Defined Contribution | Bank of America Merrill Lynch
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Defined Contribution Plan

Making America's cornerstone of retirement savings work

Defined contribution plans - mostly 401(k) and profit sharing--have come to dominate the retirement savings landscape in the U.S., and have taken on a primary role in how workers save for retirement.* Making a defined contribution plan work for your employees requires good plan design, administration and communication.

* United States Government Accountability Office, GAO-11-333 Private Pensions, March 2011.

Reporting and recordkeeping services

Designed to make defined contribution plan management and reporting easier for you, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch recordkeeping platform focuses on delivering detailed, accurate and dependable features:

  • Automated and simplified enrollment and deferral increases
  • Roth 401(k) and in-plan Roth conversion administrative services
  • Eligibility and contribution rate tracking
  • Beneficiary tracking
  • Daily valuation, tracking and reconciliation of mutual funds and collective trusts
  • Distribution and rollover services
  • Loan and withdrawal processing
  • Required minimum distribution (RMD) reporting and processing
  • Real-time and same-day trading of company stock and assets in a self-direct brokerage account
  • Cashiering services
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) qualification.

Fiduciary Advisory Services

We recognize the important role and responsibility you have as a plan fiduciary in helping participants invest for retirement and feel more secure about their financial futures. The job of a plan fiduciary can be demanding, but you don't have to manage it all on your own. Through our Fiduciary Advisory Services we offer 3(38) discretionary and 3(21) non-discretionary services, both designed to help you achieve your plan's goals.

Advice Access

Advice Access is an investment advisory program that offers personalized savings and investment recommendations. Recommendations are based on an individual's goals and current status and include contribution rate, asset allocation and specific investment options. Advice Access can take into consideration other participant data, including assets held outside the retirement plan, to formulate a comprehensive strategy. The highly flexible program puts employees in control of the level of personalization reflected in the recommendations, the manner in which they receive the advice and the way in which the recommendations are implemented.

Advice Access is available via the Web or the Retirement & Benefits Contact Center. Advice Access is provided at no additional cost when bundled with recordkeeping services.

Flexible, appropriate investment options

Retirement & Benefit Plan Services does not require any proprietary investment assumptions in our service bid. Instead, we maintain alliances with over 150 investment firms and offer a broad and diverse selection of mutual funds, collective investment funds and stable value investment options. We will provide recordkeeping services on investment options outside our investment alliance, provided they meet our platform requirements. We constantly strive to work with clients on expanding our alliance offering.

Powerful automatic plan features

Automatic features are known to have a significant impact on plan metrics - and potentially on the overall financial wellness of your employees. We can implement any of the following automatic features:

  • Automatic enrollment - Eligible employees are automatically enrolled in the retirement plan with their contributions invested in the default fund. They can opt out or change their rate or investments at any time.
  • Automatic deferral increase - Participant deferral rates automatically increase periodically to help ensure adequate contribution levels.
  • Automatic investment selection - We will work with you to help you select a default investment that is prudent for your employee demographics; including a number of investments that may qualify as a qualified default investment alternative (QDIA).

Should you prefer a traditional plan design and enrollment process, our targeted communications are known to guide participant learning and decisions.

Advice Access is an investment advisory program sponsored by Merrill Lynch that uses a probabilistic approach to determine the likelihood that you may be able to achieve your specified annual retirement income goal and/or to identify a potential wealth outcome that could be realized. Additionally, the recommendations provided by Advice Access may include a higher level of investment risk than you may be personally comfortable with. You are strongly advised to consider your personal goals, overall risk tolerance, and retirement horizon before accepting any recommendations made by Advice Access. You should carefully review the explanation of the methodology used, including key assumptions and limitations, which is provided in the Advice Access disclosure document ("ADV Brochure"). It can be obtained through Benefits OnLine or through a participant service representative.

IIMPORTANT: The projections or other information shown in the Advice Access program regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. Results may vary with each use and over time.


See how Retirement & Benefit Plan Services can expand the possibilities of your employee benefit solutions.
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