By Cyril Tuohy
Guardian has added 21 new investment options for businesses using the company’s Choice and Advantage investment offerings, which are used to fund qualified retirement plans.
The new investment options will give employers using Guardian Choice and Guardian Advantage more breadth and flexibility. In addition, the new options widen the risk/reward investment spectrum for employees who choose to participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, Guardian said in a news release.
Qualified retirement plans include 401(k)s, defined benefit plans, profit sharing plans and money purchase pension plans.
“With multiple qualified default investment alternative options and no proprietary fund requirements, Guardian’s group retirement funding vehicles allow plan sponsors to select from a diverse and flexible fund line-up best suited to meet the needs of their plan participants,” Douglas Dubitsky, vice president at Guardian Retirement Solutions, said in a statement.
The 21 new investment options are coming from new fund families that were previously unavailable to Choice and Advantage clients. Those new fund families include well-known mutual fund complexes such as American Funds, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Oppenheimer Funds and Putnam Investments.
New investment options also are coming from mutual fund families like Vanguard, MFS and Franklin Templeton that already serve Choice and Advantage plan sponsors, Guardian said.
Financial services companies see adding more investment choices to group retirement plans as a way to help employees of small businesses prepare for retirement. In many instances that is true, as employees invest at their comfort level along the risk-reward spectrum.
Too many options can also backfire, however.
“Analysis paralysis” sometimes prevents employees from even getting started with their retirement plans because they are confused about what they need, according to behavioral studies of retirement investment.
In July, Guardian also introduced Fixed Target Annuity, a new single premium fixed deferred annuity with flexible renewal and withdrawal options.
Guardian said the annuity has no “market value adjustments on withdrawals made before maturity,” which offers contract holders a clearer picture of the income streams they can expect the annuity to provide.
Industry executives expect demand for annuities to remain strong as baby boomers move further into their retirement years and look for guaranteed income to supplement their defined benefit and defined contribution pensions.
Dubitsky said the company’s new annuity would help reduce volatility risk and add more stability to an investment portfolio for investors approaching or in retirement.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at email@example.com.
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