Business Tech

Utilizing Technology to Improve Retirement Readiness

Experts in the retirement planning industry expect the next five years to feature significant improvements in participant engagement as advanced technology provides greater targeting of individual goals. A Nov. 2013 survey conducted by Transamerica Retirement Solutions of the leading 50 retirement specialists in the United States indicates that the more than 88 million Americans currently relying on defined contribution plans for their retirement nest eggs are beginning to demand customized retirement planning. This demand will only continue to increase further.

Technology, the report points out, can be used as an effective key for unlocking that potential. John Geli, CEO of Wealth Management Systems Inc. (WMSI), based in New York, agrees. His firm specializes in providing unique technology and education solutions to financial firms such as investment advisors, money managers and 401(k) custodians.

“Times are changing,” Geli explains. “Companies are looking for new ways to differentiate themselves and deliver more    value to customers in every interaction to deepen relationships and increase assets under management. At WMSI, we aggregate unlimited data feeds from internal, external and vendor platforms – including plan, participant and advisor information - into one secure, centralized database making data actionable and accessible to all key stakeholders. Combining data with the latest in content management and optimization technologies enables us to anticipate and individualize the customer experience for our clients and energize service delivery through all channels – marketing, web, call center, and advisor.  These solutions deliver meaningful guidance to customers while creating a more efficient, end-to-end servicing model for investors, record keepers, money managers and advisors.”

Since its founding in 2000, WMSI has taken a leading role in developing integrated data management and customer servicing platforms aimed at improving the financial services experience for investors. The firm’s proprietary product – Rollover Central – according to Geli, was the first of its kind. Retirement plan record-keeping systems were integrated with money managers’ IRA opening systems, creating an open marketplace in which participants could compare multiple options and electronically open IRAs with the provider of their choice. “As you can imagine, this was the first time anyone in the industry was supporting a marketplace of rollover options and moving data electronically to open IRAs in real time,” Geli remarks. “It really revolutionized the way a participant could initiate a rollover while helping to fully educate them about all of their distributions options – including the dangers of cashing-out.”

Fast forward to 2014 and WMSI has strategically grown through the acquisition of Archimedes Systems in October of 2012 and the purchase of the S&P Capital IQ Financial Communications Division in October of 2013.  Focused on the future, WMSI is committed to helping clients build relationships using advanced technology in combination with integrated financial education, personalized benefit statements and planning tools to deliver relevant solutions to their customers.

“WMSI will continue to invest in product offerings that will empower our clients to better anticipate and respond to customer needs," said Geli. "Our industry has put a bright spotlight on the challenges of engaging employees in the planning process to achieve retirement readiness. We are taking a significant step forward in providing not only multi-channel, customer servicing solutions but the integrated marketing and education programs clients need to improve savings behavior and retirement results."

Geli is now contemplating how a pending national uniform fiduciary standard will impact the technological services his firm provides. Geli sees the U.S. Department of Labor’s planned August release of compromise rules currently being formulated to bring broker-dealers and fee-based advisors closer to the same standard, as a clear indication that changes are indeed coming. “The important thing here is that everyone in the industry appears to agree that participant education and clear disclosure of plan options and costs are a top priority. This is what we are hearing from our clients, business partners and regulators. WMSI will support clients in conforming to the regulatory directive and to do what is right and prudent for participants trying to retire.”

Learn more about Wealth Management Systems Inc. online at www.wealthmsi.com

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