Investment Product and Services Launches for the Week

New products and services this week include index crediting strategies from Voya Financial and the uptake of PFaroe by NEPC.

Voya Offers New Index Crediting Strategy

Voya Financial announced that it is offering customers a new index crediting strategy within the company’s Voya Secure Index series and Retirement Index Select fixed index annuity product lines.

The Voya Point-to-Point Volatility Control Strategy features Deutsche Bank’s proprietary CROCI (Cash Return on Capital Invested) U.S. 5% Volatility Control Index, which provides a dynamic investment option that aims to reduce volatility by allocating between select U.S. stocks and cash. Customers benefit from low spread rates with growth potential, while also receiving a level of protection from downturns in the market, according to Voya.

Voya says the distinguishing feature of its Point-to-Point Volatility Control Strategy is its use of Deutsche Bank’s CROCI valuation methodology. “Using this valuation methodology, 40 of the most undervalued stocks selected from approximately the top half (measured by market capitalization) of the S&P 500 Index are identified and grouped together in a propriety index, which is sponsored by Deutsche Bank,” the firm explains. “This index may provide individuals who select the Voya Point-to-Point Volatility Control Strategy with the opportunity to grow their retirement savings.” 

In addition to offering an alternative to other popular benchmark strategies that are capped, the Voya Point-to-Point Volatility Control Strategy provides upside potential minus a spread rate. A lower spread rate helps customers maximize their investment, while their principal remains protected even with downturns in the market. Customers “can lock in potential index credit gains on an annual basis to their fixed index annuity contract—giving them the benefits of compounding interest.”

NEXT: NEPC Picks Up PFaroe

NEPC Improves Glide Path Customization Capabilities

NEPC has adopted RiskFirst’s risk analytics and reporting platform, PFaroe, to improve the implementation of its customized asset-allocation glide path strategies.

Craig Svendsen, partner and head of the corporate defined benefit team at NEPC, comments: “Many of our clients have customized glide paths for their asset allocations, and PFaroe offers tremendous value in that it can calculate funding status on a daily basis. The result is that we can recognize immediately when certain triggers have been breached, and then make timely asset allocation changes as appropriate. For most of our clients, this means selling assets from the return-seeking portfolio and buying assets in the liability-hedging portfolio, thus taking advantage of opportunities to reduce risk.”

Almost 75% of NEPC’s corporate defined benefit (DB) clients have long duration strategies in their portfolios. In addition, since 2011, 73% of DB plans have developed a glide path with an additional 11% in the process of developing such a solution.

NEXT: MassMutual's new managed accounts

New MassMutual Managed Accounts

MassMutual has teamed up with Envestnet Retirement Solutions LLC to introduce a new managed account service, “providing personalized, professionally managed investment strategies to help participants in 401(k)s and similar retirement savings plans reach their retirement goals.”

Envestnet Retirement Solutions is a registered investment adviser and is the investment manager for the managed accounts. The firm is a subsidiary of parent company, Envestnet, Inc., and is not affiliated with MassMutual.

With RetireSmart Ready Managed Path managed accounts, the participant's retirement account is actively managed by Envestnet “on an ongoing basis to ensure that the investments remain appropriate for the participant's objectives.” RetireSmart Ready Managed Path is designed to help participants who need investment guidance and who may not want to actively manage their retirement investments on their own. The managed account investment strategies are built from investment options already available through a plan sponsor's retirement savings plan.

Employers that sponsor retirement plans administered by MassMutual will be able to use RetireSmart Ready Managed Path in two ways: personalized investment strategies available for selection by participants or as a qualified deferred investment alternative (QDIA) available in plans that automatically enroll employees.

Participants can enroll in RetireSmart Ready Managed Path online through the MassMutual RetireSMART Ready Tool after establishing a separate advisory account with Envestnet, with no other paperwork required. The tool gathers information about each participant's current age, target retirement age, risk tolerance, existing savings and future retirement needs, including whether or not he or she has a defined benefit plan.