CitiStreet has launched a new Web service for benefit plan participants with numerous enhancements that were designed to elevate online access from a desktop convenience to a full decision-support service, it was announced today.
"The Web has always been an important touch point in retirement savings, but it has taken on added importance as it has become a primary source for education and action among benefit plan participants. Our new Web service is designed to make those interactions as easy and as successful as they can be," said Sandy McCarthy, CitiStreet president of retirement services.
She noted that a strong suit of the new participant Web service is that it offers far more opportunities for personalized communications to individual participants.
The Welcome page, for example, opens to specific messages, worked out with plan sponsors, for an individual retirement plan. These are augmented by participant-specific targeted messages based on demographics, savings trends and other characteristics. For example, a young participant who has had all savings in a default income fund for some time would get a message about diversification, along with links to guidance and action in that area. Another participant might be notified about annual enrollment in their health and insurance benefits.
"A major feature of the design is a new consolidated view of all retirement and health benefits, including personalized links so the participant may take immediate action without searching through the site," said Dave Tolve, CitiStreet executive vice president of product development. "It can serve as a company's integrated retirement and health-and-welfare portal that connects participants to plan services provided by CitiStreet, or those of other service providers to CitiStreet customers."
Implementation of the new Web site has begun and eventually all CitiStreet customers, whose participants made 40 million Web connections last year, will be transitioned to the site.
The new Web site, which includes improvements in navigation and design, also includes personal investment performance analysis over any reporting period; a sophisticated savings calculator; direct links to retirement advice; real time market updates; a personalized investment watch list; market snapshots from Dow Jones; and a full Google site search.
The new site, with modern fonts and more color, also features an enhanced Personal Resource Center that each participant can tailor for instruction and information at his/her level of investment knowledge.
For participants whose plans offer CitiStreet Advisors services, strategically positioned graphics guide them to online or call center-based advisors to get recommendations on investments driven by Financial Engines, the independent computer model founded by Nobel Prize-winning economist William F. Sharpe.
CitiStreet provided thought leadership for the new Web site and then factored in the best ideas drawn from customer and participant feedback.
"By continually enhancing our participant Web site, we feel we are helping our customers' employees and retirees reach their savings and retirement goals, as well as making our customers' benefits plans more attractive to those employees who have yet to join," said Tolve.