More Firms Are Addressing the Group Plan Market

Franklin Templeton has selected a new group plan recordkeeper in Transamerica, while PRI and Waypoint have formed a new joint company called Group Plan Systems.

By DJ Shaw

Franklin Templeton Selects New Group Plan Recordkeeper

Franklin Templeton has selected Transamerica as the recordkeeper for a new retirement plan solution. The Franklin Templeton Group Plan Solution is offered exclusively through Franklin Templeton and was created for employers seeking to benefit from group pricing and access to services that are not always available, particularly to smaller companies.

“We believe every U.S. worker and household should have the right to experience financial well-being throughout each phase of life and access to a workplace retirement plan is a critical step toward achieving that,” says Yaqub Ahmed, Franklin Templeton U.S. head of retirement, insurance and 529. “In this strategic partnership, we look forward to empowering financial professionals with a retirement plan offering for small to midsize businesses that has advantages similar to what many larger-scale plans can offer.”

Under the arrangement, Transamerica will serve as recordkeeper for these retirement plans. In addition, DWC – The 401(k) Experts will provide 3(16) plan administrator fiduciary services, and LeafHouse Financial be the 3(38) investment fiduciary.

“This solution enables employers to offload the responsibility for typical day-to-day tasks to DWC, which saves time for their human resources [HR] departments. Support includes approval of distributions and loans, and monitoring plan eligibility,” says Darren Zino, Transamerica U.S. retirement distribution senior managing director. “This solution gives employers access to professional plan services that they might not otherwise be in a position to afford.”

PRI and Waypoint Launch Fiduciary Services Firm

The Pension Resource Institute LLC (PRI), a retirement plan compliance, technology and consulting firm for banks, broker/dealers (B/Ds) and investment advisers, and Waypoint Fiduciary LLC, a fiduciary consulting firm serving plan sponsors and financial institutions, have formed a new company, Group Plan Systems (GPS), to serve as an independent, operational fiduciary for group plan arrangements.

GPS leaders say they believe that the retirement plan industry has done well at supporting employers in managing investments, but it still has room to grow in terms of supporting them from an operational perspective.

Pete Swisher, Waypoint founder and GPS managing partner, says GPS plans to “elevate retirement plan governance by applying the same rigor to operations that employers expect from their investment professionals.

“By thoughtfully leveraging technology and well‐defined processes, we are able to deliver named fiduciary oversight of operations to group plan arrangements at scale,” he says.

GPS is available to serve in a variety of capacities, including as a pooled plan provider (PPP) for pooled employer plans (PEPs), as a named fiduciary on group or individual plans, and as a consultant to help others bring their own solutions to market.

“We believe we are well‐positioned to help financial institutions and employers take advantage of the opportunities created by [the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act] and maintain compliance with new and evolving laws and regulations,” says Jason C. Roberts, PRI CEO and GPS managing partner.

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