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Bells & Whistles | Published in November 2011

Bells and Whistles - November 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 www.plansponsor.com. If you have a product announcement that you believe would be of interest to our ­readers, drop us a line at news@plansponsor.com.

By PLANSPONSOR staff | October 2011
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Illustration by Nick Sheehy

Participant Education 

GuidedChoice has launched Retirement Readiness, a new solution that allows retirement plan participants to see where they stand on the path to retirement and helps them take action to improve their savings and investment strategies. GuidedChoice says it designed the personalized assessment to meet the real-world preferences and responses of plan investors. To make it easy to read and understand, the report focuses on just a few key facts drawn from retirement plan data.

The Newport Group has created a new section on its Web site called “My Forecast,” dedicated to helping participants weigh their retirement income options. “My Forecast” can be found on plandestination.com, where employees can view a graphic illustration of the difference between their retirement income goal and how much their expected income will be, based on their current savings.

DST Retirement Solutions is deploying a new strategy for helping clients maximize the value of participant and plan Web sites. The strategy focuses on designing best-in-class user experiences that move beyond transactional needs by leveraging technology to communicate, collaborate, and influence behavior for targeted audiences.

Fidelity Investments announced the launch of its new Retirement Distributions Center. According to a news release, the Center was designed to make it easier for Fidelity clients to set up, track, and manage withdrawals from their IRAs. The Center helps investors manage both minimum required distributions (MRDs), required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and other elective withdrawals from their accounts.

Multiple Employer Plans 

CPEhrannounced a new partnership with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney to enhance the plan administration of its Multiple Employer 401(k) Plan. This new partnership provides CPEhr and its clients access to products and services including investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, credit and lending, cash management, annuities and insurance, and retirement and trust services.

Ameritas Retirement Plans, in collab­oration with Pentegra Servicesand Mesirow Financial, is bringing to market a new multiple employer plan (MEP), called the Employers 401k ELITE Retirement Plan. Employers who want to join the MEP are not required to be related.

With the change to an all-electronic filing system and changes to the Form 5500 as well, the U.S. Department of Labor has released the Form 5500 Version Selection Tool. The tool will help plan sponsors determine which version of the Form 5500 and which schedules they should use.

Just for Small Business 

MetLifehas developed a solution specifically designed to help small businesses: FMLAssist. Available to employers with 50 to 999 employees with underlying long-term disability insurance coverage through MetLife, the program provides the opportunity to help reduce the compliance burden and regulatory risks associated with Family and Medical Leave ACT (FMLA) decisionmaking. The program cost to employers is based on the number of FMLA decision requests they decide to refer to MetLife.

Klein Decisions, Inc., has launched a version of K4 Plan Goals for Small Business. The small-business version allows retirement advisers and providers the use of most of K4 Plan Goals’ functionalities without requiring full data integration with recordkeepers. The new K4 Plan Goals offering is designed for small-plan providers and advisers that use multiple recordkeepers for their retirement plan business.

Vanguard 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 less than $20 million.

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