Bells & Whistles | Published in October 2011

Bells & Whistles - October 2011

Each month, Bells & Whistles highlights recent product introductions that plan sponsors­ may find of interest. More information on these announcements can be found on If you have a product announcement that you believe would be of interest to our ­readers, drop us a line at

By PLANSPONSOR staff | October 2011
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Illustration by Tomi Um

401(k) Platforms 

Vanguard announced it will offer a bundled 401(k) plan service for small companies that combines Vanguard’s investment options and indexing expertise with the small-plans recordkeeping expertise of Ascensus, a recordkeeper and administrator of retirement plans. The service is designed for 401(k) and profit-sharing plans with assets of less than $20 million.

401kDIRECT andSummit Trust Company have introduced the DIRECT Multiple Employer Plan (DIRECT MEP). This plan is an open platform MEP designed for third-party administrators (TPAs) and investment advisers who want to offer clients a multiple employer plan but maintain control over plan design and investments. The DIRECT MEP is a qualified 401(k) plan that allows unrelated employers to reduce costs and fiduciary liability by participating together in a single plan.

SunGard has launched a payroll and census data collection capability to help benefit administrators increase production efficiencies by giving U.S. and international plan sponsors an online submission process to fund and post information automatically on the recordkeeping system. Available as an integrated module of SunGard’s Omni pension recordkeeping solution or as a stand-alone solution, Omni Data Validation Web helps to reduce operational costs throughout the payroll collection process by providing plan sponsors with the ability to submit contributions, loan payments, participant indicative information, and other administrative data online.

More than 3,000 credit unions now have access to CUNAMutual Group’s newly released online retirement guidance platform. According to a press release, RetireOnTarget will enable more than 140,000 credit union employees whose 401(k)s are administered by CUNA Mutual to better meet their retirement goals through an easy-to-understand planning tool.

Web Site Enhancements 

MetLife Resources has launched a redesigned Web site to help plan sponsors and participants better plan for retirement. According to a news release, the site will offer MetLife Resources’ clients a better way to prepare for their retirement income needs by grouping tools and resources into the three stages of the retirement process: getting started, staying on track, and planning your retirement.

M&I Institutional Trust Services has introduced an interactive online enhancement that enables retirement plan sponsors and advisers to evaluate plan and participant metrics. PlanView enables plan sponsors and consultants to make inquiries about enrollment, deferral targets, and other active daily plan metrics; filter plan- and participant-level information; and create customizable reports and templates.

Transamerica Retirement Services announced the launch of RetireTrack, Web-based interactive and customizable retirement savings tools for retirement plan participants. RetireTrack helps plan participants analyze and improve their retirement strategies based on their individual goals, financial situation, and available investment choices.

Fifth Third Bank announced changes to its retirement planning site. Fifth Third said it updated the Web site in response to feedback it collected through surveys, focus groups, and other interactions with its 401(k) clients. The redesigned Web site will provide a more personalized experience offering Fifth Third Bank clients the tools and information they need to help them take control of their retirement.

Nationwide Financial Services, Inc., has expanded its retirement plan offerings with a new product “designed by and for retirement plan specialist advisors.” Nationwide Retirement Flexible Advantage offers a broad array of investment options without proprietary fund requirements alongside what the firm described as fee transparency, fee-based compensation, and comprehensive support.

New York Life Retirement Plan Services has launched a redesigned plan sponsor and adviser Web site. According to a news release, the new Web site combines enhanced navigation with a comprehensive view of the multiple retirement plans a sponsor or adviser may have with New York Life.