Prudential Retirement Insurance & Annuity is planning to offer four target-date annuities for 401(k)s that will protect investors' principal and lock in investment gains, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The funds, called the Capital Guarantee Funds, have target maturity dates of 2010,2015, 2020 and 2025 and will invest in both S&P 500 Index futures and fixed-income securities. Trajectory Asset Management will be the funds' sub-advisor.

As defined benefit plans convert to defined contribution plans, more sponsors are looking for investment choices that perform like pensions, and insurance companies are stepping up to the plate with annuities specifically designed for 401(k)s.

"We've stripped it down to just one guarantee," said Philip Waldeck, senior vice president of products and advisory services at Prudential Retirement. As a result, the annuities are not as expensive as other offerings.

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