SURVEY SAYS: Participant Access to Mobile Apps

In the ongoing effort to engage retirement plan participants, providers have developed mobile applications to reach them on-the-go.
By PS

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Does your company, through its retirement plan provider, offer plan participants access to mobile applications for enrollment, plan transactions, savings modeling or retirement income calculations, or other plan and general retirement education?”

Eighty-one percent of responding readers are or work for a plan sponsor, 5% are advisers/consultants, and 14% work for TPAs/recordkeepers/investment manager.

Forty-five percent of respondents reported their firms do not offer plan participants access to plan-related mobile applications. However, 15% offer mobile apps for enrollment, and 55% offer apps that allow participants to view their account information.

One-quarter offer mobile apps that allow participants to make retirement plan transactions such as deferral rate changes, investment changes, distribution requests, etc. One-quarter also make apps available that help participants calculate their retirement income needs.

One-in-five responding readers said their firm provides participants with access to mobile apps for modeling retirement savings scenarios, and three-in-ten say apps they provide offer other retirement plan and general retirement education.

One-third (33.3%) of respondents do not know how many participants use the mobile apps to which they have access, while the majority (58.3%) said less than 10% of participants use them. Slightly more than eight percent say 10% to 50% of participants use them.

Among those whose company does not offer access to mobile applications, 22.2% indicated the reason is their firm doesn’t think participants will use them. The same percentage said the tools and resources their company offers already adequately meet participants’ needs. Two-thirds (66.7%) chose “other” reasons, including their retirement plan provider does not offer mobile apps or they don’t know if the provider does, they haven’t been asked to provide mobile apps to participants and “customized plan is employer-directed and not designed to provide daily account valuations.”

 

In verbatim responses, some respondents indicated they will be looking into offering access to mobile apps, and one commenter lamented about how technology has evolved. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “Pulled the cover off the bulky lump stashed on a cart in the corner of my office and showed my ‘still wet behind the ears’ new employee my once state-of-the-art IBM-Selectric II typewriter. She said, ‘Oh wow, I've never seen a real one. How do you run it?’ For all I've learned and done in the many years I've been in this business, seems I've still a long way to go. Makes me wonder, though, if her path will be as pioneering and what relic of her journey will find its corner shrine. Hmm, maybe it's time to pull the plug.”

A big thank you to all who responded to the survey! 

Verbatim 

will discuss this as an option with our provider.

I can't answer all this. I have a "dumb" phone so I don't pay attention to all the "app" technology!

Transaction abilities are coming soon!

Not many members use this

We haven't spent a lot of time promoting through our company, but the provider seems to really be pushing it. Most of the people I see are a little reluctant to handle more than just the very basic financial matters on a mobile basis and that is even from our younger employees who seem to live on their mobile devices!

Every day brings news of scammers, financial fraud and identity theft, yet every day also brings offers of more ways to handle personal PRIVATE business in the public arena on mobile devices. And people push retirement plan sponsors to provide all these options but the plan sponsor will be vilified if something backfires. It's amazing that people refuse to see what is wrong in this society and how it operates. If people are stealing financial and private information, then stop giving them the opportunity to do so. Just because it is "possible" doesn't mean you should sit at the food court conducting retirement plan transactions on a mobile device.

Pulled the cover off the bulky lump stashed on a cart in the corner of my office and showed my “still wet behind the ears” new employee my once state-of-the-art IBM-Selectric II typewriter. She said; "Oh wow, I've never seen a real one. How do you run it?" For all I've learned and done in the many years I've been in this business, seems I've still a long way to go. Makes me wonder, though, if her path will be as pioneering and what relic of her journey will find its corner shrine. Hmm, maybe it's time to pull the plug.

We are changing to a company that will offer mobile services.

 

NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.

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