A financial services company has come up with a feature that could protect the retirement benefits of 401(k) plan members.

The retirement services arm of Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J., says the company’s new Prudential IncomeFlex defined contribution plan feature can give plan participants the ability to withdraw 5% of their “retirement income base” per year for life without shifting assets into a separate annuity.

Prudential’s Prudential Retirement Insurance and Annuity Company will implement the guarantee feature by setting up 5 special Prudential IncomeFlex asset-allocation funds in a group variable annuity contract.

Plan participants can put assets in the IncomeFlex separate accounts, then, at age 65, withdraw up to 5% of their income base each year for life.

Participants who start tapping the separate accounts at age 55 can withdraw 4% of the base for year, Prudential says.

Prudential Retirement Insurance, which is responsible for backing the product guarantees, is guaranteed that the income base will grow at least 5% per year.

If the separate accounts that the participant chooses do well, the participant can share in the growth in the market value of the participant’s assets, Prudential says.

Feature users can pass any remaining market value in their accounts to their beneficiaries, Prudential says.