The RPAG Scoop | April 2024

Happy April Fool's Day to our RPAG community! The world may be playing pranks today, but we are coming in hot with real information in the retirement industry. Tune in to get brand new updates to RFP Express, a breakdown of how to differentiate between passive target date funds, and an announcement from Franklin Templeton.

What's New with RPAG! (2:43
Two of our helpful ASAs, Reese Wong and Alexis Patenaude, stepped up this month to show you some new resources available to RPAG members. The star of our show was definitely the new Ascensus CoPilot Small Market 401k Solution now available on RFP Express! This is a simple, cost-effective 401(k) retirement plan that eases the administrative burden of offering a 401(k) plan to your employees. Through a clear, skillfully selected 401(k) plan design, CoPilot allows you to free up your time to focus on running your business. To find an updated provider list, go to our Resource Center > RFP & Fee Benchmarking > RFP Express.

Speaking of the Resource Center we have our video education series known as RPAG University. Technically, you can find these in our Resources section of the RPAG Portal menu. These are designed for new members, new employees of current members, or even as a refresher for tools you haven't used in a while.

Alexis and Reese even gave us some insight as to how your feedback and suggestions are selected when you send them into RPAG. Not all suggestions are approved, but after the committee has approved a suggestion, the member will receive a notification and an estimated ETA.

Differentiation of Passive TDFs (9:03)
Matt Giovinazzo, the Director of Investment Management for flexPATH Strategies discussed how to differentiate passive target date funds (TDFs). Emerging trends indicate a downward trajectory in fees, signaling a competitive race towards zero. Amidst this backdrop, distinguishing between various TDFs based solely on fees has become increasingly challenging. To navigate this complexity, it is essential to consider factors beyond costs when evaluating TDF options.

A recent white paper by the flexPATH team revealed significant drawdowns in aggressive TDFs, with a notable 25% decline, while conservative ones experienced an 11% decrease. Suitability remains paramount in selecting passive TDFs, emphasizing the importance of aligning the fund's strategy with individual needs.

Furthermore, the level of asset class exposure stands out as the second most critical factor in passive TDF selection. This decision should primarily rely on qualitative assessments tailored to your or your client's unique research and preferences. Additionally, distinguishing between direct and indirect asset class exposure is crucial for informed decision-making.

Moreover, variations in tracking errors among TDFs highlight potential "hidden costs" that warrant consideration. Matt believes that by looking into these nuanced aspects, investors can make more informed choices when selecting passive TDFs.

Franklin Templeton Acquires Putnam Investments (25:09)
We have another great Matt taking the spotlight here during our April RPAG Scoop: Matt Foster! As the VP Strategic Accounts Director at Franklin Templeton, Matt wanted to start off with an exciting announcement. The acquisition of Putnam Investments by Franklin Templeton was officially finalized on January 1, 2024, marking the addition of Putnam's expertise to Franklin Templeton's roster of specialists. This strategic move enhances the range of partnerships available under one roof with Franklin Templeton, emphasizing stability, innovation, and long-term value creation. The inclusion of Putnam's target date fund range brings a wealth of strategies that consistently score 8-10 on the RPAG Scorecard. Explore their investment offerings in collaboration with flexPATH Strategies for a comprehensive approach to financial planning and management.

Additionally, Franklin Templeton's value-add programs, such as the Voice of the American Workplace survey, provide valuable insights into employee desires, helping companies attract and retain top talent effectively. Since their acquisition, users can now engage with Putnam's Visualizer Suite, offering industry-leading tools to streamline workflow, design retirement plans, and simulate different scenarios in real-time. 

You can catch the Franklin Templeton team and us at our RPAG Regional Summits around the country this month, and at the NAPA401(k) Summits in Nashville! Have a great April and see you May 6 for the next RPAG Scoop! 

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