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401(k) technology brings innovation to retirement advising

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Product innovations designed to enhance 401(k) platform efficiencies and ultimately, participants’ savings rates, just seem to keep coming.

Provider behemoths like Empower and Financial Engines both recently announced significant new enhancements to their platforms.

And of course Betterment’s recent rollout of its robo-advisor solution for 401(k) participants is likely to accelerate incumbent providers’ effort to integrate best-in-class technology solutions to improve participants’ user experience.

Now, NextCapital, a Chicago-based developer of an open-architecture managed-account platform, has also stepped up its game.

This week the software company, whose investors include Russell Investments and Transamerica, rolled out the latest iteration of its 401(k) Digital Advice Platform, which the company claims will deliver plan advisors the ability to give savers “previously unreached levels of personalization and simplicity,” according to a company release.

Like most of the innovation sweeping through the 401(k) space, personalization is the key to NextCapital’s approach.

Its latest application creates tailored solutions to specific participant needs based on savings rates. It incorporates a more comprehensive assessment of a participant’s financial portfolio beyond what assets may exist in their 401(k) account.

“You can’t plan for retirement without seeing all your accounts, and the 401(k) is the primary place where 88 million Americans save for retirement,” says John Patterson, chief executive officer of NextCapital.

The platform also makes direct portfolio recommendations and forecasts retirement income based on projected account balances and social security income. Participants can also take advantage of deferral escalation feature.

And its open architecture platform allows advisors and plan providers to build investment menus with their preferred products.

The company also says the platform upgrade offers “connectivity” to an expanding number of plan record keeping systems, which can help advisors aggregate assets and thereafter design a more tailored saving strategy for participants.

Once those assets are aggregated and a strategy is put in place, the platform will automatically rebalance portfolios, in the vein of a managed account or target date offering, to meet savings goals.

NextCapital is banking on the goal that its platform will bring an enhanced savings design to existing target date strategies, which critics say do not take personalized participant savings strategies far enough.

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