Infosys will assume day-to-day operations for Vanguard’s defined contribution (DC) plan recordkeeping business, including software platforms, administration and associated processes, the firms announced.
Through a strategic partnership, Infosys and Vanguard will provide a cloud-based recordkeeping platform, which they say will provide greater insights and unprecedented personalization to help deliver better outcomes for nearly 5 million participants and 1,500 plan sponsors. “We have both an obligation and an opportunity to give our millions of participants the best chance for retirement success,” Vanguard tells PLANADVISER.
Plan sponsors will continue to be served by Vanguard’s relationship management teams and plan design and communication experts. In addition, Vanguard will oversee all aspects of its investment management and guidance for both sponsors and participants, including ongoing development of its holistic, personal advice services. Participant phone calls will be serviced by both Vanguard and Infosys. Vanguard says advisers and consultants will continue to work directly with same Vanguard relationship management and consultant relations teams.
“Importantly, this partnership enables Vanguard to both modernize our core recordkeeping platform and move faster as it redesigns its participant experience, unlocking deeper client insights and integrating advice,” Vanguard says. “Sponsors and participants will receive a state-of the-art recordkeeping experience fueled by scalable, flexible cloud technology and leading-edge software and hardware architecture. Clients will benefit from streamlined transaction processing, ‘anywhere, anytime, any device’ multichannel support, and better data and insights, through AI [artificial intelligence]-enabled analytics and reporting, among other capabilities.”
A page dedicated to the transition on Vanguard’s website says the firms expect to accomplish the transition with no freeze or conversion. Operations and information technology (IT) crews from Vanguard, including several of the division’s most senior leaders, will move to Infosys to ensure continuity of service. Vanguard says retirement plan participants will experience a seamless transition.
In 2011, Vanguard moved to offer bundled 401(k) plan services for small companies that combined its investment options with the small-plan expertise of Ascensus. Vanguard tells PLANADVISER, “Vanguard Retirement Plan Access (VRPA) is a separate group within Vanguard Institutional Investor Group and VRPA clients will continue to be served by Ascensus.” According to Vanguard, VRPA now serves small business retirement plans with $50 million or less in assets. VRPA offers small-business recordkeeping services that are comparable to those available to larger retirement plans. “The new asset threshold applies to new plans only, and enables us to provide these services to more plans for a lower price,” Vanguard says.
Approximately 1,300 Vanguard roles currently supporting the full-service recordkeeping client administration, operations and technology functions will transition to Infosys. All Vanguard employees currently performing these roles will be offered comparable positions at Infosys in close proximity to Vanguard’s offices in Malvern, Pennsylvania; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Scottsdale, Arizona. Transitioning employees will receive the same salary and comparable benefits for a transition period of 12 months, plus meaningful incentive opportunities.
“Vanguard’s success is inseparable from the talented, mission-driven people who work tirelessly to serve our clients. The crew and roles that will transition to Infosys are critical to this effort, and both Vanguard and Infosys are committed to keeping transitioning crew local, enabling valuable collaboration and a seamless experience for clients,” Vanguard says.
Martha King, who has served as managing director of Vanguard Institutional Investor Group since 2015, will transition to Infosys to head its new Mid-Atlantic Center of Excellence and serve as chief client officer. The center will be Infosys’s global retirement services hub, with Vanguard as its anchor client.
Vanguard also announced that John James, a 12-year Vanguard veteran, will move from his current role as chief human resources (HR) officer to lead the Institutional Investor Group, which serves the investment and financial advice needs of employers offering company-sponsored retirement plans, as well as organizations such as endowments and foundations. James has held leadership roles in the firm’s Financial Advisor Services division and previously headed its Australian, U.K. and European operations, including the institutional and retirement businesses for those respective markets.
In addition, Lauren Valente has been appointed to Vanguard’s senior leadership team as chief human resources officer and managing director. Valente joined Vanguard in 2003 and has held a range of leadership roles across the firm’s Corporate, Institutional, Retail and Information Technology divisions. Over the past five years, she has worked with DC plan clients, overseeing Vanguard Retirement Plan Experience and, most recently, leading Participant Services and Operations.