Aims to simplify plan administration, reduce fiduciary risk while supporting retirement security

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act is paving the way for unrelated employers to participate in a single, pooled employer plan (PEP) beginning next year. In support of this legislative action, Principal Financial Group® today announced it has teamed up with other key service leaders to provide Principal® EASE (PDF), a uniquely designed PEP that combines integrated retirement plan administration, customer service, and investment management capabilities.

Principal is taking responsibility as the Pooled Plan Provider (PPP). With its backing of financial strength and industry expertise, Principal will oversee the operation of the PEP, helping to ensure the plan meets regulatory requirements and helping employers reduce administrative work and fiduciary risk. This packaged fiduciary solution will be available for financial professionals to offer employers in 2021.

“The workplace is such an effective place to increase access to retirement savings plans,” said Jerry Patterson, senior vice president of Retirement and Income Solutions at Principal®. “Our position as a leading service provider of retirement plans in the U.S. opens the door for Principal to provide input on legislative efforts, which remains focused on helping increasing access to retirement plans for all American workers.”

A novel approach to simplifying plan administration and fiduciary risk for employers

Only 55 percent of workers employed by small businesses (1-99 workers) have access to retirement benefits.1 To help increase access to more American workers, Principal® EASE (PDF) will deliver a professionally managed approach—streamlining decisions for employer plans from start-up to $10 million in assets under management (AUM). Beginning next year, financial professionals will be able to offer this robust program that is powered by the latest in tech innovation, service integration, and data security.

“By shifting liability to designated fiduciaries with specific knowledge and skills, employers benefit from investment management as well as reduced administrative tasks and risks,” said Patterson.

Principal® EASE (PDF) brings together the combined strength and expertise of Principal as the Pooled Plan Provider (PPP) and recordkeeper, along with National Benefit Services, LLC (NBS) as the third-party administrator (TPA) and Wilshire® as the investment fiduciary. NBS brings 30 years of administrative and multiple employer plan (MEP) experience and has a track record of success providing retirement administration to more than 20,000 employers across the country. Wilshire brings a long history of investment management experience, developing market-tested strategies and innovative best practices garnered from meeting the needs of large institutional investors.

“As a top defined contribution player2, we bring the financial strength3, stability and integrity that comes with having a Fortune 500 company backing the size and scale of this PEP,” said Patterson. “We’re thrilled to team with NBS and Wilshire to help people feel more prepared and confident about their retirement.”

Teaming Up for the Future

More than a third of defined contribution plan sponsors (38%), both large and small, recently reported they may look to join a multiple employer plan (MEP) or PEP in the next two years.4  In preparation for future demand, Principal will look to continue working with other firms on joint PEP arrangements to continue to help more Americans feel more secure in their retirement.

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Author: Editor
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