CHICAGO, Jul 23, 2001 MassMutual Retirement Services today announced it is enhancing its online participant investment service by creating a comprehensive, fully integrated program to include investment advice and guidance from Morningstar Associates, LLC.
The enhancements will provide MassMutual Retirement Services' nearly 600,000 defined-contribution and defined-benefit participants with an exceptional resource to help answer their most fundamental questions: How much money will I need for my retirement and how do I achieve that goal?
The agreement also marks the first time Morningstar will create a fully customized version of its ClearFuture online retirement planning advice service. Morningstar® ClearFutureSM will be integrated with MassMutual Retirement Services' recordkeeping platform and will adopt the look and feel of The JourneySM (www.massmutual.com/retire), MassMutual's highly regarded online investment-education and retirement-planning toolkit introduced in January 1999.
"We selected Morningstar because of its uncompromising dedication to providing investors with tools to reach their financial goals," said Frederick C. Castellani, executive vice president and head of MassMutual Retirement Services. "Through this relationship we will now be able to meet our participants' evolving need for high-quality advice. And the integration of ClearFuture into The Journey will provide participants with a familiar, consistent, and seamless experience throughout our site to help them better prepare to meet their long-term financial goals."
John Rekenthaler, president of online advice for Morningstar, said, "Our partnership with MassMutual represents one of the most significant alliances to date for Morningstar ClearFuture. In choosing to integrate ClearFuture completely into its Web site, and to make ClearFuture's investment guidance service immediately available to all its participants, MassMutual is demonstrating a strong commitment to providing online advice. We are pleased to align with a company that shares Morningstar's goal of æhelping investors make better decisions.'"
On the enhanced Journey, powered by Morningstar, participants will be able to select from a menu of services. These include basic education regarding investments and retirement, as well as account information and transactions; guidance to help them select a personalized asset allocation strategy based on their goals, plan options and individual risk tolerance; and advice to help them further refine their retirement investment strategy that encompasses their complete range of retirement income resources.
Participants can choose whichever service they wish and revisit anytime.
"The Journey and ClearFuture focus on clarifying and targeting goals because that's what is important," said Vernon J. Meyer, vice president and managing director of MassMutual's Concert Investment Program and a principal in developing the Journey. "We want to help participants pay attention to the end result as opposed to being preoccupied with investment options, which are merely a vehicle to reaching goals."
MassMutual Retirement Services will continue to perform its comprehensive due diligence on the more than 60 options offered in the Concert Investment Program, the menu of investment options from which sponsors select for their retirement plans.
The enhanced Journey education and guidance features will be available to all participants by the end of the year. MassMutual Retirement Services' sponsors will determine whether they choose to offer the advice component in their plans.
ClearFuture's online retirement advice engine is an easy, six-step module that provides users with specific fund recommendations for reaching their retirement goals. Currently available through more than 14,000 corporate retirement plans, ClearFuture uses a goals-based approach to allow plan participants to examine the relationships between long- and short-term risk, asset mix, and retirement income so they can determine the probability of reaching their financial goals. The service then provides either asset-allocation suggestions or specific investment advice by creating one diversified, optimal portfolio using the most appropriate investment options available in the participant's company-sponsored retirement plan(s).
In addition, Morningstar will provide in-depth custom research profiles of all of a plan's Concert Investment Program investment options as well as Morningstar Quicktake® research reports on any other open-end mutual funds offered in a plan.
About Morningstar Associates
The Morningstar® ClearFutureSM retirement advice program is provided by Morningstar Associates, LLC, a registered investment adviser and a wholly owned subsidiary of Chicago-based Morningstar, Inc., an independent provider of investment information and analytical tools. Morningstar's extensive line of Internet, software, and print services offers news, data, and analysis on stocks, mutual funds, closed-end funds, and variable annuities. Neither Morningstar Inc., nor Morningstar Associates, LLC, owns, operates, or holds any interest in investment products. The financial data and methodology used in ClearFuture are proprietary to Morningstar, Inc., and/or Morningstar Associates, LLC. Although the data are gathered from reliable sources, neither Morningstar, Inc. nor Morningstar Associates, LLC guarantees their accuracy, completeness, or timeliness. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.
MassMutual Retirement Services has been serving retirement plans for 55 years, offers a full range of products and services for defined benefit, defined contribution and nonqualified deferred compensation plans and has nearly 600,000 participants.
The MassMutual Financial Group--with over $213 billion in assets under management at year-end 2000--is a global, growth-oriented, diversified financial services organization whose companies offer a broad portfolio of asset management and insurance products and services. Our family of companies provides life insurance, annuities, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement planning products, trust services, money management and other financial products and services. The MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), of which MassMutual Retirement Services is a division, and its subsidiaries, which include: OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; David L. Babson and Company Inc.; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, Inc.; MassMutual International, Inc.; MML Investors Services, Inc.; Persumma Financial LLC; The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB; Antares Capital Corporation; MML Bay State Life Insurance Company and C.M. Life Insurance Company. MassMutual International also has operations in Argentina, Bermuda, Chile, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Macao, Shanghai and Taiwan. MassMutual's web site is www.massmutual.com.