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Rating:Republicans' 401k Conspiracy Theory May Benefit Fund Firms Over Insurers Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, May 14, 2010

Republicans' 401k Conspiracy Theory May Benefit Fund Firms Over Insurers

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

The 401k Round Up is a weekly column aimed at keeping mutual fund industry insiders up-to-date on what's happening in the 401(k) industry. Below are quick takes on stories that originally appeared on The MFWire's sister publication, The 401kWire.
The 401(k) is getting dragged into national politics in a bigger way than ever before. The fight could be news for mutual fund firms looking to compete with insurance companies for retirees' assets.

The politicization started in February, when Newt Gingrich accused the Democrats of wanting to nationalize 401(k)s after the Department of Labor asked for comments on how to encourage the use of retirement income products (i.e. annuities) inside retirement plans. Despite the fact the DoL was talking about private annuities (not a government investment) and partially thanks to Vice President Joe Biden's Middle Class Task Force mentioning further study of a supplemental, government-backed guaranteed retirement account idea, the media and other Republicans have joined the worrying about Democrats' allegedly sinister designs for 401(k)s.

The conflation of government and private retirement income options may lead to a delay of (or outright retreat from) any possible move by the DoL to encourage the use of annuities. For mutual fund firms interested in the retirement plan space, that may be good news as they compete with insurers for assets.
* * *

The Hartford's retirement business went fund shopping recently and put a number of faith-based mutual funds into its basket. Hoping to pick up more non-profit business, the company added Christian value investment options from the Timothy Plan, the Luther King Capital Management Aquinas Funds and Ave Maria Mutual Funds to its 403(b), 401(a), 457 and 401(k) defined contribution retirement plan platforms.
* * *

Another plan provider increased the fund options in its offering. For the first time, McCready and Keene added direct access to ETFs to its platform, offering more than 800 exchange-traded funds. The company's offering already includes more than 23,000 mutual fund options.  

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