TRUST COS. CONSOLIDATE: A quartet of independent trust companies - First Trust Corp., Lincoln Trust Co., Resources Trust Co. and Retirement Accounts Inc. - have rolled up under a single brand, Fiserv Investment Support Services. The convergence represents the first of a three-phase consolidation effort designed to create an umbrella organization.
The second and third phases of the campaign will include streamlining the product offerings and consolidating operational functions. Core products and services, such as Datalynx and Trustlynx, will remain unchanged.
The campaign is planned to be completed in 2005.
"These trust companies have been part of the Fiserv family for a number of years but have operated individually," said Skip Schweiss, executive vice president of Denver-based Fiserv ISS. "Our clients have also told us it's important to consolidate these brands into a single entity under the Fiserv name."
Following the combination, Fiserv ISS will become one of the largest trustees of self-directed retirement plans in the country, with combined assets of nearly $33 billion, servicing nearly 325,000 self-directed retirement and custodial accounts.
ADP ROLLS OUT SOLO(K) RETIREMENT PLAN: ADP Retirement Services, a unit of payroll and benefits outsourcing provider ADP, has expanded its offerings for the small business market with the introduction of a Solo(k) retirement plan.
Known as a "one-participant" 401(k) plan, the offering is available to employers who own 100 percent of their own business or are partners in a business with no full-time employees other than a spouse. With Solo(k), owner-only businesses can maximize their savings by contributing as both an employer and an employee to a Solo(k) plan. Contributions are tax deductible and earnings accumulate on a tax-deferred basis. As participants, business owners can capitalize on the benefits of a traditional 401(k) plan; as owners, they can experience substantial cost savings, while decreasing the amount of time and resources needed to manage the plan.
Other benefits include the ability to take out loans from the account, to submit additional catch-up contributions (for participants age 50 or over) and to consolidate rollovers from other eligible plans, including traditional IRAs, 401(k)s and SEPs.
In addition, owner-participants gain access to ADP's participant support programs, including plan design, contribution processing, payroll integration for ADP payroll clients, compliance support and loan administration services.
INVESMART INTRODUCES RIGHTPATH: National financial services firm Invesmart Inc. has launched RightPath, a defined-contribution plan.
Via RightPath, plan sponsors offer their employees access to savings planning and management that's integrated within the DC sign-up process, and the option to delegate the management of their account to an investment advisor acting as co-fiduciary.
RightPath participants have access to an investment advisor associated with Invesmart Advisors Inc. beginning with the enrollment process and continuing throughout the program. Advisors are available either by appointment or through Invesmart's advisory call center. For participants who prefer to self-guide, RightPath will also offer access to traditional investment support and planning tools via the Internet.
RightPath, which includes a personalized savings plan, discretionary investment management, and one-on-one investment advice, is available to participants for a flat monthly fee that may be paid by the plan sponsor, the participant or both.
VSCPA ROLLS out FINANCIAL LITERACY PROGRAM: The Virginia Society of CPAs has launched "Financial Fitness," a financial literacy initiative to help Virginia residents improve their financial health. As a first step in Financial Fitness, the VSCPA was due to hold the first-ever Financial Fitness Day on Oct. 23, in Richmond. The VSCPA plans to release the campaign statewide in the fall of 2005.
The initiative also includes the development of a new Web site, www.financialfitness.org, which includes free planning articles, a downloadable template for a personal spending plan, online sign-up for a free Financial Fitness e-newsletter, a financial check-up quiz and more. The site plans to offer a free, downloadable 12-month Financial Fitness calendar and planning guide soon, and also provides pro-bono assistance and online guides for nonprofit organizations.
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