IBM’s newly minted personal finance and education benefit program for its 127,000 employees, “IBM MoneySmart,” heralds the beginning of the type of program retirement finance professionals believe will increasingly become the norm in corporate America.
The program is all the more significant, says Bonnie Hughes, a planner and founder of Kennesaw, Georgia-based A & H Financial Planning and Education, Inc., because it has been inaugurated by IBM, one of the most prominent companies both in the U.S. and worldwide.
“If it does this program in its usual high-quality manner, then a template can be set for other companies to follow,” Hughes says.
IBM MoneySmart will provide all manner of financial planning advice to IBM employees and their spouses via specially trained representatives from Fidelity and The Ayco Company, a unit of Goldman Sachs. The program, which launched in March, kicked off with a series of seminars that took place via in-person group meetings at IBM sites nationwide and through interactive Web conferences. As of April, IBM employees had access to unlimited one-on-one counseling over the phone with reps from either Ayco or Fidelity.
“We have a group of people specially designated for IBM,” says Michael Conway, VP of marketing and financial related services at Ayco. “For any aspect of their financial planning, IBM staff can go to our team, and they can ask for the same person all the time. We also have a Web portal on which we’ll house everything we have said to an employee, as well as any other resource they need, so they can also track their own financial life.”
“At IBM, we’re working with a very motivated team that is concerned about the well-being of their employees,” says a Fidelity spokesperson.
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