AIG VALIC, a provider of retirement services, has launched the Guided Portfolio Services program for 40l(k) and other types of defined contribution retirement plans.

Working through VALIC Financial Advisors, Portfolio Services will provide individuals with independent investment advice from Ibbotson Associates and other intermediary services. Individuals will have the option of transferring their accounts to a third-party advisory service or utilizing online tools to generate specific portfolio recommendations. The automated services, however, charge an annual fee.

Accounting for $1.8 trillion in U.S. retirement assets, employer-sponsored, defined-contribution retirement plans often offer various options to help ensure the assembly of a well-diversified portfolio exposed to all main asset classes. In spite of this, personalized advice options are rarely included in the plans, mainly due to the federal regulations prohibiting plan service providers from also giving advice to participants.

In December 2001, AIG SunAmerica received a Labor Department Advisory Opinion that provided an exception to this rule, permitting independent investment advice by a third-party expert. With this in mind, AIG VALIC has designed its new program in accordance with this opinion, working in conjunction with Ibbotson.

AIG VALIC, a member of American International Group (AIG), is currently testing its pilot with Holston Medical Group, a 78-strong physicians practice based in Kingsport, Tenn. The service will be introduced nationwide in March.


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