|New bundled retirement plan services designed for mid-size companies and organizations
MINNEAPOLIS, May 18, 2004 — American Express Retirement Services today announced a new suite of retirement plan services designed exclusively for mid-size companies and organizations with $5 to 50 million in plan assets—NEXTPlan from American Express. NEXTPlan matches the power of a defined contribution leader with outstanding personal service to employers and employees, investment flexibility and a unique, local financial education presence. It is the next generation of retirement plan services for mid-market plans, bringing large market functionality and flexibility to this segment. Because it is well suited to the intermediary distribution channels in the mid-market, NEXTPlan increases American Express Retirement Services’ distribution reach beyond its direct salesforce.
“The introduction of NEXTPlan complements our position as a leading provider of bundled retirement services in the large plan market,” said Ward Armstrong, president of American Express Retirement Services. “We’re excited to seize this opportunity to create an enhanced product solution that brings American Express’ exceptional service, financial education and asset management capabilities to this growing segment.”
NEXTPlan is a new, turn-key retirement plan designed to streamline administration through state-of-the-art technology backed by a tradition of American Express service. A fully integrated defined contribution plan system allows plan sponsors to concentrate on running their business instead of running the retirement plan. Plan sponsors take advantage of daily recordkeeping, paperless processing, online plan administration tools and a full account team with a variety of investment options—all at a competitive price. Participants benefit from both web and phone transactional account access with the latest in account management features, as well as advice and financial planning capabilities.
“Many growing companies often find their level of retirement plan services struggling to keep up with the needs of their growing employee base,” said John Baker, chief operations officer for American Express Retirement Services. “NEXTPlan takes them to the next level of retirement plan services with a cost-effective and efficient platform with higher levels of service and flexibility specifically designed to keep pace with the needs of growing mid-sized companies.”
Setting NEXTPlan apart, its financial education component brings mid-sized employers a wider breadth of education capabilities and a unique nationwide network of local delivery. American Express’ award-winning financial education programs go far beyond simple investor education to provide employees more comprehensive education on their entire financial situation. In addition, NEXTPlan offers program designed for executives, something unique to this market segment.
“As a pioneer of workplace financial education we know first-hand the positive impact it has on the saving and investing behavior of workers,” said Baker. “Making it a key component of our new NEXTPlan product makes it accessible to more companies looking to complement their retirement plan benefits with financial education. It’s made even more comprehensive by covering the complex needs of executives.”
Streamlined service and world-class financial education is combined with NEXTPlan’s broad package of investment solutions.
Core investment options are available from a wide range of American Express Funds, a recognized and trusted name in asset management. In addition, NEXTPlan provides access to mutual funds from “best in class” fund managers giving employees the ability to utilize mutual funds from 16 leading mutual fund companies. This total universe of close to 400 funds covers a wide spectrum of investment objectives and share classes - from capital preservation and safety of principal to long-term capital appreciation and growth. NEXTPlan brings additional capabilities to the table as well, such as self-directed accounts for participants and non-qualified plan services.
For the NEXTPlan recordkeeping platform, American Express selected Great-West Retirement ServicesSM. A unit of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, Great-West Retirement Services is a leading provider of recordkeeping and administrative services for the defined contribution market. Specializing in private-label recordkeeping services for small and mid-market plans, Great-West Retirement Services offers American Express a broad array of cost competitive services, plus extensive experience working with outside distribution channels.
“By design, NEXTPlan is a service bundle well-matched to intermediary distribution, contrasting our BlueStar® platform used in the direct channel,” said Baker. “It effectively extends the spectrum of American Express’ unique retirement plan offerings to mid-sized plans leveraging that market’s primary distribution channel.”
American Express Retirement Service recently announced the completed transition to its new BlueStar proprietary service platform, where its existing client base is now being serviced and will remain.
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 Americans 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.