Mutual of Omaha announced Wednesday that it would expand on its partnership with Mesirow Financial, a Chicago-based diversified financial services firm, to offer a plan-level fiduciary service to retirement plan customers.

Section 3(38) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act allows a plan sponsor to delegate responsibility and liability for selecting, managing and replacing investment options in a retirement plan to an RIA. Mutual of Omaha has offered an ERISA 3(21) co-fiduciary service with Mesirow Financial since 2007. Under Section 3(21), liability and responsibility remain with the plan sponsor, while the advisor advises.

Under Mutual of Omaha's 3(38) service, Mesirow Financial assumes full fiduciary responsibility for selecting and monitoring investments, and acts as the investment manager to the plan. Under the 3(21) service, plan sponsors can choose from a menu of investment options provided by Mesirow Financial.

Tim Bormann, 401(k) product-line director for Mutual of Omaha, called the new offering an "additional layer of protection" for broker-dealers and advisors, adding that it allows advisors to "focus on providing other value-added services to their clients."

“Our new 3(38) investment manager solution provides more flexibility to broker-dealers and their advisors, addressing the Department of Labor’s proposed regulations expanding the definition of 'fiduciary' related to investment advice,” Bormann said in a press release. "It also reduces the time commitment required by plan sponsors to meet their fiduciary obligations, allowing them to devote more time to running their business,” he added.