As millions of baby boomers are nearing their final workingyears and millennials are starting families, safe retirement options are likely to increase inpopularity.

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Knowing retirement is on the mind of most generations that arecurrently in the workforce, it’s important to consider how toleverage this information with your clients to position a safe, yetprofitable, investment vehicle, such as a guaranteed insurancestable value fund.

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Guaranteed insurance stable value funds are a great product torecommend for clients to include in their 2017 plan offerings, asthey provide safety and low volatility to investors, but can alsogenerate higher returns.

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Related: 9 hot trends in 401(k)plans

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As a plan consultant, if you already offer a guaranteedinsurance stable value fund to your clients or are thinking aboutadding one to your investment lineup, make sure to understand allof the fund’s features and restrictions.

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Here are nine critical proof points to help you evaluateguaranteed insurance stable value funds in order to provide thebest recommendations to your clients:

1. Stable value contract and product review

Plan sponsors need a clear understanding of thecontract and product features prior to selecting a guaranteedinsurance stable value fund.

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As a plan consultant, understanding and analyzing the differentproducts and contractual terms is vital so you can provide optionsfor a product that best fits a plan sponsor’s needs.

2. Portfolio management review

In order to sell guaranteed insurance stable value funds, youmust research how each company’s portfolio is invested. Ensure thatthe goals, objectives and structure of each portfolio are clearlydefined and followed under the investment guidelines.

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The more in-depth product knowledge you have, the moreconfidence and trust you’ll build.

3. Underlying assets evaluation

Prior to your next client meeting, conduct an in-depth analysis,review and evaluation of the underlying investment characteristics,including credit quality, asset allocation, risk and fundperformance.

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Be prepared to answer plan sponsors’ questions regarding riskand reward characteristics that would result in any variancebetween the market value and book value of the fund. Predictingclient concerns and being prepared with supporting productinformation and examples will demonstrate your commitment toserving them.

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4. Fund diversification

Given that a guaranteed insurance stable value fund’s unit pricecan be subject to changes in both the credit market and marketinterest rates, portfolio diversification is an important factor toanalyze among product offerings.

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Listen to the needs of your clients’ employees and, in yourmeeting, discuss which product diversification strategy could helpsatisfy those goals.

5. Wrap provider review

Conduct a complete review of the wrap structure, including thecreditworthiness of wrap providers, wrap capacity of the fund andwrap limitations to ensure you’re offering a strong investmentlineup.

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Additionally, you should assess wrap-issuer investment guidelinechanges, crediting rate methodology, exceptions to stable valueguarantees, withdrawal restrictions and contract terminationprovisions. Discussing a wrap provider’s product restrictions canhelp you set realistic plan sponsor expectations of theoffering.

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As part of your analysis, it’s crucial to also research theissuer’s financial strength and their commitment to the stablevalue marketplace. With recent money market reforms and politicalchanges, it can be mutually beneficial for you and the plan sponsorto offer a stable value fund through an insurance company that isan active participant in the marketplace and that can offerstability and security through these uncertain times.

6. Wrap provider stability

Ultimately, the financial stability of the wrap-contractprovider(s) may factor significantly into the fund’s ability tocontinue to make payments at book value — especially if that valueis greater than the fair market value of the underlying assets.

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Understanding the contractual fund guarantees will help youbuild a stronger investment lineup as well as help you providereliable product offerings.

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7. Fair market value-adjustment provision

Most stable value funds contain a fair market value adjustmentprovision for certain plan sponsor-initiated events. Under thisprovision, plan participants may not immediately receive the bookvalue of their investment if the market value of the investment isless.

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Addressing this provision upfront could help garner confidenceand trust with your clients.They will appreciate you have done yourresearch and are going to extra lengths to highlight strengths andweaknesses of different product offerings.

8. Define plan sponsor-initiated events under an adjustmentprovision

Understand what plan sponsor-initiated events entail, how eachworks with every book-value guarantee provider, and know thepotential implications that could affect plan participants.

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It can be overwhelming for plan sponsors to read throughcontractual insurance jargon and try to make sense of productprovisions. If you can put product provisions and limitations intodigestible terminology for clients, it will be easier for them tounderstand the product, giving you a stronger chance of turningleads into sales.

9. Restrictions on participants’ ability to move assets fromthe fund

Some funds prohibit participants from moving assets directlyinto a “competing” fund, such as a money market fund. This is animportant product feature to be aware of when consulting with plansponsors regarding which guaranteed insurance stable value fund isright for their employees. Make sure to discuss such productrestrictions, if applicable, with plan sponsors. Your clients willappreciate the transparency and it could help prevent unexpectedsurprises down the road.

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Applying these nine proof points to research and learn moreabout various insurance company offerings can show clients you’rewell-versed in the industry and are invested in finding the rightproduct to help their employees with retirement readiness.

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