KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hallmark Cards Inc. has hired Financial Engines to provide investment advice for the 10,000 participants in its four 401(k) plans, which total $546 million, said Tresia Franklin, Hallmark's director of benefits.
Hallmark executives hired Financial Engines Inc., Palo Alto, Calif., after reducing the field of potential service providers to two finalists and putting Financial Engines through an internal pilot program with about 300 people, Ms. Franklin explained.
After several months of testing, Hallmark hired Financial Engines in November, she said.
The day after the investment advice service was online, 315 people already had used it, she said.
Hallmark splits the $40 cost of the service with its employees, she added. The other two large plan sponsors that signed on with Financial Engines most recently -- Merck & Co. Inc. and 3Com Corp.-- picked up the entire tab, he said.
The company added two new investment options to its four 401(k) plans in October -- emerging markets and diversified bond portfolios. Each of the plans has the same seven investment options, she said. The company matching contribution, which is not identical in each plan, is in cash. There is no company stock investment option.
The 401(k) plans' record keeper is Hewitt Associates, Lincolnshire, Ill., and the trustee is State Street. The remaining investment options in the plans, which do not use retail mutual funds, are: a stable income fund; a large-cap Standard & Poor's 500 index fund; a growth and income fund; a developed international fund; and a small-cap fund. Ms. Franklin declined to name the funds' managers.
Hallmark executives hope that adding investment advice will boost participation, which is currently at 76%, Ms. Franklin said.
The company also has a $1.6 billion profit sharing plan that includes Hallmark stock. Because that plan has no investment choices, advice is not offered for it, she said. Financial Engines analyzes Hallmark's privately held company stock only to determine the projected level of participants' retirement assets.
Financial Engines also is providing Hallmark with access to non-computer-based investment advice, said Jeff Maggioncalda, president and chief executive officer of Financial Engines.