COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Nationwide Financial, the country's leading provider of small-business retirement plans(A), further demonstrated its commitment to fiduciary education recently when approximately 40 company employees were awarded the Accredited Investment Fiduciary Audit(TM) designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies (Center). The company was the first to require the accreditation of its entire field staff. The Center is a nationally-recognized training organization for fiduciaries. The Accredited Investment Fiduciary Audit (AIFA) designation certifies financial services professionals to conduct investment fiduciary audits and reviews, examining investment practices to ensure that processes are prudent and meet fiduciary practice standards of care. "As a recognized leader in retirement plan management and distribution for America's growing businesses, we are dedicated to educating retirement plan sponsors about fiduciary responsibility and best practices," said Michael Butler, senior vice president of Nationwide Financial Services Distributors Inc. "Earning this designation is another important way for our specialists to enhance their knowledge and skills so they can better help investment professionals, third-party administrators and plan sponsors put in place and maintain appropriate retirement programs for employees." Nationwide Financial has been innovative in providing fiduciary tools for its investment professional and plan sponsor partners. In early 2001, the company introduced its The BEST of AMERICA(R) Fiduciary World Series(SM) program, which offers a guide, online tools and training materials designed to assist in investment selection and monitoring and fulfilling key fiduciary responsibilities. The company plans to extend the training as an option for members of its third-party administrator network. "We are impressed with the way Nationwide Financial has approached fiduciary issues," said Don Trone, director of the Center for Fiduciary Studies. "The company's innovative approach to accreditation for their entire field staff will be a model for the industry. Today, more than ever before, we need knowledgeable people working in the retirement plan industry and Nationwide Financial clearly understands this." About the Center for Fiduciary Studies The Center for Fiduciary Studies is the first full-time training and research facility for fiduciaries. The Center, associated with the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business, teaches fiduciary standards of care and investment best practices designed for trustees and investment professionals. Courses are offered throughout the year at two locations: the University of Pittsburgh and Stetson University's Celebration Campus in Orlando, Florida. Customized training is also provided to individual organizations on a case-by-case basis. About Nationwide Financial Nationwide Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE: NFS), based in Columbus, is a leading provider of annuities, life insurance, retirement plans, and other financial services for individuals and institutional clients. The major operating subsidiary of NFS is Nationwide Life Insurance Company, one of the country's largest life insurers. Nationwide Financial, with assets under management of more than $96 billion in 2002, is the retirement savings and income operation of Nationwide, a leading provider of diversified insurance and financial services. The parent company is ranked No. 136 on the Fortune 500 based on revenue. For more information about Nationwide Financial visit www.nationwidefinancial.com . (A) Plan Sponsor magazine May 2002 (based on number of recordkeeping plan clients) * The BEST of AMERICA(R) Fiduciary World Series(SM) is made possible by Nationwide(R) Financial Services, Inc. and is under copyright protection. The materials are designed for exclusive use with Nationwide products, programs and services. * The BEST of AMERICA Fiduciary World Series is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal or investment advice on any particular matter. Neither Nationwide nor any of its representatives provide tax or legal advice. The BEST of AMERICA Fiduciary World Series is not for participant use. * The BEST of AMERICA(R) Group Retirement Series includes unregistered group fixed and variable annuities and trust programs. Unregistered group fixed and variable annuities are issued by Nationwide Life Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio. * Program and trust services are offered by Nationwide Trust Company, FSB. Nationwide Investment Services Corporation, member NASD. In MI only: Nationwide Investment Svcs. Corporation. * Nationwide(R) is a federally-registered service mark of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. The BEST of AMERICA(R) is a federally registered service mark of Nationwide Life Insurance Company. The BEST of AMERICA Fiduciary World Series(SM) is a service mark of Nationwide Life Insurance Company. Media Contacts: Tiffany Swinehart 614-677-4297 firstname.lastname@example.org Bethany McLeish 614-677-8516 email@example.com
SOURCE Nationwide Financial Services, Inc.