ALPHARETTA, Ga., March 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Merit Financial Group ("Merit" or the "firm"), an independent registered investment advisory (RIA) firm supporting approximately $900 million in client assets, today announced the launch of its Worksite Financial Wellness Platform, a comprehensive offering that provides customized, turnkey financial wellness education, coaching and training resources to company retirement plan participants. Merit Financial Group is affiliated with Merit Financial Advisors, a multi-city, multi-state independent Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction firm (frequently referred to within the retail financial advice space as a "Super-OSJ"), supporting over 26 independent financial advisors across the country, many of them serving company retirement plans.
Rick Kent, President and Founder of Merit Financial Group, said, "Company retirement plans represent the last great hope for the majority of American workers to pursue their life goals, and this is where Worksite Financial Wellness can add enormous value to everybody with a role in the retirement plan process, especially the plan participants. Plan sponsors, plan advisors, benefits consultants and other professionals supporting retirement plans are increasingly bandwidth-constrained by the sheer complexity of running retirement plans today. They are actively seeking a partner who can work flexibly with plan sponsors or their service providers to provide, on a turnkey basis, the financial wellness education and coaching that plan participants increasingly demand and need."
The newly launched Worksite Financial Wellness platform enables retirement plan sponsors to bolster the financial health and retirement readiness of its individual plan participants, reduce personal finance-related stress that can negatively impact employee productivity, such as excessive personal debt, and to serve as fiduciaries to plan participants by helping employees better understand plan offerings. The end result for plan sponsors is increased corporate competitiveness and employee morale, as well as higher employee plan enrollment rates.
The platform's services can be offered both directly to retirement plan sponsors, or act as smoothly integrated, third party resources that augment the offerings of retirement plan advisors, third party employee benefits consultancies, retirement plan record-keepers as well as other third party service providers that focus on the company retirement plan space.
The broad launch of Worksite Financial Wellness follows a selective test phase recently, when the platform was utilized and tested by three of Merit Financial's retirement plan sponsor clients with approximately 4,000 total plan participants.
Key features of Worksite Financial Wellness are as follows:
- The platform encompasses seven dedicated full-time professionals who deliver education, coaching and monitoring resources, combined with comprehensive, integrated technology and resources, including the firm's proprietary Worksite Financial Wellness web portal.
- For each new retirement plan sponsor that utilizes the platform, Merit's team begins by administering a financial wellness exam to participants to help them gauge their financial health, retirement readiness and long-term priorities. The data from the exam is then used to develop a comprehensive, two-pronged strategic plan, both at the plan sponsor level and for each participant.
- At the sponsor level, the data enables employers to understand how to help employees in ways they may never have previously envisioned. Depending on the results, this may include giving participants the tools, resources and direction to pay down debt; improve preparedness for retirement; better navigate features or options of their current retirement plans; and understand key financial concepts in more depth.
- At the participant level, the data enables Merit Financial to provide personalized reports to each participant to help them better understand their financial needs and present them with an educational plan to help them pursue their goals. The reports also guide participants through the resources that are available through the Worksite Financial Wellness portal.
- Merit's financial wellness team also coaches plan participants on an ongoing basis to help them make measurable progress toward their goals each year, and provides in-depth monitoring to enable plan sponsors to understand their Return on Investment ("ROI"). This includes tracking changes in the number of participants who logged into the Worksite Financial Wellness portal, set up a budget, increased their 401(k) deferral, attended a financial fitness class, and more.
Mr. Kent concluded, "With the Department of Labor placing more pressure on plan sponsors to provide robust education and oversight functions, the days when plan sponsors could put a menu of investment options on the table and let employees figure the rest out are over. In today's environment, plan sponsors are finding out how crucial it is to advance the financial wellness of plan participants, and to do so by engaging a dedicated third party platform that thoroughly knows the retirement plan space, the education and coaching needs of plan participants, and how to work effectively and seamlessly with plan advisors and other service providers in support of this mission."
About Merit Financial Group
Based in Alpharetta, Georgia, Merit Financial Group ("Merit" or "the firm") is an independent registered investment advisory (RIA) firm supporting approximately $900 million in client assets. The firm is affiliated with Merit Financial Advisors, a leading independent Super-OSJ firm supporting over 26 independent financial advisors. Merit has longstanding experience in supporting the company retirement plan space, and offers the Worksite Financial Wellness platform, a comprehensive offering that provides customized, turnkey financial wellness education, coaching and training resources to retirement plan participants. Worksite Financial Wellness can be used either directly by plan sponsors, or as a third party, integrated resource by plan advisors, third party employee benefits consultants, record keepers and other professionals who support plan sponsors. For more information, please visit www.meritfa.com.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Merit Financial Group, LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Merit Financial Group, LLC, Merit Financial Advisors and Worksite Financial Wellness are separate entities from LPL Financial.
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SOURCE Merit Financial Group