Hey Joel! Should Stable Value Information Be Included In Our Investment Policy Statement?

Welcome to Hey Joel! This forum answers plan sponsor questions from all over the country by our in-house former practicing ERISA attorney.

Hey Joel,

Should stable value information be included in our investment policy statement?

~ Paranoid in Portland

Dear Paranoid,

The cash or principal preservation alternatives can be quite varied in scope. As a result it is extremely difficult to create language that would be widely applicable to all vehicles available for such plan goals. Money market funds, stable value funds, guaranteed income contracts, and general accounts are very different in their design, tertiary goals, holdings, and regulatory aspects. Thus one set of standard specific criteria would be unwise for an IPS.  The primary goal of these vehicles in an efficient plan investment menu is the preservation of principal and minimization of risk. Thus focusing on the credit quality and stability of the provider are appropriate as primary criteria. Note that our IPS template states that criteria should include “credit quality, diversification and stability of insurance provider” but, it also states that criteria “should not be limited to” those items. Thus other criteria are well within the scope of what fiduciaries may, and perhaps should, be reviewing depending on the type of vehicle being utilized. As a result our team of former practicing ERISA attorneys is confident in this language. Supporting that confidence is the fact that over 40 independent ERISA attorneys have reviewed our IPS template and provided comment and none of them provided any additional recommended language or edits in regards to this particular language.

Dispelling Paranoia,

Joel Shapiro, JD, LLM

About Joel Shapiro, JD, LLM
As a former practicing ERISA attorney Joel works to ensure that plan sponsors stay fully informed on all legislative and regulatory matters. Joel earned his Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University and his Juris Doctor from Washington College of Law at the American University.
ACR#317258 05/19