SVIA Steps Up Outreach Efforts

More news is good news.

Over the past year, the SVIA has expanded its social media presence while continuing to reach out to the press and regulators to promote the industry and educate them about its products. As part of that effort, says Marijn Smit, president of Investment Solutions at Transamerica Investments & Retirement and also chairman of the SVIA Membership Committee, the association has sought to inject stable value into the broader retirement conversation. One way it did that was by linking promotions to America Saves Week. The association also launched a series of stable value expert interviews that were made available on the SVIA YouTube channel and promoted via Twitter and other social media channels.

Smit joined Nick Gage, senior director at Galliard Capital Management Inc. and Sue Graef, head of the SVIA Data and Research Committee, in outlining the association’s outreach efforts during a presentation at the SVIA Spring Forum in April.

Gage said one of the press highlights over the past year was the debut of a new resource, “A Guide to Stable Value Funds for Pension Plan Sponsors and Advisors,” produced by the SVIA in collaboration with the Bloomberg BNA Benefits Practice Resource Center. The SVIA also participated in the production of an educational video series in collaboration with, and hosted a “Stable Value Masterclass” on both Asset TV, a Web-based video communications site for investment professionals, and the SVIA website. In June 2015, Gage added, Kiplinger magazine is scheduled to publish an article about stable value funds.

As part of its outreach efforts, Gage said, the SVIA also surveyed the stable value user community to find out which types of information they would like to see on stable value fund fact sheets. Among the data points listed as crucial by the vast majority of respondents were the identity of the fund advisor, the identity of the contract provider or providers, the inception date of the fund, the fund’s investment objective, a description of the fund, the fund’s yield or crediting rate, the total expense ratio, and the average duration of the fund’s underlying investment portfolio.

“The next step in this process is to take these results, summarize them, and determine if we can come to an agreement on one or two industry-acceptable templates (for fund fact sheets) that we think would be appropriate,” Gage said. “Then as an association we could go to information providers and say, ‘Look, this is what we’re providing today, and we have suggestions for improving it.”