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The Principal Broadens Services for Retirement Plan Fiduciaries

Investment fiduciary support to include ERISA 3(21) and 3(38) fiduciary services through Wilshire Associates Incorporated

January 9, 2012 (Des Moines, Iowa) – As plan fiduciaries continue to seek help managing the risks and responsibilities of operating a retirement program, demand for fiduciary support and protection is only growing. To help financial professionals, third party administrators and their plan sponsor clients, the Principal Financial Group® announces the expansion of  investment fiduciary support to soon include ERISA 3(21) and 3(38) fiduciary services provided by Wilshire Associates Incorporated (Wilshire®).

The new services  from Wilshire will enhance current support by providing a level of fiduciary protection for selection and monitoring of investment options for retirement plans.

All financial professionals will have the option of making these Wilshire-supplied services available to their clients, including RIAs, who may wish to supplement their current services to clients.

“With almost 40 years of experience providing investment consulting services and analytics, Wilshire brings highly respected objectivity and expertise in their ERISA 3(21) and 3(38) fiduciary services,” said Tim Minard, senior vice president of distribution at The Principal®.  “We are very pleased to make their impressive services available to retirement plan clients of The Principal. By providing access to these services from Wilshire, The Principal is making available flexible and comprehensive investment fiduciary support to our retirement plan clients.”

The 3(21) and 3(38) fiduciary services available through Wilshire extends enhanced support to plan sponsors that:

  • Includes coverage across multiple plan types.
  • Complements the due diligence process already in place for hiring and monitoring managers of Sub-Advised Investment Options available through The Principal.
  • Is flexible, allowing the fiduciary to choose from services which address the following areas of concern:
    • Broad Range Requirement under 404(c)
    • Qualified Default Investment Alternatives
    • Prudent monitoring on an investment-by-investment basis

The financial protection available through Wilshire covers plan sponsors. A level of indemnification protection through Principal Life Insurance Company may extend to financial professionals whose clients use ERISA 3(21) and/or 3(38) fiduciary services provided by Wilshire.

“We are pleased to  offer our 3(21) and 3(38) fiduciary services to retirement plan clients of The Principal and their financial professionals”, said Jamie Ohl, President of Wilshire Funds Management, a business unit of Wilshire.  “We believe the rigor of our selection and monitoring process will serve as a great complement to the platform, investment fiduciary support, and manager due diligence process currently provided to retirement plan clients of The Principal.”
In  addition, to further assist financial professionals and their clients, The Principal also created a new fiduciary guide (PDF: 414 KB) that explains in practical terms what it means to be a fiduciary under Section 3(21) or an investment manager under Section 3(38).

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About the Principal Financial Group

The Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®)[1] is a global investment management leader including retirement services, insurance solutions and asset management. The Principal offers businesses, individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services, including retirement, asset management and insurance through its diverse family of financial services companies. Founded in 1879 and a member of the FORTUNE 500®, the Principal Financial Group has $320.8 billion in assets under management[2] and serves some 17.8 million customers worldwide from offices in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. Principal Financial Group, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PFG. For more information, visit

About Wilshire

Wilshire Associates Incorporated, a leading global, independent investment consulting and services firm, provides consulting services, analytics solutions and customized investment products to plan sponsors, investment managers and financial intermediaries. The firm was founded in 1972, revolutionizing the industry by pioneering the application of investment analytics and research to investment management for the institutional marketplace. Based in Santa Monica, California, Wilshire provides services to clients in more than 20 countries representing approximately 600 organizations, representing assets totaling more than U.S. $6 trillion[3]. Wilshire® is a registered service mark of Wilshire Associates Incorporated, Santa Monica, California. All other trade names, trademarks, and/or service marks are the property of their respective holders. Wilshire is not an affiliate of The Principal. For more information, visit


Wilshire® is a registered service mark of Wilshire Associates Incorporated, Santa Monica, California.  All other trade names, trademarks, and/or service marks are the property of their respective holders. 

Wilshire is not an affiliate of any member company of the Principal Financial Group®.

Investors should carefully consider a mutual fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses prior to investing. A prospectus, or summary prospectus if available, containing this and other information can be obtained by contacting a financial professional, visiting, or calling 1-800-547-7754. Read the prospectus carefully before investing.

The investment fiduciary support component of The Principal Warranty applies to covered plan investment options that are part of a Qualified Retirement Plan recordkept by Principal Life.  404(c) and QDIA coverage applies only to plans subject to ERISA. No member company of The Principal assumes any additional fiduciary responsibility for any nonqualified deferred compensation plan. No part of the investment fiduciary support component  of the Principal Warranty  applies to nonqualified deferred compensation plans subject to 409(A), 457(f) or 457(b) plans for employers under §457(e)(1)(B). For purposes of plans not subject to ERISA, Principal Life indemnifies, where applicable, the Plan Representative who signs the Service Agreement.

References to prudence mean compliance with the prudent standard described in §404(a)(1)(b) of ERISA, including following prevailing industry standards and generally accepted investment theories. ERISA imposes on the plan administrator ongoing accountability for the selection and monitoring of those to whom specific fiduciary responsibilities have been delegated or on whom the plan administrator is depending for help in meeting its own fiduciary obligations.

Principal Life is not a fiduciary in the broader context of operating any plan. The selection of any investment options on behalf of a plan is the fiduciary responsibility of the appropriate plan fiduciary, which is not Principal Life, nor any affiliate. Principal Life does not guarantee performance of any investment option [other than the portion of a group annuity contract that constitutes a guaranteed benefit policy as described in ERISA §401(b)(2)]. Principal Life does not guarantee that any investment option will meet the criteria of any particular plan’s investment policy statement, include reasonable fees, or otherwise be suitable for use by any specific plan. The fiduciary tasks undertaken by Principal Life do not eliminate all responsibilities of the relevant plan fiduciaries for the prudent selection of any investment option for a retirement plan. Plan fiduciaries remain subject to a varying amount of ongoing responsibility, depending on the structure of the plan the fiduciary serves and the nature of the plan fiduciary’s position. Please consult with your counsel or other adviser as to the responsibility of a plan fiduciary with regard to the selection or retention of any plan investment option by a plan fiduciary.

Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company. Principal Funds, Inc. is distributed by Principal Funds Distributor, Inc. Securities are offered through Princor Financial Services Corporation, 800-547-7754, member SIPC and/or independent broker/dealers.  Securities sold by a Princor® Registered Representative are offered through Princor. Principal Funds Distributor, Princor and Principal Life are members of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392. Certain investment options may not be available in all states or U.S. commonwealths.

©Principal Financial Services 2011.


“The Principal Financial Group” and “The Principal” are registered service marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a member of the Principal Financial Group.
As of September 30, 2011.
Assets are as of December 31, 2009, based on published data in the December 27, 2010 issue of Pensions & Investments.

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