J.P. Morgan Asset Management has introduced a new tool for retirement plan advisors to facilitate 401(k) plan design conversations and enhance plan sponsor decisions.

The J.P. Morgan Plan Design Guide helps retirement plan advisors evaluate and benchmark their clients’ plans based on the sponsor’s retirement benefits philosophy. Using a brief assessment, the tool charts the sponsor’s standing relative to its peers using two dimensions – their philosophy towards innovation and their level of plan investment. The company says that this methodology results in concrete next steps for plans across different mind sets to execute their strategy and potentially improve their fiduciary process.

“With increased complexity around regulatory requirements, increased pressure on fiduciary issues and some of the challenges that the retirement space is facing in terms of market volatility, complexity and design, our clients and sponsors are increasingly looking to advisors to help them navigate this process,” Donn Hess, head of product development at J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services, told Money Management Executive. “Clients are balancing three things: fiduciary risk, cost management and successful outcomes for their employees.”

Hess added that one of the unique elements of this tool is that it gauges company attitudes in terms of quadrants. Companies are placed into a particular quadrant depending on the role they want their retirement plan to fit within their compensation and benefit strategies. For example, some company plans are driven heavily by employer contributions while others are designed more as a vehicle for employees to maximize personal savings. Companies are also rated by how comfortable they are with being first adopters of new technologies and investment concepts.

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