It's been a brutal week in the U.S. — cold and barren out here in the west. Small birds look for feeders; the larger birds seek ways to leave. The creek has swollen rather than receded as we thought it would. The coyotes have come down from the hills to prey on mice and rabbits who once thought they were safe.

Aside from the political news, in the benefits industry it's been a busy month so far, with news of launches, mergers, personnel changes, and more. Here's what we've heard:

  • Freshly launched Advice2Pay is a consolidated billing service that supports group insurance products.

  • BenefitGuard has created Financial Connection, a financial wellness site with free resources to help retirement savers, as well as chat and email for its 401(k) clients.

  • Advisor Group, (comprised of SagePoint Financial, FSC Securities Corporation, Woodbury Financial and Royal Alliance) has a new brand strategy. Its aim is to better reflect the firm's focus on offering advisors "support, partnership, and protection."

  • Beaumont Capital Management (BCM), a provider of ETF-based investment solutions, is offering the BCM Dynamic Global Fixed Income strategy. Part of a diverse fixed income suite, the strategy uses a set of quantitative models to identify patterns in the volatility of fixed income markets.

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