Vestwell’s Partnership with Franklin Templeton in the news

Franklin Templeton has partnered with digital recordkeeping platform Vestwell to build an advisor managed account experience that will reset the bar on how advisors engage with clients. The new offering combines Franklin Templeton’s proprietary Goals Optimization Engine (GOE™) methodology with Vestwell’s modern recordkeeping infrastructure to create an entirely digital, open-architecture and cost-effective managed account solution. The offering will live natively in Vestwell’s platform, with the ability to automatically enroll participants into a personalized investment strategy.

Read our full press release here and check out some of the coverage below.

4 Big Trends in 401(k)s, Retirement Plans

Key trends in the retirement plan business were the subject of a recent webinar hosted by Vestwell, a digital retirement platform. Although looking at 401(k)s in particular, the group of industry experts saw ways the advisory industry will keep expanding and changing, especially in retirement plan area.

Here are four highlights of the session.

The missing link: How managed accounts help advisors deliver a true end-to-end retirement plan offering

Because no two participants are alike.

By Joshua Forstater 

For the majority of Americans, long-term savings begins in the workplace. Which is why there is a massive opportunity for retirement plan advisors to add value beyond setting companies up with a quality 401(k). In addition to building the right plan design with the right investments for the company, many advisors want to help participants better engage with their plans. And because no two participants are alike, managed accounts are a great way to get there.

So why, despite having been around for almost two decades, are managed accounts only now gaining significant attention?

For perspective, in 2009, only 26% of defined contribution plans offered a managed account option. Just 10 years later, that number was up to 66%. And according to a recent Vestwell survey, 27% of advisors said they plan on incorporating managed accounts into their offering in the next 12 months, which does not account for advisors who already offer them.

That said, it’s worth noting that while the focus is high, participant adoption remains low.

4 Big Trends for Retirement Plan Advisors in 2021

Pooled employer plans and the changes they will bring to the industry will lead many of the trends retirement advisors face in 2021, according to a panel of industry experts. Vestwell hosted a webinar on Tuesday featuring CEO Aaron Schumm; David Stofer, founder and president of Mariner Retirement Advisors; and Fred Barstein, founder and editor in chief of 401kTV. The discussion was moderated by Mary Beth Franklin of Investment News.

2021 Retirement Trends: Predictions for the Changing 401(k) Landscape

For a notoriously slow-moving industry, big changes to the retirement plan market are underway. As we enter 2021, our panelists—401k TV’s Founder & Editor Fred Barstein, Vestwell’s Founder & CEO Aaron Schumm, Mariner Retirement Advisors’ Founder & President David Stofer, and InvestmentNews’ Mary Beth Franklin, CFP—discussed how PEPs, ESGs, and managed accounts are creating opportunity in the 401k space.

  • Managed accounts are high on advisor’s 2021 implementation lists – but getting them right is a different story.
  • The debate on whether PEPs will actually disrupt the industry continues.
  • Ongoing M&A activity can have big implications, so advisors should pay attention.
Learn more by reading 401k Specialist Magazine’s recap of the event below.

Common Mistakes Advisers Make That Should be Avoided

Experts outline several ways advisers can ensure they keep the loyalty of their clients.

Advisers can sometimes slip up on delivering the service they provide to plan sponsors and participants, which could lead to the loss of a client. Here, industry experts outline common mistakes advisers can avoid to remain in their clients’ good graces.

The first thing a retirement plan adviser that charges a sponsor more than $1,000 a year needs to do is disclose their fee, as mandated by the Department of Labor (DOL), says Ary Rosenbaum, managing partner at The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. If the adviser fails to do so, Rosenbaum says, the DOL could consider any transaction with the adviser to be a prohibited transaction and could charge the plan sponsor financial penalties.

Jay Jumper, chief executive officer of ProNvest, agrees, saying, “One of your best options to inspire confidence in the plan sponsor is to be upfront about your fees, making them easy to understand and competitive with the market.”

Sponsors also need to ensure that the fees their adviser is charging them are reasonable, Rosenbaum says. If, through requests for proposals (RFPs) or requests for information (RFIs), the sponsor discovers the fee is unreasonable, they might grow dissatisfied with their adviser, he says.

Rosenbaum goes on to say that there are many advisers who fail to meet with their sponsor clients on a regular basis, which, he maintains, should be twice a year at a minimum, in order to “review the plan, go over the investment lineup and conduct participant enrollment/education meetings.”

Ann-Marie Gorczyca, senior vice president, client services and operations at Vestwell, concurs that this is a common mistake advisers make. “Advisers should be continually engaging with both the plan and participants to increase participation and results,” Gorczyca says. “Where we see unhappy clients is when advisers are less present—or, perhaps, not present at all. Sponsors want regular feedback on employee engagement, fund lineups, plan design, costs and more. If sponsors feel like the plan and its participants are operating on an island, it’s very likely they’ll devalue the need for having an adviser at all.”

Vestwell files as PEPs provider

Fintech and digital record keeper Vestwell is among about three dozen firms that have registered as pooled plan providers with the DOL, but the firm does not yet have information on pricing and plan design for a potential PEP product.

Vestwell is considering its options in the pooled employer plan market, filing last Thursday with the Department of Labor to become a registered provider.

But the New York-based fintech, which has about 5,000 retirement plans and 150,000 participants on its digital record-keeping system, isn’t totally sold on the idea of PEPs, said the firm’s general counsel and chief privacy officer, Allison Brecher.

That’s partially because the DOL has yet to weigh in on potential conflicts of interest in such plans — including whether a single company can provide plan administration and fiduciary services.

“We’re waiting to see how the market unfolds,” Brecher said. How the DOL could address potential conflicts will help determine whether Vestwell launches a PEP and if so, what that plan looks like, she said.

Because the company hasn’t drawn a firm line on how it will participate in the marketplace, it does not have information on pricing and plan design for a potential Vestwell PEP. The qualified default investment options used in PEPs also present a question of whether many disparate types of businesses in the same plan are best served with a target-date fund or a more personalized managed-account option, she said.

Vestwell Honored as a 2021 Best Place to Work by Built In

Vestwell is honored to be recognized by Built In three times this year as a “2021 Best Place to Work,” including Best Places to Work for NYC, Best Small Companies to Work For, and NYC Companies with the Best Benefits. This annual awards aims to highlight top employers across the country that continually go above and beyond for their employees, taking into account benefits, support, culture programs and initiatives.

100 Best Places to Work In NYC 2021

50 Best Small Companies to Work for in NYC 2021

50 Companies with the Best Benefits in NYC 2021


Interested in joining the Vestwell team? Check out our open opportunities at

Franklin Templeton Partners with Vestwell to Deliver Advisor Managed Account Offering in a Modern Recordkeeping Construct

Thousands of financial advisors can now leverage Franklin Templeton’s Goals Optimization Engine (GOE) to provide personalized advice for their retirement plan clients

New York, NY and San Mateo, CA: January 6, 2021 — Franklin Templeton has partnered with digital recordkeeping platform Vestwell to build an advisor managed account experience that will reset the bar on how advisors engage with clients. The new offering combines Franklin Templeton’s proprietary Goals Optimization Engine (GOE™) methodology with Vestwell’s modern recordkeeping infrastructure to create an entirely digital, open-architecture and cost-effective managed account solution. The offering will live natively in Vestwell’s platform, with the ability to automatically enroll participants into a personalized investment strategy.

To date, managed accounts have been somewhat commoditized, simply added on top of existing offerings and therefore failing to provide the experience or cost-effectiveness investors deserve. With a clear market need to revolutionize the space, Vestwell and Franklin Templeton set out to build a managed account offering that is customizable, affordable, and built on a modern fintech infrastructure that benefits all users. By architecting it directly into Vestwell’s platform, Vestwell can capture data that provides participants a more personalized investment experience at each stage of their retirement journey. With a completely open-architecture fund universe and a dynamic qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) capability, advisors can craft their own unique investment programs to provide fiduciary advice while leveraging a modern fintech platform to effectively scale.

“We believe every U.S. worker and household has the right to experience financial well-being during each life phase. Enabling plan advisors to deliver goals-based, personalized, cost-effective advice to Americans in the workplace is our focus.  We want to equip advisors and investors with innovative tools and technology to achieve that goal at scale,” says Yaqub Ahmed, Head of US Retirement and Insurance at Franklin Templeton. “We’re thrilled to be working with Vestwell to deliver a managed account offering that helps advisors more effectively engage during all stages of a participant’s savings journey.”

The managed account solution allows plan sponsors to rethink their default option by choosing a dynamic investment model for each employee, rather than a traditional single target-date series. What makes a dynamic QDIA unique is that participants can be defaulted into a target-date series early in their savings journey, before being moved into a more active model as they approach, or reach, retirement. As a result, participants with more complex financial needs can get the personalized advice they need when they need it. And because of the technology efficiency, it can cost a fraction of the price of the typical managed account option.

The offering is currently in late-stage development, with an expected rollout in the first half of 2021. At that time, advisors can leverage Vestwell’s unbundled, open-architected, configurable platform to deliver their own white-labeled 401(k) with an integrated advisor managed account solution.

“We recognize the important role customized advice plays in the retirement plan ecosystem and are excited to be working with Franklin Templeton on a native managed account offering,” says Aaron Schumm, Founder & CEO of Vestwell. “Whether a plan has $500 thousand or $500 million under management, participants deserve access to a quality, personalized investment plan. With a native advisor managed account offering powered by Franklin Templeton’s Goals Optimization Engine (GOE), we can deliver on making great plans more equitable and accessible.”

About Vestwell

Vestwell is the digital recordkeeping platform bringing the 401(k) and 403(b) industry into the modern fintech era. We have rearchitected the workplace retirement chassis from the ground up and built an engine to power the $30T industry. Our customizable, open architecture, and white-labeled platform becomes a natural extension of financial services and payroll partners, while removing traditional friction points plaguing legacy recordkeeping. The result is an easier, more efficient, and all-around better experience for everyone, delivered at a fraction of the cost. Learn more at and on Twitter @Vestwell.

About Franklin Templeton

Franklin Resources, Inc. [NYSE:BEN], is a global investment management organization with subsidiaries operating as Franklin Templeton and serving clients in over 165 countries. Franklin Templeton’s mission is to help clients achieve better outcomes through investment management expertise, wealth management and technology solutions. Through its specialist investment managers, the company brings extensive capabilities in equity, fixed income, multi-asset solutions and alternatives. With offices in more than 30 countries and approximately 1,300 investment professionals, the California-based company has over 70 years of investment experience and approximately $1.5 trillion in assets under management as of November 30, 2020. For more information, please visit and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Copyright © 2021. Franklin Templeton. All rights reserved.

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