July 2, 2013

Vanguard Offers Retirement Plan Tools for Mobile Devices

The fund giants says retirement plan participants can now trade and make other account transactions through their cell phones, tablets

Vanguard says that it recently started letting retirement plan investors make transactions on mobile devices and updating them on the status of these transactions by text messaging.

The fund giant, which shared news of the move on Monday, also notes that it is one of the first in the industry to offer investors such tools.

As of May, nearly 20% of Vanguard’s online business with retirement plan investors now takes place via a mobile device versus 4% in January 2011. Six months ago, Vanguard started a text-messaging service that is now used by about 30% of investors who work on their accounts online.

“Retirement-plan participants are increasingly using mobile devices, and Vanguard’s mobile transaction and text messaging services lets them manage their accounts the way they want to manage them,” said Amy Cribbs, head of Vanguard Participant Experience, in a press release.

Retirement-plan investors can, for instance, change their contribution levels, switch fund investments, changing their portfolio mix and rebalance their holdings. In addition, they may use Vanguard’s mobile app for actions like checking account balances and performance data or reviewing transactions and account statements.

“Vanguard’s mobile users tend to be very engaged in long-term planning and investing, and we expect that the mobile transaction capabilities will be used as an added convenience,” Cribbs added.

The company manages more than $2.2 trillion in U.S. mutual fund assets. It recently adjusted the benchmarks of 22 of its 160 index and actively managed funds sold to U.S. investors to lower costs paid by investors. It also provides investments to nearly 4,000 defined-contribution plan.

According the industry group ICI, total U.S. retirement assets now top $20.5 trillion; assets in individual retirement accounts stand at about $5.7 trillion, and those in defined-contribution plans at $5.4 trillion.

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Check out Retirement Assets Continue to Recover: ICI on AdvisorOne.

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