Pioneer Investments, a global investment firm with $198 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, announced Monday an educational program that focuses on major planning issues advisors are facing.
The program is called VIP for its emphasis on volatility, income generation and perspectives on the market. Those issues are not new, according to Joseph Kringdon, executive vice president and head of U.S. retail distribution and marketing for Pioneer, but the VIP program is an attempt to help advisors “organize those thoughts” and provide “context for those conversations.”
“Our mantra around here is ‘Clients come first,’” Kringdon (right) told AdvisorOne on Tuesday. “We listen to issues that are happening at the point of sale and provide intellectual context.”
What they’ve heard for some time, Kringdon said, is that advisors and clients have a lot of concerns about the election, fiscal cliff, tax rate increases, confusion over issues in the eurozone and nervousness about the markets.
“Advisors are saying their clients don’t know what to do and they don’t know what to do,” Kringdon said. “The market has them paralyzed and money is piling up on the sidelines.”
The VIP educational program has been running since July and is used by approximately 300 advisors, Kringdon said. It’s available to “anyone who is a financial intermediary dealing with retail clients.” It includes educational materials like white papers and videos geared toward consumers that advisors can share with their clients. Advisors can register to use the site at www.PioneerVIP.com.
In addition to the website, Pioneer manages a blog at www.FollowPioneer.com that expands on the “perspectives” aspect of the VIP program, Kringdon said. Content is written by portfolio managers and executives at Pioneer.
“In today’s marketplace you have traditional asset classes, but creeping into the mix is the big, wide category of alternatives. Alternatives have many meanings to many people, but to us alternatives mean a way to invest other than traditional asset classes.”
For example, he said, using a laddered bond portfolio and utility stocks used to be a popular way to protect against volatility. Now, low rates on bonds mean a ladder doesn’t provide you with as much income, and many people think utilities are overvalued. Pioneer uses a multi-asset strategy in some of its mutual funds that include MLPs and REITs as well as stocks. Using alternative investments, Kringdon said, provides “new ways to solve old-fashioned problems.”