by broker/dealers and other financial intermediaries. As part of this program, BISYS, on behalf of the qualified funds, also will obtain favorable pricing concessions from platform sponsors on the setup fees they charge funds on the platform.

DWS Scudder has introduced Fiduciary Investment Reporting Manager (FiRM), a service designed to help financial advisers facilitate the investment selection process with prospective plan sponsors considering migrating to a DWS Scudder retirement plan. Based on information supplied by the plan sponsor, a tailored FiRM report provides an analysis of the plan’s investment mandate and compares suitable mapping alternatives with each of its current investment vehicles.

St. Paul Guarantee Insurance Company has introduced Travelers SelectOne for Investment Advisers and Funds, a new policy designed to give added protection to investment advisers, mutual funds, and hedge funds for risks associated with providing asset management products and services to investors. The policy provides coverage for failure to adhere to investment guidelines and restrictions, misrepresentations and failure to disclose risks adequately, mismanagement of investments by an adviser on behalf of a pension fund, breach of fiduciary duties to clients or pension plan participants, and unintentional errors committed in the course of performing regular investment adviser duties.

Plan Administration Tools

Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc., has announced the release of an Early Retirement Offer Analysis enhancement for RetirementWorks II. This enhancement determines whether the employee can afford to retire now or not, and compares the financial impact of accepting versus rejecting an early retirement offer, reflecting the terms of the offer itself, and also taking into account alternative employment or other changes the employee might make.

BISYS has announced the addition of automated enrollment and deferral increase features for 401(k) retirement plans. According to the announcement, (k)ruiseControl also allows plan sponsors to define initial, minimum, and maximum deferral rates; the schedule by which deferral increases occur for all eligible employees; and default investments. BISYS also provides prototype plan documents, guidance and ERISA support, a full range of participant communications, and plan-level reporting specifically in support of auto-enrollment administration.

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) has announced plans to introduce a new service to centralize and streamline the processing of managed accounts. Citigroup Smith Barney’s Consulting Group and Global Transaction Services, a business unit of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking, will partner with DTCC to launch the service, which is open to the full managed accounts industry.