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Bank of America adds 367 options to DC platform

Bank of America Merrill Lynch added 367 options to its defined contribution investment platform, confirmed spokesman Matthew Card.

The additional options means the company now has more than 4,700 investment options offered through 130 investment managers, according to a Bank of America news release issued Tuesday.

The 4,700 options “now include multiple non-proprietary stable value funds and target-date funds, separately managed accounts and a broad range of passive and actively managed commingled trusts,” the news release said.

The added investment options were part of additional services to DC plan clients that Bank of America Merrill Lynch announced Tuesday. Those new services include financial education information ranging from estate planning to debt management and providing account information to participants via mobile devices.

The new services and products are the result of company discussions with clients that revealed several needs, Kevin Crain, head of institutional retirement and benefit services, said in an interview.

“Sponsors feel a greater responsibility for offering the benefits of 401(k) plans and to encourage employees to use” the plans,” he said. “And they want as much choice as possible.”

Mr. Crain added that sponsors view benefits choices as a recruiting tool because employees evaluate such benefits when they contemplate moving to another job or staying at their existing job, he said.

“Employees have a desire and demand to get (financial) advice,” he added. “They are looking for the most concise way to get information.”