Bank of America has introduced what it calls “Financial Life Benefits” for corporate client employees, including 401(k) and health savings accounts, equity compensation and nonqualified deferred compensation plans.
The suite is designed to help employees achieve financial control and plan for retirement, says Lorna Sabbia, head of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions at Bank of America. “Too often, day-to-day financial challenges hinder long-term financial success,” she says. “Financial Life Benefits is a powerful solution for employers to help their employees plan, save and take control of their future. With this new solution, retirement and health care savings can be addressed alongside short-term financial needs, guided by financial education and professional guidance.”
The Financial Life Benefits solution will be available to large and midsize companies and will offer financial education and personalized wealth management; discounts on mortgages and checking and savings accounts; in-person guidance; one-on-on consultations; local financial centers to meet with Merrill advisers; call centers; and more. Employees who bank with the company and have participating employer payroll direct deposits may also collect waivers on the account if they are enrolled. Those who have a checking or savings account and are receiving participating employer direct deposits also will be able to automatically enroll. Participants in the employee mortgage program will not require a direct deposit and will have access to lending specialists.
Additionally, the company will be testing a new financial wellness tracker, designed to access employees’ financial wellness and suggest actions to change financial behavior and improve wellness. According to Bank of America, the tracker will be rolled out in the coming months.
“By the summer, we will be offering these to clients. This will be an optional service, but we expect there to be a lot of demand,” says Stephen Ulian, head of Institutional Distribution at Bank of America.
In an effort to expand, Bank of America is adding as many as 150 new salespeople, with 50 of those focusing on small or midsize plans with $100 million or less in assets, Ulian says. The company will have hired 25 salespersons by the end of the first quarter and plans on bringing on up to 75 more by year-end, according to a Bank of America spokesperson. While the bank’s financial advisers were traditionally used to issue institutional retirement products, the new specialists will partner with adviser teams and work with the company’s commercial banking relationship managers, Bank of America says.
More information about Financial Life Benefits can be found here.
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