As the Department of Labor is trying to expand the definition of fiduciary, which would have a substantial impact on defined contribution plan sponsors and providers, ING announced on Tuesday that it has expanded its fiduciary service offerings to help sponsors better navigate their responsibilities under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).  

In partnership with Morningstar Associates, LLC, an investment advisory firm and provider of plan sponsor consulting services, ING will launch Portfolio Blueprint 3(38) to its retirement plan customers. Portfolio Blueprint will allow employers to give fiduciary authority to Morningstar Associates, a qualified "investment manager," for the selection, ongoing monitoring and replacement of the plan's investments. That means small and mid-sized companies that sponsor 401(k) retirement plans will be relieved of their fiduciary duty.

“What we've heard from our customers is a growing interest in receiving expanded support to help them achieve their fiduciary plan obligations under ERISA,” said Rick Mason, president of Corporate Markets for ING U.S. Retirement Services, in a press release. “Employers often require the assistance of a third party to ensure that good plan oversight becomes even better.  Portfolio Blueprint 3(38) is an invaluable service to address key plan responsibilities, allowing sponsors to focus more time on their business while helping participants achieve positive retirement outcomes.”

“There's a spotlight right now on retirement plan investment offerings and the obligations and responsibilities of those who select and advise on them,” said Brock Johnson, president of retirement solutions for Morningstar's Investment Management division. “This service will continue to offer sponsors a diverse menu of high-quality investment options while giving them the confidence that comes with the fiduciary coverage from Morningstar Associates as an appointed investment manager to the plan.”

ING's U.S. Retirement Services business has more than $300 billion in combined assets under management and administration.