Defined Contribution | Bank of America Merrill Lynch

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 Services1 we can help you construct and maintain an investment menu and act as an ERISA 3(21) fiduciary2 for the investment advice provided.

Advice Access

Advice Access delivers personalized investment advisory service with unbiased contribution and investment recommendations for employees, including discretionary account management. Based on participant account information, plan provisions and other employee-provided information, Advice Access provides:

  • Unbiased contribution and investment recommendations
  • Reallocation and rebalancing of participant accounts
  • Access to PersonalManager®, a managed account solution that can be used as a qualified default investment alternative (QDIA).

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.

The Advice Access service uses a probabilistic approach to determine the likelihood that you may be able to achieve your stated 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 statement. It can be obtained through Benefits OnLine or through a participant service representative.

IMPORTANT: The projections or other information shown in the Advice Access service 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.

1Fiduciary Advisory Services is an investment advisory service sponsored by Merrill Lynch. It will only be offered to defined contribution plans with recordkeeping services through Bank of America Merrill Lynch or our Advisor Alliance providers. It is available for plans up to $500 million in plan assets. For more information on plan eligibility speak to your Merrill Lynch Designated Advisor.

2 The Merrill Lynch Fiduciary Advisory Services Client Agreement and the related fee schedule and the Merrill Lynch Fiduciary Advisory Services program Brochure and other disclosure documents include information about the program, including Merrill Lynch's fiduciary responsibilities pursuant to ERISA section 3(21).


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