The Bucket

Brief or late-breaking items from Allianz Life, Lincoln Benefit Life, LPL Financial, Russell Investments, Cannex, Windham Capital Management, Fidelity Investments and The Principal.

Allianz Life names Kara Barrow as vice president, corporate governance

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life) today named Kara Barrow as the new vice president, corporate governance. She will lead the legal department’s corporate governance team, supporting the finance, procurement, investment and IT departments and overseeing vendor contracting, strategic transactions, various regulatory filing functions and intellectual property matters.

Since joining Allianz Life in January 2010, Barrow has managed a diverse portfolio of litigation and regulatory matters and provided legal support related to the prevention of fraud. Prior to joining Allianz Life, Barrow was a partner in the Minneapolis office of Faegre & Benson LLP.

She also served as a law clerk for the Honorable Diana E. Murphy in the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.   Barrow graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in history and received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law. She is licensed to practice law in Minnesota. 

Lincoln Benefit Life’s “IncomeReady” SPIA joins CANNEX Exchange

Lincoln Benefit Life Company, a subsidiary of Allstate, has made its IncomeReady single premium immediate annuity available through the CANNEX SPIA Exchange, which allows financial institutions and more than 150,000 financial services professionals to comparison shop for income annuities, CANNEX announced.

With its data and calculations, CANNEX supports a variety of financial service providers in both the institutional and retail markets, including online services, planning and educational tools providers, as well as advisory firms.

In the case of income annuities, CANNEX maintains the actuarial calculations of each carrier on its platform so that an advisor can get instantaneous access to client-specific income annuity rates in alignment with the clients’ needs.  Financial professionals also have access to product illustrations and educational tools that are linked to the specific results generated by the exchange.  

The Principal unveils “Total View “ retirement plan report

The past year marked an evolution of retirement trends, attitudes and behaviors among retirement plan sponsors and participants from a recovery mindset to a discovery mindset: what they need to do to reach their long-term goals.

This is according to The Total View 2011, a new report from the Principal Financial Group that analyzes calendar-year 2009 and 2010 data from retirement plans with services provided by The Principal® and third-party research. The report is geared toward plan sponsors and financial professionals to help them track retirement trends and benchmark their plans.

“We’re seeing participants shift their focus from getting back to where they were to taking steps to get to where they need to be to reach their financial dreams,” said Barrie Christman, vice president of individual investor services at The Principal. “That’s why we’ve built this year’s report around best practices for ‘retirement readiness:’ enhancing participant engagement to help influence more successful outcomes.”

The Total View 2011, along with a “Fast Facts” report summary and video outlining key trends, is available at 2011 marks the seventh year The Principal has produced The Total View.

Windham Capital Management to offer retirement income strategies in Australia   

Boston-based Windham Capital Management and Apostle Asset Management of Sydney, Australia will partner to offer Windham’s Retirement Income Portfolio to the growing population of Australian investors seeking innovative investment products that meet their needs from asset accumulation through income generation post-retirement.

As Australia faces an aging population and associated longevity risk, as well as downside investment risk and inflation protection concerns, Apostle is seeking new ways to relieve these market pressures.   

The Windham Retirement Income Portfolio uses proprietary measures to reduce downside risk and invests primarily in ETFs to access the global markets. Comprised of income-producing assets that adapt to changing market conditions, the portfolio tries to produce high current income and to match inflation.

Apostle creates product solutions for the Australian and New Zealand institutional market.  It has affiliations with many fund managers, including Loomis Sayles & Company, L.P., Aurora Investment Management L.L.C., Highclere International Investors Limited, Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P., Cramer Rosenthal McGlynn L.L.C., M.H. Carnegie & Co. Pty Ltd, Carnegie Venture Capital Pty Ltd, H2O Asset Management L.L.P. and Windham Capital Management LLC.

New Russell ETFs offer small cap exposure 

Russell Investments has added four Small Cap funds to its lineup of Investment Discipline exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on NASDAQ. The Investment Discipline funds are designed to replicate specific equity investment strategies.    

The new suite of small cap ETF consists of the following:

  • Russell Small Cap Aggressive Growth ETF (Ticker: SGGG)
  • Russell Small Cap Consistent Growth ETF (Ticker: SCOG)
  • Russell Small Cap Low P/E ETF (Ticker: SCLP)
  • Russell Small Cap Contrarian ETF (Ticker: SCTR)

Following the launch of Russell ETFs in the U.S. market in May of this year, Russell now offers a total of 21 ETFs in the United States as well as two in Australia.

Fidelity launches “Retirement Distributions Center” for IRA investors

Fidelity Investments has enhanced its website with the addition a “Retirement Distributions Center” where Fidelity IRA owners can set up their IRAs and manage their withdrawals, including minimum required distributions (MRDs).  

The center allows investors who are currently taking IRA withdrawals to keep track of their year-to-date distributions and know immediately how much they are withdrawing and which accounts the withdrawals are coming from. It is available at no cost to a range of Fidelity customers, including those over age 59½ with a Fidelity traditional, rollover or Roth IRA, as well as inherited IRA owners of all ages.

Accessible directly from an investor’s Portfolio Summary page on, the Center provides calculations and tracking, and other resources to help investors answer questions such as:

§ How much do I have to withdraw annually based on the total balance of all of my accounts to comply with the IRS’ MRD requirements?

§ How much have I taken to date from my account(s)? § When do I need to complete the required distributions?

The Center also allows investors to:

§ View comprehensive retirement account information for the account holder. (Fidelity account information is automatically populated and external account information can be added manually.)

§ Select which accounts to execute withdrawals from and make manual withdrawals from selected accounts.

§ Set up and edit automatic withdrawals from their IRAs to help ensure they complete their MRDs by year end and do not miss any payments to avoid incurring IRS penalties (which can be up to 50 percent of the sum not withdrawn by the IRS deadlines).

§ Reinvest their withdrawals directly into non-retirement accounts at Fidelity. § Receive e-mail alerts to help keep their distributions on track, including information such as the amount still due and the deadline for withdrawal.

Investors can also learn about the latest government updates pertaining to their accounts, read online educational content about various types of withdrawals and enroll in Fidelity’s automated withdrawal service. Content in the Center is provided to investors based on their age, type of account(s) and whether they are required to take MRDs.