MassMutual Officially Launches Its Fiduciary Warranty and Third-Party Certification to the Defined Contribution Market
Third-Party Certification to be Conducted by Mesirow Financial.
(Springfield, Mass.) ó MassMutualís Retirement Services Division has officially introduced its new Fiduciary Warranty to qualifying plans that include investment options available through MassMutualís Smart ArchitectureSM Investment Program. According to Paul Steven Henry, vice president of product development for MassMutual, the Fiduciary Warranty has received very strong interest from both advisors and plan sponsors. ďThe positive reaction to the MassMutual Fiduciary Warranty has been immediate and even stronger than we anticipated. Clearly, advisors and sponsors welcome this level of fiduciary support,Ē says Henry.
MassMutualís Fiduciary Warranty is designed to help protect plan fiduciaries in the event there is a legal judgment that results in damages attributable to a breach in the Warranty. The Warranty will provide specified assurances to plan fiduciaries in several critical areas including:
* Independent certification that ERISA standards of fiduciary prudence have been applied to investment identification, screening and monitoring
* Independent certification that investment options under MassMutualís Smart ArchitectureSM Investment Program provide a suitable basis for plan participants to construct well-diversified investment portfolios for retirement
* The requirement under Section 404(c) of ERISA to offer a broad range of investment alternatives will be satisfied if the designated asset categories are selected
* Investment options made available include balanced and target date investments that meet the Department of Laborís proposed requirements for Qualified Default Investment Alternatives (QDIA)
Alongside MassMutualís Fiduciary Warranty is a separate, independent third-party certification program to be provided by Mesirow Financial, Chicago, Ill. The Investment Strategies group at Mesirow Financial will perform an annual evaluation to certify that MassMutualís investment identification, screening and monitoring processes are consistent with ERISA standards of fiduciary prudence, and that the investments on MassMutualís platform are suitable for individuals investing for retirement. Mesirow Financialís annual evaluation will focus on MassMutualís process, which uses quantitative and qualitative factors including investment performance, style consistency, manager tenure, investment philosophy, and expenses.
According to Bill OíGrady, senior vice president of national sales and distribution for MassMutual, ďWe are already seeing strong interest in MassMutualís Fiduciary Warranty program among retirement plan advisors and plan sponsors. Plan sponsors recognize that thereís no substitute for the expertise a retirement advisor delivers on their behalf. However, the knowledge that this level of due diligence has been applied to MassMutualís investment lineup is very reassuring.Ē
ERISA requires that fiduciaries, whether they are plan sponsors or advisors, engage in a prudent process to develop a lineup of investments and related services that is suitable and appropriate to their retirement plan participants. ďOur independent evaluation of MassMutualís investment selection process offers advisors, plan sponsors and plan participants added assurance that MassMutualís investment selection process is sound,Ē says Mark Kowalczyk, managing director of Mesirow Financialís Investment Strategies group.
For additional information about MassMutualís third-party certification program, as well as terms and conditions of the Fiduciary Warranty, please contact your MassMutual representative or MassMutual at 1-866-444-2601, email@example.com.
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