August 21, 2012
plan participants are demanding electronic education, debunking the myth that participants
are not engaged in their savings. ---
Since late 2011, more than 530,000 participants have signed
up for a new “opt-in” feature to receive electronic delivery of educational
materials to help make decisions about employer benefits, retirement planning
and other relevant financial topics, according to Bank of America Merrill
Lynch’s quarterly 401(k) Wellness Scorecard. On average, nearly 2,000
participants sign up for this electronic feature daily, the report found.
“Participants are … demanding that and wanting that type of
advice,” Michael Liersch, director of behavioral finance for Bank of America
Merrill Lynch, told PLANADVISER.
Participants may already know what they want to do with
respect to retirement planning, but they need education and tools to enhance
their planning ability, Liersch said. “When employees have the right
information out on the table, we also see that they exhibit better behaviors,”
Advice is another tool that can help participants plan their
retirement. Participants enrolled in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Advice
Access program are showing an increased tendency toward better financial
well-being, according to results from the company's Financial Wellness Monitor.
From June 30, 2011, to June 30, 2012, the increase in “Well” participants
nearly doubled for those in Advice Access (up 6%, to 87% “Well”) versus those
not in Advice Access (up just 3%, to 64% “Well”).