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.