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Survey Predicts Engaging Participants With Customization and Enhanced Mobile Technology

    

HARRISON, NY, November 20, 2013 -- Experts in the U.S. retirement industry have predicted the retirement services industry will significantly improve participant engagement over the next five years. New technologies along with improved plan design and products will drive personalized retirement planning that focuses on participant goals and outcomes suited to the mobile, data-driven worker.

Transamerica Retirement Solutions, a leading provider of customized retirement plan solutions for U.S. organizations, announced today the findings from its "Prescience 2017: Expert Opinions on the Future of Retirement Plans" survey, which measured perspectives from more than 50 industry experts including trade groups, research organizations, consulting firms, academic institutions, financial professionals, investment management firms, service providers, and trade media.

"We have to get America's workforce on a clear course towards retirement readiness. The challenge is that, for many people, retirement timing and feasibility are viewed as being outside their control. Also, challenges with the economy and the employment rate, along with the higher eligibility age for full Social Security benefits, mean more Americans may be forced to work longer, unless they are able to put a personal retirement savings strategy in place and act on it," said Stig Nybo, president of pension sales and distribution, Transamerica Retirement Solutions, and author of "Transform Tomorrow: Awakening the Super Saver in Pursuit of Retirement Readiness."

"The findings of 'Prescience 2017' are encouraging," Nybo continued. "Industry experts expect that the demand from participants to understand their retirement forecast will combine with advances in technology to allow for increased personalization. Retirement plan sponsors and advisors can expect to see a rise in innovative tools that participants need for greater control over their retirement planning."

Customizing the Retirement Planning Experience to Get Workers Ready

More than 88 million Americans rely exclusively on a defined contribution plan. For these individuals, understanding expected retirement income is critical. In response to the heightened demand for tools and resources customized to an individual's retirement readiness, experts predict that by 2017 about half of all retirement plan providers (59 percent) will offer participants a personalized report that tells them how much to save in order to reach a fully funded retirement. Further, 39 percent will have gone as far as to change plan design with the objective of enhancing the retirement readiness of the participant population.

"Effective retirement planning is an intensely personal experience, and we can expect a continued expansion of tools and technology to bring a stronger focus on individual outcomes," said Nevin Adams, director of education and external relations for the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a private, nonprofit research institute that focuses on health, savings, retirement, and economic security issues. "That expansion will take the form of increased customization, such as personal retirement readiness reports sent via mobile apps, a growing emphasis on investment products that can efficiently and effectively convert savings to income in retirement, and expanded retirement transition counseling," Adams added.

Keeping participants informed will be paramount, but that is just the first step towards enhancing participant retirement readiness. The retirement readiness trend will increase the share of plan sponsors who automatically enroll employees to more than 55 percent from 42 percent. Plan sponsors who automatically enroll participants at a deferral rate of six percent of pay or better will grow to 45 percent from 29 percent.

Mobile Technology Will Increase Participant Engagement

The next five years will also see the retirement industry keep pace with advances in mobile technology, with greater use of smartphone technology that further improves the participant experience. Experts predict that all providers will offer websites optimized for mobile operating systems and nearly all retirement plan providers will offer mobile apps with functionality beyond those currently available. This enhanced technology will equip sponsors to prompt participants to act, such as to course-correct their plans in real time or to respond to specific point-and-click response mechanisms regarding their plan contributions or investments.

Adoption of mobile technology will facilitate simpler, faster and more frequent participant communication that will prove more effective at increasing engagement. Experts predict that more than three in four providers will offer mobile games as entertaining learning paths for retirement planning. Retirement plan providers that swiftly adapt to the mobile consumer will gain a clear competitive advantage.

To request a copy of "Prescience 2017: Expert Opinions on the Future of Retirement Plans," email marketinsights@transamerica.com.

About the Survey

Transamerica Retirement Solutions' "Prescience 2017" is the fifth iteration of a modified Delphi Study conducted in the second quarter of 2013. The study examines trends in retirement plans with $25 million to $1 billion in assets. Fifty-five retirement plan experts from 45 organizations across the nation answered the 85-question survey. Transamerica Retirement Solutions chose survey participants based on their positions as thought leaders and experienced professionals in the retirement plans business. Because of their involvement with major industry players, members of this panel are well-suited to foretell high-level trends that will determine the road ahead for the retirement industry. Panel participants represent trade groups, research organizations, consulting firms, academic institutions, financial professionals, investment management firms, service providers, and trade media. The survey participants possess a deep understanding of the retirement plan business and a working knowledge of major markets and providers. The purpose of the study is to present executives responsible for retirement plan management with insights on the industry's future so they can develop and evaluate their organizations' plans and strategies. Prescience explores upcoming trends in regulations, technology, investments, plan design, participant education and communication, for the corporate, not-for-profit healthcare, higher education and the Taft-Hartley market.

About Transamerica Retirement Solutions

Transamerica Retirement Solutions (Transamerica) is a leading provider of customized retirement plan solutions for small to large organizations. Transamerica partners with financial advisors, third party administrators, and consultants to cover the entire spectrum of defined benefit and defined contribution plans, including: 401k and 403(b) (Traditional and Roth); 457; profit sharing; money purchase; cash balance; Taft-Hartley; multiple employer plans; nonqualified deferred compensation; and rollover and Roth IRAs. Transamerica helps more than three million retirement plan participants save and invest wisely to secure their retirement dreams. For more information about Transamerica Retirement Solutions Corporation, please visit trsretire.com.

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