Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are invading the 401(k) marketplace, and it doesn't look like the big push will let up any time soon.
The latest entrant is New York-based WisdomTree Investments, which recently announced that its menu of dividend-weighted ETFs are now part of the platform Invest n Retire has created for managing tax-deferred retirement plans.
Invest n Retire's proprietary system allows plan participants to include ETFs (even fractional shares) in their retirement portfolio while avoiding most of the associated trading fees -- thus getting ETF exposure without the burden and expense of setting up individual directed brokerage accounts.
"We believe investors will benefit from using ETFs in their 401(k) plans and that Invest n Retire is at the forefront of this important innovation to the 401(k) marketplace," says WisdomTree CEO Jonathan Steinberg.
Likewise, traditional mutual funds still dominate the lucrative retirement plan universe, but many observers see big changes on the horizon, which is where firms like WisdomTree come in.
"WisdomTree's ETFs are truly innovative because they fill a gaping hole in the ETF market," says Darwin Abrahamson, founder/CEO of Portland, Ore.-based Invest n Retire. "WisdomTree's ETFs represent a complete family of alpha-generating strategies, which allows advisors the ability to design more flexible model portfolios."
Since June, WisdomTree has launched 30 ETFs and amassed roughly $1.6 billion in AUM. In December, the company announced a $56.4 million cash infusion from AIG Global Investment Group and Atlantic-Pacific Capital.
Ron DeLegge is the editor of www.etfguide.com.