The Retirement Services Division of MassMutual, Springfield, Mass., was named Retirement Leader of the Year at the 19th Annual Mutual Fund Industry Awards in New York City April 5.

Mutual Fund Industry Awards are presented annually to leaders from across the industry distinguished for their excellence, achievements, innovation and contributions over the previous year. Retirement Leader of the Year is awarded to a firm that has made a key impact on growing retirement assets with unique retirement solutions, advertising/marketing campaigns and significant contributions to the retirement industry at large.

MassMutual was selected as the winner by the editors of Fund Industry Intelligence, a publication of Euromoney Institutional Investor focused on the mutual fund industry. Among award nominees, MassMutual was the only retirement services provider to be nominated for the second consecutive year. The nomination was based on MassMutual’s record sales success, action-oriented participant education, innovative PlanSmart Analysis tool, top advisor loyalty ratings and award-winning trade print and video advertising, among other criteria. 

 

In other industry news:

J.P. Morgan’s Global Trade business, New York, N.Y., won 20 awards for leadership throughout the past 12 months. The industry publications honoring the firm are CFO World MagazineFinanceAsia, Global Trade Review, The Asset, Trade & Forfaiting ReviewTrade Finance and Treasury Management International.

Readers of Trade & Forfaiting Review named J.P. Morgan Best Trade Bank in the World for the second consecutive year and also bestowed three additional awards upon the firm, including Most Innovative Trade Bank. J.P. Morgan also won its second consecutive Best Supply Chain Bank Leaders in Trade award from Global Trade Review.

Additional honors – from FinanceAsia, Global Trade Review, The Asset, Trade & Forfaiting Review and Trade Finance – came in the form of 11 Deal of the Year 2011 awards for transactions in sectors ranging from transportation and manufacturing to communications in countries that include India, Brazil, the United States and Korea. J.P. Morgan’s structured receivables solution for Reliance Industries was recognized five times for providing the flexibility to purchase or sell a particular receivable in light of prevailing market conditions.

 

Ariel Holdings, Hamilton, Bermuda, completed the sale of its Bermuda-based insurance and reinsurance operations to Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., New York, N.Y. (NYSE: GS), pursuant to the acquisition agreement announced March 1. The purchase price of the transaction was not disclosed.

The acquired business is being combined with Goldman Sachs’ existing business underwritten through Lloyd’s Syndicate 1910 and will operate as part of Goldman Sachs Reinsurance Group under the brand name of Ariel Reinsurance, or Ariel Re.

 

Threadwire Solutions, Dallas, Texas, an application developer of communication tools for the insurance industry, launched Threadwire:CONNECT.

Designed to meet the needs of small- to medium-sized independent insurance agencies, CONNECT is a customizable mobile and Web application that helps agencies connect and engage with their clients using technology.

“Mobile apps, iPads and tablets are playing an increasing role in the business world today, but not when it comes to insurance and risk management,” said Brandt Beal, co-founder, Threadwire Solutions. “We created CONNECT to bridge the technology gap and give agencies the tools they have always wanted, but never had the time or resources to develop.”

Key features and functionality include:

  • Online dashboard and Web portal that gives agents and clients the ability to upload information, manage user experience and gather user data;
  • News and alerts tool for the instant distribution of important news, policy documents, employee checklists and event notifications;
  • Mobile claims filing feature, enabling remote, on-site uploads of photos, location data, voice memos and other important information;
  • Safety and training resources available for on-demand viewing for mobile and Web users;
  • My Cabinet cloud storage for centralized, secure document management and access for clients and their employees.

 

Lincoln Financial Group, Radnor, Pa. (NYSE: LNC), introduced Lincoln Employee Value Universal Life, issued by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company. 

The Lincoln Employee Value enables employers to add an employee-paid life insurance option to their benefit packages, offering the protection of guaranteed lifetime coverage.

With Lincoln Employee Value, employees can select up to $300,000 in benefit amounts. The policies are individually issued, and as long as sufficient premium is paid, the coverage is guaranteed for life even if the employee retires or changes jobs. The premium amount that guarantees the policy for life can never be raised. 

Lincoln Employee Value is offered with the following riders to help employees customize their coverage to meet their future plans:

  • Lincoln Automatic Assurance Rider – allows death benefit to increase annually for the first five years of policy ownership;
  • Accidental Death Benefit Rider – pays a specified benefit amount in the event of an insured’s accidental death;
  • Accelerated Benefits Rider – pays up to 75% of the death benefit if an insured becomes terminally ill with a life expectancy of 12 months or less;
  • Children’s Term Rider – provides level term coverage for each child of the insured, from age zero to 26;
  • Disability Waiver of Monthly Deductions Benefit Rider – waives monthly deductions after a six-month waiting period if the insured becomes disabled under the terms of the rider.

 

Wilmington Trust, Wilmington, Del., launched the Wilmington Rock Maple Alternatives Fund, which provides exposure to a diverse set of alternative strategies.

The mutual fund’s portfolio managers selected eight independent sub-advisors, which will oversee separate sub-portfolios of the fund in accordance with specific parameters, constraints and risk-return objectives. The fund also has assets invested in two independently managed mutual funds. It commenced investment operations on Jan. 12.

The mutual fund is managed by Wilmington Funds Management Corporation in partnership with Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors, Inc. and Rock Maple Services, LLC, an investment advisor specializing in alternative investments.