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More retirement plan recordkeepers offering mobile apps

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The retirement provider industry lags the larger financial services sector when it comes to advances in mobile platforms, but plan providers are quickly closing the gap, according to one consultancy.

Corporate Insights, a New York-based consultancy, tracks the technology and communication innovations of 18 of the largest recordkeepers in the space.

The firm’s most recent Retirement Plan Monitor report documents the major enhancements to existing mobile platforms, as well as the new mobile offerings the biggest brands in the retirement space have rolled out in the past year.

Corporate Insights began tracking new mobile and tablet applications last year, according to a company spokesperson.

Since then, recordkeepers have been busy expanding their mobile presence to plan participants, the recent report finds.

MassMutual rolled out its new mobile application, while The Principal Financial Group, T. Rowe Price, and TIAA-CREF all introduced new tablet applications for participants in the past year.

Of the firms that already had an existing mobile platform, most added enhancements in the past year.

Charles Schwab and Transamerica added the ability to make transactions via their mobile applications. Fidelity, The Principal Financial Group, T. Rowe Price, and Voya added to their existing mobile transaction capabilities.

Now, 11 of the 18 providers tracked by Corporate Insights offer that ability to participants via their phones or tablets.

Of the 18 firms, 11 offer a mobile site, 10 offer phone applications, and six offer tablet-optimized applications.

MassMutual’s new RetireSmart mobile app—the only fully new app introduced in the past year—features “a sufficient amount of account and personal data,” according to the most recent Retirement Plan Monitor report, but doesn’t allow mobile transactions, or provide retirement estimating tools, calculators, or educational material.

The new tablet apps introduced by The Principal Financial Group and TIAA-CREF mirror the firms’ existing phone apps, while T. Rowe Price’s new tablet app emulates the firm’s responsive website, according to the analysts.

The ability to make transactions to plans via a mobile device is clearly on the rise. Last year, seven firms offered at least basic mobile transaction capability: Fidelity, J.P. Moran, T. Rowe Price, VALIC, Vanguard, and Voya.

Six of those firms’ applications allow participants to conduct contribution rate changes from their phones or tablets; four allowed account rebalances; four allow participants to trade out funds; four featured the ability to change future allocations; and one mobile app included the ability to create loan, withdrawal, and rollover requests.

Two recordkeepers have been added to the group tracked by Corporate Insights—Empower Retirement and Prudential. Both offer transaction capabilities on their mobile applications.

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