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Guardian Unveils Qualified Default Investment Option

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An insurer has introduced a service aimed at retirement plan participants who fail to say what they want plan administrators to do with their assets.

Guardian Insurance & Annuity Company Inc., New York, a unit of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, is starting to market a “qualified default investment alternative” program to employers that use its Guardian Advantage group annuity contract to fund 401(k) plans.

The Pension Protection Act put the QDIA concept into action in 2006, by establishing the rules 401(k) plan sponsors must follow to avoid liability for investment losses when they choose default investment funds for participants who do not provide investment instructions.

Employers are supposed to choose alternatives, such as managed accounts or lifecycle funds, that allow for growth as well as preservation of assets.

Guardian is making a QDIA available by having PMFM Inc., Watkinsville, Ga., the registered investment advisor for the 401k Toolbox Manage It For Me asset-allocation program, manage the QDIA assets.

PMFM will provide “5 risk-based portfolios [that] change with market conditions,” and the portfolios will become more conservative as participants age, Guardian says.