Magazine article American Banker

B of A Debuts Retirement Tools for Small Businesses

Magazine article American Banker

B of A Debuts Retirement Tools for Small Businesses

Article excerpt

Byline: John Adams

A fresh interest in attracting small business clients is giving rise to a slew of new tech-enabled products targeted at this market, ranging from payments to employee benefits.

The newest play is from Bank of America (BAC), which on Monday released a new retirement planning product that enables employees at small businesses to access 401K services via the web, with minimal overhead for the employer.

The product, which is being offered by Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Merrill Edge (a BofA Merrill wealth management unit), is aimed at firms with less than 20 employees. It will offer a menu of fund options or allocation strategies that can be executed and managed with minimal work required from the employer. Most of the work is self-serve and available online.

Rich Linton, a managing director and head of business retirement solutions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says internal research suggests web-accessed retirement plans would be a good fit for small businesses. The institution, which has four million small business clients, found that 58 percent have signed on for online banking, which he says indicates they are inclined to adopt value-adds tied to the web banking portal. He also says 66 percent of business owners say retirement benefits would help attract and retain talented employees. "That's normally something you would expect from larger businesses," Linton says.

To participate in the new 401K program, the small business owner can set up the benefit in about 30 minutes and participants can enroll online. …

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