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Merrill Lynch and WMSI deliver online tools for retirement plan participants

22 January 2004  |  487 views  |  0

Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) today announced a strategic alliance with Wealth Management Systems, Inc. (WMSI) to offer retirement plan participants online tools for rollovers and withdrawals - and a paperless way to process both.

WMSI has developed "The Rollover Solutions Network," which serves as an electronic interface between employer-sponsored retirement plans and retail brokerage accounts. Retirement plan participants can use the platform to request distributions and rollovers, open retail accounts, and direct distributions or rollovers into those accounts.

"The Rollover Solutions Network streamlines distribution processing for retirement plan sponsors, virtually eliminating paperwork while increasing productivity and reducing costs," said James McCarthy, first vice president, Merrill Lynch Retirement Group.

"Integrating distribution processes with IRA rollover services helps plan sponsors to better serve the needs of their participants who are making distribution decisions that will affect their retirement security and longer-term financial well being," McCarthy said.

The platform also allows for ongoing monitoring and tracking of rollover and distribution activity, providing plan sponsors with insights into participant behavior and decision-making. This will help sponsors ensure that participants are empowered to make informed decisions regarding their distribution options.

"We saw the potential to improve distribution processing and facilitate the structure of an IRA marketplace," said Tom Loch, president and chief technology officer of Wealth Management Systems. "If retirement plan providers could integrate their distribution services with multiple financial institutions, participants would be able to choose their IRA provider and we could create a home for every rollover account regardless of the size of the balance," he said.

Employees who use The Rollover Solutions Network now have access to Merrill Lynch's Transition Services tools and information as well.

Merrill Lynch created a new education and planning program, Transition Services, to aid employees when they reach important milestones - from changing employers to preparing for upcoming retirement. The program helps employees understand their distribution options and guides them through the process.

"By educating and guiding individuals who face tough distribution decisions, we can help them be better prepared to achieve retirement success," McCarthy added.

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