2013 Lipper Awards
Why the glide path should overshoot the runway
The nest egg theory: MassMutual's Michael Eldredge talks about the importance of getting workers to retirement -- and through it.
Hiring great investment talent, we think, takes great investment talent. So, as a manager of managers, our job is, again, to hire a team, a person and, really, a firm that we think can execute on the investment product design we have in mind. Monitoring the managers that we have hired is important. We do that frequently. So, there are regular intervals such as quarterly portfolio manager interviews between my team, myself and the actual PM team. On-site visits will happen no less frequently than annually. Often, we see them twice a year. When we do visit managers, it's important we feel to bring a team of folks. So, not just- I certainly have folks that oversee a particular asset class or strategy. We bring team members when we do the on-site interviews to assure we get a fuller understanding and response from the actual investment managers. Our philosophy around the glide path is very much what's known in the industry as a through retirement glide path. Part of that, importantly, MassMutual Funds sit inside of the retirement plan business. So, our express focus is to try to help employees, participants in the plan, retire on their own terms. What that means is to invest really for their lifetime, not just until they hit retirement age. So, that philosophy evidence is itself in our glide path which carries equities. We have about a 50/50 waiting at retirement. So, I wouldn't consider it heavy equity at retirement. It's 50/50. And then, from that point, we continue gliding downward toward more of a bonds waiting 10 or 15 years post-retirement age. Again, the crux of why we do this is built in our research and in our goal of having participants remain in the plan and retire on their own terms. Within the RetireSMART Funds coupled with the target date series, we have the target risk series. These are more static allocation. So, target risk series do not have a glide path. We have a prescribed pass-it allocation mix that remains with the- around the conservative, a moderate and that sort of approach with the target risk funds. With the fund to funds complex like ourselves, where we hire managers to conduct the business, I think it's a- it's a buy it versus build decision. So, building internal capabilities across a range or asset classes is very expensive, frankly, I think. And in fact, by hiring across those asset classes external managers, a prudent firm like ours with a good board of directors can, actually, make a more efficient price point for investor- for participants, investors in the funds. More plan sponsors are really adopting and embracing using target date funds as their default investment options. So, we feel good about bringing a multi-manager answer to the marketplace for target date in our RetireSMART Funds.
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