Fidelity Initiatives Target Participant Engagement

“We’d like to pat ourselves on the back saying we’ve helped people but the evidence is not in our favor,″ said Steve Ulian, Senior Vice President with Fidelity Institutional Retirement Services Company.
As part of its programs moving forward, Fidelity is focusing on participant engagement, Ulian commented at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Savings and Retirement Symposium.
Ulian said the firm’s MyPlan program will be a part of that (see Fidelity myPlan Aims to Break Retirement Savings Inertia), and that the mutual fund behemoth will be launching a personal coaching program later this year. That program will offer information to participants about retirement, planning, and assets. It will be available though all channels, but will be first offered online, he said.

More than 401(k)s

This new level of financial interaction will allow Fidelity to take data from the plan sponsor and provide broader education and advice to plan participants, he said. Fidelity will ask plan sponsors to authorize giving the provider permission to talk to the participants about more than just 401(k) plans.
Outlining the rationale behind the renewed emphasis, Ulian said that, according to Fidelity’s figures, the total retirement savings of the average working American household is $20,000 and participation and deferral rates are flat. Across the country, there are 22 million eligible employees who do not participate in their retirement plan, 7 million of them  at Fidelity, he said.
The increase in retirement savings over the next decade as a result of the Pension Protection Act (PPA) is about $250 billion, as estimated by Fidelity Investments, Ulian said. In response to the PPA, Fidelity has already launched:
  • Automatic enrollment,
  • Automatic increase,
  • Defaults to lifecycle funds,
  • Automatic catch-up, and
  • Automatic rollovers
Automatic catch-up was recently piloted (see Auto Catch-Ups on Fidelity Drawing Board), Ulian said, and it has been very well received.