Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.

Allegheny Energy Can Improve Diversification By Offering More Choices in Its 401K Plan

|Includes:AGG, Allegheny Energy Inc. (AYE), BIV, BND, CIU, DLN, DON, EFA, GWL, IDHQ, IJH, IJJ, IUSG, IUSV, IVE, IVV, IVW, IWR, IWS, IWV, IYY, JKE, JKF, JKG, JKI, MDY, MDYV, PLK, PWV, PXMC, PXMV, QQQ, RFV, RPG, RPV, RSCO, RSP, SCHG, SCHV, SCHX, SHV, SHY, SPY, SPYG, SPYV, TZD, TZE, TZG, TZI, TZL, TZO, TZV, UVU, VEU, VGSH, VO, VOE, VTI, VTV, VUG, VV

 This report reviews ALLEGHENY ENERGY EMPLOYEE STOCK OWNERSHIP AND SAVINGS PLAN . We will discuss the investment choices and present the plan rating by MyPlanIQ. Current economic and market conditions are discussed in the context of the investment portfolios in the plan. We will then show how participants in ALLEGHENY ENERGY EMPLOYEE STOCK OWNERSHIP AND SAVINGS PLAN can achieve reasonable investment results using asset allocation strategies.

 

Plan Review and Rating

 

Allegheny Energy, Inc. owns and operates electric generation facilities, and delivers electric services to customers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia. The company owns or contractually controls coal-, gas-, and oil-fired generation facilities, as well as hydro generation facilities.

ALLEGHENY ENERGY EMPLOYEE STOCK OWNERSHIP AND SAVINGS PLAN's 401K plan consists of 28 funds. These funds enable participants to gain exposure to 3 major assets: US Equity, Foreign Equity, Fixed Income. The list of minor asset classes covered:

Foreign Large Blend: EFA, VEU, GWL, PFA
Inflation-protected Bond: TIP
Intermediate-term Bond: AGG, CIU, BIV, BND
Large Blend: IVV, IYY, IWV, VTI, VV, SPY, DLN, RSP, SCHX
Large Growth: IVW, IWZ, JKE, VUG, ELG, QQQQ, RPG, SCHG
Large Value: IVE, IWW, JKF, VTV, ELV, PWV, RPV, SCHV
Mid-cap Blend: IJH, IWR, JKG, VO, MDY, EMM, PJG, DON, EZM, MVV
Mid-cap Growth: IJK, IWP, VOT, EMG, PWJ, RFG, UKW
Mid-cap Value: IJJ, IWS, JKI, VOE, EMV, PWP, RFV, UVU
Multisector Bond: AGG, GBF, BND, LAG
Retirement Income:
Short Government: SHY, SHV, VGSH, PLK, USY
Small Blend: IJR, IWM, JKJ, VB, DSC, PJM, DES, SAA, UWM, SCHA
Small Growth: IJT, IWO, JKK, VBK, DSG, PWT, RZG, UKK
Target Date 2000-2010: TZD
Target Date 2011-2015: TZE
Target Date 2016-2020: TZG
Target Date 2021-2025: TZI
Target Date 2026-2030: TZL
Target Date 2031-2035: TZO
Target Date 2036-2040: TZV
Target Date 2041-2045:
Target Date 2050+:

As of Dec 2, 2010, this plan investment choice is rated as based on MyPlanIQ Plan Rating methodology that measures the effectiveness of a plan's available investment funds. It has the following detailed ratings:

Diversification -- Rated as (11%)
Fund Quality -- Rated as (58%)
Portfolio Building -- Rated as (48%)
Overall Rating: (40%)

 

Current Economic and Market Conditions

We have experienced an uncertain 2010: plenty of worries on whether the US economy will climb out of the great recession and recover.

  • The Federal Reserve embarked on Quantitative Easing II (QE2) to stimulate the economy.
  • The housing market is still at its low but largely stabilized.
  • The unemployment rate is stuck at 9%.

Americans continue to face an uncertain future, given (among others) the high unemployment rate, large federal and local government debts and global trade imbalance. With such an economic backdrop, the stock and debt markets are going to be volatile. Despite this, markets have been resilient and appear positioned to rebound.

In this market it is even more critical to properly diversify and respond market changes. MyPlanIQ offers two asset allocation strategies: strategic and tactical asset allocation strategies ( SAA and TAA for participants in ALLEGHENY ENERGY EMPLOYEE STOCK OWNERSHIP AND SAVINGS PLAN).

Strategic Asset Allocation is based on well known modern portfolio theory and its key features include: diversification, proper fund selection and periodically re-balancing.

Tactical Asset Allocation works on a diversified array of assets provided by funds in a plan and adjusts asset mixes based on market conditions such as asset price momentum utilized by TAA.

 

Portfolio Discussions

The chart and table below show the historical performance of moderate model portfolios employing strategic and tactical asset allocation strategies. For comparison purpose, we also include the moderate model portfolios of a typical 3 asset SIB (Simpler Is Better) plan . This SIB plan has the following candidate index funds and their ETFs equivalent:

US Equity: (SPY or VTI)
Foreign Equity: (EFA or VEU)
Fixed Income: (AGG or BND)

Performance chart (as of Dec 2, 2010)

Performance table (as of Dec 2, 2010)

Currently, asset classes in US Equity (SPY,VTI), Foreign Equity (EFA,VEU) and Fixed Income (AGG,BND) are doing relatively well. These asset classes are available to ALLEGHENY ENERGY EMPLOYEE STOCK OWNERSHIP AND SAVINGS PLAN participants.

To summarize, ALLEGHENY ENERGY EMPLOYEE STOCK OWNERSHIP AND SAVINGS PLAN plan participants can achieve reasonable investment returns by adopting asset allocation strategies that are tailored to their risk profiles.