In mid-February, National Planning Corporation (NPC) announced the launch of a 401(k) retirement plan program designed to give small and mid-sized companies the ability to provide plan participants access to personalized, one-on-one investment advice from an experienced financial advisor. Most significantly, the platform uses exchange-traded funds designed and managed by Avatar Associates as its primary investment option.
“The retirement plan market has long been dominated by mutual funds, but the transparency of fees and low cost of ETFs make them an extremely efficient and attractive investment for both plan sponsors and participants,” explains NPC President Shawn Dreffein. “By using advanced technology for administration and record keeping, NPC is able to make a high-quality, advice-driven 401(k) program affordable and easy to implement for middle-market companies.”
NPC representatives deliver quarterly onsite investment seminars at no additional cost to plan sponsors. Employees can also schedule appointments with the advisor of their choice as needed. Plan participants can select from five fully diversified portfolios, professionally managed and rebalanced regularly by Avatar. Participants also have convenient online or 24-hour telephone access to their account information.
For plan sponsors, the program also offers easy online access to participant account and investment information, as well as updates in employee benefit laws and other fiduciary considerations. The program provides each employer with an individual plan book that includes educational material for plan participants along with risk assessment questionnaires, portfolio descriptions, enrollment forms and a glossary of terms.