Plan Sponsors Embrace Providing LifePath Paycheck™ Solution to Their Participants
NEW YORK, October 06, 2021–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BlackRock today announced significant progress toward helping more U.S. workers improve their financial security and access guaranteed lifetime income through workplace retirement plans. Five large plan sponsors whose plans together represent over $7.5 billion in target date investments, including Tennessee Valley Authority Retirement System (TVARS), have elected to work with BlackRock to implement its LifePath PaycheckTM solution as the default investment option in their employees’ retirement plans, subject to plan-specific timing and other implementation considerations. With initial plan adoptions expected in 2022, this action will provide the option and opportunity for over 120,000 U.S.-based 401(k) plan participants to obtain a guaranteed income stream in retirement.
“As Americans are living longer and healthier lives, their risk of outliving their savings is accelerating the ‘silent crisis’ of financial insecurity in retirement. By addressing spending and income in retirement, we’re working alongside our clients and partners to help more people address these challenges.” said Mark McCombe, Chief Client Officer, BlackRock.
For decades, the financial industry has focused on educating workers to save more, as employer-managed defined benefit plans have given way to participant-directed defined contribution plans. Increasingly, U.S. workers with access to a 401(k) plan say they are unsure about how to manage their savings in retirement – a challenge that plan sponsors are eager to solve[i]. The LifePath Paycheck solution takes an innovative approach to lifetime retirement income by embedding annuity contracts issued by Equitable[ii] and Brighthouse Financial[iii] directly into a target date strategy[iv]. When a participant reaches age 59 ½, the LifePath Paycheck solution offers the participant the option to purchase fixed individual retirement annuities from the insurers, that will provide a guaranteed stream of income for life.
Alongside plan sponsors, the investment consultant and plan advisor community has long acknowledged the need for solutions that assist participants through retirement. Following extensive due diligence on the retirement income landscape and offerings, firms such as Aon, Willis Towers Watson, Lockton, and Compass Financial Partners, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, among others, have been supportive of retirement income solutions.
“People are more reliant on their defined contribution savings than ever before,” said Greg Fox, Head of U.S. DC Retirement Income Solutions, Aon. “In response to this, many employers are looking for ways to transform their plans to not only help employees save and invest for retirement, but also help them thoughtfully and effectively spend down their savings as they transition into retirement.”
Many firms in the recordkeeping community, including Voya Financial and Empower Retirement, among others, continue to support the opportunities for individuals to be able to obtain a guaranteed income stream in retirement. Jeff Cimini, SVP, Retirement Product Management at Voya, added, “The demand for retirement income solutions has been building for some time. Our research at Voya has found 90% of individuals think having a guaranteed source of income in retirement so they don’t outlive their savings is important or extremely important.[v] At Voya, we’re pleased the industry remains focused on providing innovative solutions that can help individuals create a secure financial future, and we look forward to working with BlackRock to progress LifePath Paycheck.”
Since pioneering the first target date fund in 1993, BlackRock has a long history of innovating to help millions of people world-wide improve retirement readiness, a need that is increasingly acute in the current environment. Added Anne Ackerley, Head of the Retirement Group, BlackRock, “As we look past the pandemic, with all eyes on recovery, it’s time for the entire retirement ecosystem to come together and address how we can build a more financially secure American workforce for the future.”
The LifePath Paycheck™ (LPP) solution is subject to insurance regulatory approvals, finalization of commercial agreements, and plan sponsor adoption and implementation. The LPP solution will initially only be available to U.S. employer-sponsored defined contribution plans qualified under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (“IRC”) and may thereafter be available to other investor types, such as governmental plans qualified under Section 457(b) of the IRC, that have each entered into an investment management agreement with BlackRock, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
i 2021 BlackRock DC Pulse Survey
ii Equitable refers specifically to Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company. Guarantees provided within annuities are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing life insurance company.
iii Brighthouse Financial refers to Brighthouse Life Insurance Company, Charlotte, NC and Brighthouse Life Insurance Company of NY, New York, NY.
iv Participation by Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (Equitable Financial) (NY, NY) and Brighthouse Financial in delivering BlackRock’s investment solution is subject to certain approvals, including regulatory approval of their respective annuity products.
v Voya Financial survey conducted June 3-4, 2021, on the Ipsos eNation omnibus online platform among 1,005 adults, aged 18+ in the U.S.
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