|MINNEAPOLIS, May 11, 2004 — American Express Retirement Services today announced the successful transition of its 401(k) retirement plan client base to the BlueStar® service platform. The prior system, run in parallel throughout the changeover, is being decommissioned.
“It’s gratifying to open this new chapter of opportunity for American Express and our clients,” said John Baker, chief operations officer - American Express Retirement Services. “We are excited to see the large plan platform we envisioned become a reality.”
Instead of relying on a central “mainframe” computer to store and process data like many of the traditional defined contribution/401(k) systems, BlueStar uses a distributed “client/server” design which allows administrators to make targeted changes without affecting or interrupting service to other users. Distributed systems are fast becoming a popular choice for computing tasks like retirement plan recordkeeping because they offer a more cost-effective and flexible operating environment while still providing powerful capabilities. American Express Retirement Services is the largest retirement services company to move to this technology with an investment of more than $50 million in its large plan business.
“In this business you have to get this right,” said Baker. “While the move to BlueStar held many advantages for our clients, our number one priority was transitioning them so that that change itself was a non-issue. We were not about to rush through it.”
To that end, American Express developed a seamless, intra-day transition process for each client—something so remarkable that American Express applied for a U.S. patent (now pending). One key advantage of this was keeping client and their participants’ assets in the market.
“The workers participating in these retirement plans deserve to benefit the most from moving to BlueStar,” said Baker. “Keeping their savings fully invested and working for them was essential to the success of this transition.”
BlueStar brings a number of immediate features and advantages to plan sponsor and clients, including:
• Faster plan changes
• Increased fund options
• Full compliance with current regulations
• Morningstar advice and guidance
• Account activity history
• “Your Rate of Return”
• Faster phone services
• Online message center
American Express Retirement Services, a service group of American Express Financial Advisors Inc., provides corporations, unions and municipalities, and their nearly 1 million workers nationwide with a complete package of financial education, recordkeeping, investments and trustee services for their qualified retirement plans. For more information on American Express Retirement Services, visit www.americanexpress.com/sponsors.
American Express Financial Advisors Inc. popularized early saving and investing programs for working people more than 100 years ago, helping give rise to financial planning, mutual funds and retirement plans in the past century. Today, American Express continues its commitment to individuals and corporations with its Financial Education and Planning Services unit of American Express Retirement Services, which delivers workplace financial education programs to more than 2 million workers nationwide.
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Editor’s Note: To schedule an interview with John Baker, contact Todd Wold, (612) 671-6583 or Email email@example.com.
First use 5/11/2004
Registered investments and financial planning services are offered through American Express Financial Advisors Inc., Member NASD. American Express Company is separate from American Express Financial Advisors Inc. and is not a broker-dealer. Retirement plan and trust-related services are offered through American Express Trust Company.