Mercer Introduces New 401(k) Platform

Global consulting firm Mercer will assume the role of named fiduciary and plan administrator for plan sponsors using the platform, and it will also assume responsibility of investment decisions.

By Javier Simon | September 28, 2016

Mercer, a global consulting firm, has launched Mercer Wise 401(k), a solution it says aims to mitigate plan sponsors’ fiduciary risk while lowering participants’ costs through leveraging Mercer’s global scale across the 401(k) value chain.

Mercer will serve as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) “plan administrator” and “named fiduciary” for each plan, taking responsibility for most of the administrative and operating functions of the plan. It’ll also take responsibility for investment decisions. Mercer will select independent investment managers across a range of asset classes. 

“We believe that segments of the 401(k) marketplace suffer from high fees and lack of transparency, among other challenges,” says Tom Murphy, senior partner at Mercer. “Against this background, plan sponsors face an increasingly difficult regulatory environment, increased litigation risk and heightened demand on their limited resources to support their 401(k). By assuming the responsibilities of named fiduciary, Mercer can reduce risks for plan sponsors, who may be challenged in meeting an ever increasing burden. We will leverage our global research and investment expertise and use our economies of scale to provide transparency, cost reductions and improved services.”

In addition, participants in Mercer Wise 401(k) will have complete access to Mercer Financial Wellness, an open architecture financial wellness platform that includes access to online budgeting tools, credit-score monitoring, a robo-advice solution, student loan refinancing and other services provided through third-party providers.