TCW spins off online financial advice product into

LOS ANGELES -Millions of Americans with 401(k) savings plans are finally going to get the total investment advice solution they've been asking for - one that is objective, personalized and easy-to-use. Surveys show that over 60 percent of the 22.5 million employees in 401(k) plans want advice. And employers have been looking for the appropriate advice solution.

The TCW Group helped create the 401(k) advice market back in 1997 when the Department of Labor granted a unique Prohibited Transaction Exemption allowing the Los Angeles-based company to deliver investment advice to 401(k) plan participants. Since that time, TCW has been designing and building the Guided Choice product with input from over forty Fortune 500 plan sponsors. Today, TCW Group announced they are spinning off the Guided Choice product division into a separate company headed by Sherrie Grabot, TCW's Senior Vice President, Defined Contribution. TCW's Executive Vice President, Alvin Albe said, "We're excited to have incubated the industry's first total investment advice solution, complete with the DOL exemption which reduces an employer's liability for providing investment advice. In our market research, plan sponsors frequently stated they wanted the flexibility to include a wide variety of asset managers. We determined the best way to accomplish that was with a separate company to eliminate any conflict of interest."

Now plan sponsors can have the product they helped design. The Guided Choice product will continue to provide a total investment advice solution to 401(k) participants. But now the assets will be managed by a variety of asset managers, including in many cases the same managers plan sponsors are already offering. Participants will not be charged a fee for the advice.

TCW will be the first company to implement Guided Choice this summer with their own retirement plan. Several additional companies have indicated they want to offer the Guided Choice product to their employees as well.

Founded in 1971, The TCW Group of companies, including Trust Company of the West, is the third largest employee-owned asset management firm in the country. TCW now manages more than $50 billion in assets using 50 distinct investment strategies. Headquartered in Los Angeles, TCW also has offices in San Francisco, Houston, New York, Hong Kong and London.
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