NEWYORK, September 21, 2016 - OppenheimerFunds, a leading global asset manager, today announced the launch of the OppenheimerFunds’
(k)ustom Advisor Program
to help defined contribution (DC) retirement plan advisors evaluate the benefits of ‘semi-custom’ target date funds* (TDFs) and provide steps for implementing customized investment solutions within retirement plan menus.

The (k)ustom Advisor Program offers practical implementation tactics for plan sponsors to consider seizing a new opportunity in the highly regulated defined contribution market. The Program provides a consulting framework to help plan sponsors:

  1. evaluate a 401(k) plan’s participant demographics and underlying investments;
  2. assess the platform capabilities of recordkeepers and third party providers;
  3. develop a semi-custom TDF implementation roadmap; and
  4. manage their fiduciary oversight.

Program resources include a webinar series and print materials, advisor-focused checklists, deep-dive practical information and discussion guides.

“Seventy-five percent of 401(k) plans today offer pre-packaged target date funds. While appealing for their simplicity, these funds may not be flexible enough to meet the diverse needs of an entire workforce,” said Kathleen Beichert, Head of Retirement, OppenheimerFunds. “At the same time, while fully custom TDFs can offer greater control, they potentially add administrative responsibilities for the plan sponsor. We believe that semi-custom TDFs can provide the best of both worlds, enabling sponsors to offer tailored retirement plan solutions while easing much of the administrative burden for themselves.”

The Department of Labor has encouraged consideration of custom solutions in retirement plans which allow closer monitoring of investment objectives, performance and underlying fund fees. “As adoption of TDFs increases, we want to help educate DC plan sponsors about the fiduciary requirements and best practices associated with implementing them. For example, sponsors would have less latitude to remove underperforming funds in a pre-packaged TDF than they would in a semi-custom TDF,” said Paul Temple, East Coast National Retirement Sales, OppenheimerFunds. “In addition, by boosting advisors’ knowledge of this next generation retirement plan offering, we can help enhance their conversations with clients, enabling them to maintain and grow their retirement practices.”

* Target date funds allow individuals to select a single investment option that evolves over time to meet a set retirement time horizon. Semi-custom TDFs are target date funds that allow retirement plan sponsors more flexibility and control to select underlying investments and adjust allocations, while also leveraging recordkeeper and third party capabilities to simplify some of the process. (Recordkeepers manage the day-to-day operations of a 401(k) plan, track plan data and participant accounts and investment selections, and often facilitate participant education.) Cerulli Associates projects that assets in custom and semi-custom TDFs could reach $218 billion in 2016.