Investment Product and Service Launches

Guardian moves to expand investment flexibility with new options; Northern Trust enhances solution for fair value leveling through collaboration with Interactive Data; Nuveen Asset Management introduces pension liability matching indexes with Wilshire. 

Guardian Expands Investment Flexibility with New Options

The Guardian Insurance & Annuity Company this week revealed 21 new investment options being added to The Guardian Choice lineup of retirement products, alongside an additional 26 options for The Guardian Advantage lineup.

According to the firm, the significant rollout of new investment options “increase the breadth of asset classes available for plan sponsors utilizing these products to fund their qualified retirement plans.” The additions include the American Funds Target Date Retirement Series, and offerings from other fund families including American Century and T. Rowe Price.

In the alternatives market segment, Guardian is adding exposure to natural resources, utilities and sector funds from Dreyfus and Franklin Templeton. According to Guardian, these new offerings increase the total number of funds available in The Guardian Choice to 150 and in The Guardian Advantage to 129.

Douglas Dubitsky, vice president of product management at Guardian, says the firm will continue its push into new retirement funding vehicles that “allow plan sponsors to select from a diverse and flexible investment line-up suited to meet the needs of their plan participants.”

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NEXT: Northern Trust Partners to Boost Fixed-Income Transparency  

Northern Trust Collaborates with Interactive Data

Northern Trust announced a new collaboration with Interactive Data (IDC) to enhance its support for fair value level determination for fixed-income securities. 

The firm explains the collaboration will help clients “satisfy fair value disclosure requirements prescribed within IFRS 13, FASB ASC 820, GASB 72, UK FRS 102, and other accounting guidance."

Through the use of Interactive Data’s Vantage program, a web application that provides in-depth market information and sophisticated workflow tools, Northern Trust says it can now “deliver improved transparency to evaluated prices for most fixed-income assets.”

In addition to improving data transparency, Northern Trust says it is “working to provide information that makes it easier for clients to manage the asset leveling process and reduce associated costs.” Presented as the Fair Value Toolkit, Northern Trust services under the collaboration can offer suggested fair value levels, detailed pricing inputs, flexibility in assigning fair value levels, and options for categorizing assets in accordance with financial statement presentations.  

Clients with complex portfolios will benefit from fully outsourced support through Northern Trust’s Valuation Support Services, the firm explains.

“With IDC’s Vantage, Northern Trust’s clients receive access to more than 40 fixed-income valuation inputs … including bid/ask prices, bid spread, comparable bond inputs, trading volumes, use of single-broker quotes, a market depth indicator that provides insight into the amount of data available for an asset, and points of market color per issue and issuer,” the firm explains. “In addition, Northern Trust staff helps establish client-specific fair value leveling criteria; identify market inactivity and other factors that impact fair value levels; streamline testing performed by auditors; and coordinate pricing vendor inquiries.”

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NEXT: New Indexes Support Pension Liability Matching 

Nuveen Asset Management Introduces DC Liability Matching Indexes

Nuveen Asset Management, an investment affiliate of TIAA Global Asset Management, launched four new indexes “powered by Wilshire” that are designed to effectively match corporate pension liabilities.

The four indexes, Nuveen Wilshire Intermediate (5-10) Corporate Bond, Nuveen Wilshire Long (10-20) Corporate Bond, Nuveen Wilshire Long (20-30) Corporate Bond and the Nuveen Wilshire Ultra Long (20+) STRIPS, have each been “designed with pension liability-matching in mind, but also for simplicity and cost-effectiveness.” Combined, they seek to provide performance benchmarking, economic liability measurement and an effective investment de-risking solution.

David Wilson, managing director and head of institutional solutions for Nuveen Asset Management, says the indexes were produced to “meet the clear need for a simpler and more effective de-risking solution.”

“We are pleased to align with the Wilshire Analytics’ index team to offer this family of customized indexes as their reputation as leaders in the indexing space complements our own expertise in crafting successful pension solutions,” he adds. “We worked closely to develop these customized tools, which we believe will enable plan sponsors of all sizes to effectively match their liabilities while enhancing yield potential.”

Wilson says the investment solutions associated with the indexes “should allow customized allocations that closely match both the overall and partial durations of any traditional corporate defined benefit pension liability without the need for derivatives. Furthermore, splitting up the long end of the corporate bond universe into two components helps to increase the yield of the de-risking solution.”

Returns for the indexes can be tracked here