SOURCE: Retirement Plan Advisory Group

Retirement Plan Advisory Group

March 11, 2010 01:13 ET

Retirement Plan Advisory Group Expands Scorecard(SM) System to Track and Rank 300+ ETFs

Takes Confusion Out of Investment Due Diligence for 401(k) Plan Sponsors and Advisors

ALISO VIEJO, CA--(Marketwire - March 11, 2010) -  Retirement Plan Advisory Group, (RPAG) one of the largest, independent retirement plan advisor alliances in the nation, announces today that its proprietary Scorecard(SM) System, relied on by thousands of 401(k) plan sponsors, will now track, monitor and rank more than 300 Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), a growth sector and investment opportunity for 401(k) plans.

As the ETF sector evolves and providers begin to offer more funds to plan sponsors, the ETF feature capability in Scorecard enables fiduciaries to better select and monitor these investment vehicles. By developing a series of standardized benchmarks and peer groupings, RPAG's investment research team programmed Scorecard's straight forward 10-point system to encompass the unique characteristics of ETFs in 20 categories, thus producing a much-needed tool for 401(k) fiduciaries to qualify and quantify ETFs for fitness in plan portfolios.

As primarily passive investments, ETFs are becoming a common form of Index Funds, which differ widely from actively managed retail mutual funds. Large providers include iShares, SPDRs, PowerShares, Wisdom Tree and Vanguard. ETFs are more difficult to quantify on costs (bid/ask spread for buying and selling such investments) because they are traded on an exchange in the same manner as stocks.

"Style and tracking play pivotal roles in our [ETF] analysis. We use returns-based optimization analysis to determine actual investment behavior of ETFs, which can perform quite differently than the underlying index," explains Jeff Elvander, CFA, Chief Investment Officer for RPAG.

According to the Investment Company Institute data, ETF assets have grown to $777 billion, with an average increase of $100 billion every year since 2002. Growth may proceed slowly as Investment Advisor's Vaughn Scully points out in a recent article: "More than $3.6 trillion is held in 401(k) retirement accounts, but total ETF assets in 401(k)s account for only $4 billion industrywide."

Retirement Plan Advisory Group is the largest practice management platform dedicated to defined contribution advisors in the U.S. with 256 member firms, totaling 600 advisors in 46 states, serving 15,000 sponsors and with $39 billion in assets under management. Log onto

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