Mercer hired Empower Retirement as record keeper for its outsourced 401(k) solution and forthcoming pooled employer plan, the firm said Friday.
The Mercer Wise 401(k), which was launched in 2017 and has more than $1 billion in assets, aims to improve participant outcomes while reducing plan sponsors' administrative burdens and fiduciary risk.
Which firm previously provided record-keeping services or the reason for the change could not immediately be learned.
Mercer also said it will launch a pooled employer plan, or PEP, in early 2021. PEPs, established under the SECURE Act, make it easier for employers in unrelated businesses to join a collective or pooled retirement plan for their workforces. The PEP market launches on Jan. 1.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put strain and cost pressure on many plan sponsors, leading to an increased demand for outsourced solutions, and Mercer's partnership with Empower will add more flexibility to its outsourced retirement plan products, Mercer said in a news release.
The retirement landscape is changing, said Chris Mahoney, leader for Mercer's U.S. investments and retirement business, in the news release. "While many companies are just beginning to offer pooled plans, Mercer already has years of experience in managing groups of plans, and brings significant scale and proven results. We are excited to collaborate with Empower, a proven industry leader, with the intent of creating better outcomes for plan sponsors and their participants, and improving retirement plan coverage during this challenging time."
To achieve better retirement outcomes, more Americans need greater access to high quality retirement plans that offer compelling plan features, high quality investment options and professional advice, said Tina Wilson, chief product officer for Empower, in the news release.
"Through the Mercer Wise 401(k) program and the intended pooled employer plan," she said, "we believe that more plan sponsors will have the opportunity to deliver state-of-the-art retirement benefits to their employees who deserve the opportunity to achieve greater financial security."