The financial services firm has announced the launch of a new 401(k) program for small businesses, including those with startup plans and plans with account values up to $500,000.
Equitable’s program—Retirement Gateway for Small Business—will serve a growing need in the underserved micro 401(k) market to create a simplified onboarding and administrative experience for plan sponsors and financial advisors from initial consultation to implementation, according to the firm’s announcement.
“We anticipate the enhanced tax credits for small businesses establishing retirement plans included in the SECURE Act 2.0 proposal will help grow the micro 401(k) market over time,” said Keith Namiot, Chief Operating Officer of Group Retirement at Equitable. “We have aligned our new program with where the market is expected to grow, and we are excited to help plan sponsors and advisors overcome the administrative barriers associated with setting up 401(k) plans—a hurdle that has historically deterred many small businesses from offering them.”
Retirement Gateway for Small Business also plans to capitalize on other proposals within the SECURE 2.0 legislation, such as the automatic enrollment requirement for new plans created by businesses with 10 or more employees. The growth of state-mandated retirement plans is also driving the demand for this type of program, the firm notes.
All new Equitable 401(k) clients with plan account values of up to $500,000 have access to Retirement Gateway for Small Business. The program offers packages of services—some of which are made available through partnerships with unaffiliated third-party providers—to help ease demands on plan administrators and improve participant outcomes. They include:
- 3(16) administrative fiduciary services;
- 3(38) investment fiduciary services;
- automatic enrollment;
- Stadion Managed Accounts as the QDIA; and
- 360 Payroll Integration.
“Small business owners are focused on operating their organizations. That’s why it’s important to take the guess work out of choosing the right retirement plan design that can help them achieve the best participant outcomes,” said Jay Zickerman, head of Product Innovation and Implementation for Equitable’s Group Retirement business.
Another goal of the program is to help cut the time spent on getting plans up and running quickly by connecting advisors to a third-party administrator (TPA), who can assist with plan design, implementation and ongoing administration.
Compass Retirement Consulting Group will serve as the plan’s TPA and 3(16) administrative fiduciary for the program.