SOURCE: CLS Investments

FiComm Partners

December 17, 2014 09:00 ET

CLS Investments Launches Upgraded Version of (k)Star -- An Open-Architecture 401(k) Solution for Plan Sponsors

OMAHA, NE--(Marketwired - December 17, 2014) -

  • Open-architecture solution provides plan sponsors a modular approach to service providers, helping drive lower fees, greater transparency and access to providers with the greatest competency
  • (k)Star's qualified plan program offers an extensive menu of active investment strategies specializing in risk budgeting
  • Upgrades include - Plan search tool, diagnostic and comparison reports and fiduciary support
  • Offers 1500+ ETFs and tens of thousands of Mutual Funds

CLS Investments, LLC ("CLS"), a third party money manager in the U.S., and a leading manager of exchange-traded funds ("ETFs") within individual investor portfolios, in collaboration with Professional Capital Services, LLC ("PCS"), a state-of-the-art retirement plan record-keeper, is pleased to announce the unveiling of the latest upgrade to (k)Star, an open-architecture solution allowing plan sponsors to build their 401(k) plans by service provider as opposed to taking a pre-packaged, bundled offering.

With over 1500 ETFs and tens of thousands of Mutual Funds, (k)Star offers a comprehensive menu of active investment strategies specializing in risk budgeting, and provides plan sponsors a modular approach to service providers. This enables them to choose those with the greatest competency, which can help decrease and provide greater transparency to fees. (k)Star also provides the ability to incorporate ETFs based on a plan's needs, either through managed or target date portfolios, or as part of the plan's core fund lineup.

"(k)Star will empower advisors, plan sponsors, and plan participants in their collective quest to find both sustainable and successful investment solutions. In the past, these parties have relied on a single provider to be the best at everything, which is impossible," said Todd Clarke, CEO of CLS. "This nimble platform provides a wide array of unbiased options, enabling advisors to better guide plan sponsors through customized investment choices and features that will ultimately enhance the retirement outcomes for plan participants."

The (k)Star and PCS partnership offers a unique set of tools that will help advisors identify, acquire, and service more plans. (k)Star's plan search tool uses Form 5500 data submitted to the Department of Labor to locate plans near the advisor that are paying excessive fees and may therefore benefit from an open-architecture structure. Once a plan has been located, (k)Star's diagnostic and comparison reports will illustrate how the plan compares to similar-sized plans in the same industry, as well as how the plan's current investment choices compare to those available through (k)Star.

Mark Klein, CEO of PCS adds, "We are excited to partner with CLS Investments to offer the simplicity of a bundled solution in a truly independent fiduciary platform. We share the belief that the best solution for both plan sponsors and participants is a completely transparent platform offering best of breed in investments as well as service."

Through (k)Star, CLS provides fiduciary assistance to plan sponsors by becoming an ERISA 3(38) investment manager for CLS-managed ETF portfolios and target date portfolios available through the plan, as well as for the plan's fund lineup utilizing mutual funds or ETFs. The (k)Star platform breaks down all costs to the plan and its participants while offering a complete outline of 408(b)(2) fee disclosures and overall coverage and support to the plan.

"Research has shown that most plan participants do not invest optimally. CLS is constantly looking for ways to improve and protect our client's investments and we take our fiduciary responsibility seriously. To help ensure they are on track to meet their retirement goals, it is critical that employees have the option to turn over management of their retirement assets to a professional investment manager," said Ryan Beach, President of CLS.

For more information on CLS Investments' new offering for financial advisors, or to interview a spokesperson mentioned in this press release, please e-mail or call (212) 626-6532.

About CLS

CLS is an Omaha-based, family-owned and operated boutique registered investment advisor managing in excess of $6 billion. As one of the largest third party money managers and ETF strategists in the U.S., CLS partners with thousands of advisors, plan sponsors, and institutions to offer a full suite of outsourced portfolio management solutions for more than 35,000 individual investors. CLS specializes in creating portfolios based on a distinct risk budgeting methodology and active asset allocation approach. The CLS investment process is governed by systematic research across asset classes and strategies and the continuous measuring of risk. CLS first claimed compliance with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) in 2002, and the firm's portfolio performance going back as far as 2003 has been independently verified. CLS is a member of NorthStar Financial Services Group (NorthStar), which currently has more than $270 billion in assets under management and administration. To learn more, visit 

About PCS

Professional Capital Services ("PCS") was founded by tax and ERISA attorneys to provide sophisticated retirement programs for the corporate, professional and governmental markets. PCS specializes in creating customized 401(k) plans, both ERISA and non-ERISA 403(b) plans, 457(b) and (f) plans, profit sharing arrangements and executive-level non-qualified deferred compensation programs. Recognized for its advanced reporting tools and robust account management platform, PCS was awarded a "AAA" rating from Roland|Criss for Superior Quality Management System and Strongest Fiduciary Support Safety! PCS is certified by CEFEX (The Centre for Fiduciary Excellence) as adhering to the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries' (ASPPA) standard of practice for recordkeepers. PCS is a member of Fiduciary Services Group, which currently has more than $7 billion in assets under administration. To learn more, visit 

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