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Defined contribution

Firms take steps to maintain data integrity, security

Edmund F. Murphy III said Empower is working on a way to deliver data the way consultants prefer.

Leveraging participant data to create meaningful insights comes with its share of challenges, record keepers said.

That includes making sure that everyone who receives the data is authorized to see the data and the recipients have "the appropriate security protocols and tracking mechanisms to protect that data," said Phil Chisholm, Smithfield, R.I.-based vice president of product management at Fidelity Investments.

"Cybersecurity is a huge area of focus," said Alison Borland, San Francisco-based executive vice president, defined contribution at Alight Solutions.

Making sure the data are being communicated in the way the recipient wants is another challenge, Mr. Chisholm said.

A consultant for example, "may call something 'debt flow,' but another firm (might call it) something totally different. It may include loan repayments, it may not," he said.

"When you're in the micro to small (plan market), the TPA might have the data, not the record keeper," said John Geli, New York-based president of retirement solutions for DST Retirement Solutions.

There the question becomes: "How do you get all of that information into one system?" Mr. Geli said.

While improvements are being made in the way participant data is analyzed and delivered, record keepers acknowledge there is still room to grow.

According to Edmund F. Murphy III, Denver-based president at Empower Retirement, consultants strongly prefer to have one data feed that delivers information in the aggregate across their books of business and that can be drilled down to the individual plan level as opposed to having to access multiple data feeds. "That's something we're working on," Mr. Murphy said.

With the increased interest in delivering holistic financial wellness programs, more sponsors and providers are trying to obtain information on participants' financial wellness, Ms. Borland said.

"That is an area that we haven't solved because (record keepers) don't have a lot of that data," Ms. Borland said.