BoA Merrill Lynch Provides Tool to Monitor Financial Wellness

March 4, 2010 ( - Bank of America Merrill Lynch is introducing a new tool to its 401(k) plan sponsor clients designed to monitor and score the "financial wellness" of employees enrolled in their plans.

The new tool, Financial Wellness Monitor, is being offered free to clients using the firm’s Advice Access service, and calculates an overall “Financial Wellness Score” indicating to employers whether their employees are exhibiting behaviors within their retirement plan that may lead to successful long-term savings. The monitoring can also identify specific audiences that may benefit from targeted communications and financial education programs.

A positive score is based on such metrics as how much employees are saving within the plan, whether their assets are appropriately diversified or if they using target date funds improperly, and whether they are they fully benefiting from the company match, among other factors. Scoring for each participant is weighted as follows: 40% savings, 40% investing, 10% monitoring and setting goals, and 10% preserving retirement assets. The average of all employees’ scores produces a plan’s “Financial Wellness Score.”

Bank of America Merrill Lynch collaborates with clients on ways to improve employees’ financial wellness through plan design features and strategic education and service initiatives.