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Margaret Kirch Cohenmargaret.cohen@morningstar.com
ING and Morningstar Announce Advisory Service for Retirement Plan Sponsors

CHICAGO, Feb 27, 2003 – ING and Morningstar today announced a new service aimed at providing solutions to retirement plan sponsors in the researching, selecting and monitoring of plan investments. As part of the service, called Portfolio Blueprint, Morningstar Associates LLC will provide ING plan sponsors with a menu of diverse investment options based on their specific workforce demographic profile. Additionally, the service will provide fund analysis and ongoing investment monitoring. Morningstar Associates will act as investment advice fiduciary for those plans that fully implement its recommendations.

A plan sponsor electing this service will receive:

  • A workforce profile, describing plan demographics, which will be used as a guide to select the most appropriate fund menu for their plan. 
  • A menu of recommended funds from Morningstar Associates designed to meet the needs identified in the workforce profile. 
  • An investment policy statement tailored to the plan's workforce profile and the selected fund menu. 
  • Recommendations and ongoing monitoring from Morningstar Associates, which will act as an investment advice fiduciary under sec. 3(21)(A) of ERISA to those plans that fully implement its recommendations. 

"Choosing and monitoring 401(k) investment selections takes a great deal of time and financial expertise," said Lou Bachetti, head of defined contributions for ING U.S. Financial Services. "Expert and independent guidance were previously available only to larger companies. Now, Portfolio Blueprint puts the resources of Morningstar Associates in the hands of small and mid-sized companies in a cost-effective manner. Equally important, the service addresses the fiduciary issue, a serious concern for many of our plan sponsors."   

ING offers a large variety of proprietary and non-proprietary funds in its plan selection. While plan sponsors must use a company-tailored list of funds recommended by Morningstar Associates, Portfolio Blueprint allows plan sponsors the flexibility to choose investment options from that recommended menu of funds. ING will begin offering Portfolio Blueprint to new 401(k) customers in early March.

"Prudently selecting and overseeing investments can be a daunting task for retirement plan sponsors. Portfolio Blueprint is a creative and effective answer to these challenges," said Patrick Reinkemeyer, president of Morningstar Associates' Institutional Investment Consulting group. "We're pleased to work with ING again to develop innovative solutions to help thousands of plan sponsors better serve their participants."

This is the second announcement from ING and Morningstar Associates in the last six months. In the fall of 2002, the pair announced that ING would provide Morningstar® ClearFuture®, an online retirement education, planning and advice service, and Morningstar® Advice Statement, which gives participants a detailed printout of their current investments and suggestions to improve and diversify their portfolios. In addition, ING has selected a customized version of the Morningstar Advisor WorkstationSM, a set of online investment planning and advice tools, which will be used by financial advisers within the newly formed ING's Financial Horizons Advisory Program, a division of ING Financial Advisers, LLC, a registered investment adviser.

About Morningstar, Inc. and Morningstar Associates, LLC
Morningstar, Inc. is a global investment research firm offering an extensive line of print, software, and Internet-based products and services for individuals, financial advisors, institutions, and the media. The company is a trusted source of investment information and analysis for stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, and variable annuities. Morningstar, Inc. tracks nearly 100,000 securities worldwide. Investment advisory products and services are provided by Morningstar Associates, LLC, a registered investment adviser and wholly owned subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc.

About ING U.S. Financial Services
ING's U.S. financial services operations [www.ing-usa.com] offer a comprehensive array of products and services, including retirement plans; employee benefits; life insurance; fixed and variable annuities; investment advisory services, and mutual funds, through a variety of distribution channels and affiliates. ING U.S. Financial Services is part of Amsterdam-based ING Groep N.V., one of the largest integrated financial services organizations in the world. 

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