arly next quarter T. Rowe Price is planning to add a feature to its website to allow participants to activate their account through the web. Now participants must make a phone call, Steve Sanchez, assistant vice president and manager of communications and product development told our sister site, The 401KWire.com.
This new feature will simplify the activation process all around. For example, some participants now get their payroll stuffer asking them to take advantage of the plan, they then go to the web-site only to discover that they need to make a call activate their account, Sanchez explained. This new feature will enable them to activate their account in one step.
These changes come as T. Rowe Price rolls out a website for plan sponsors that it launched at the end of last year. The sponsor site is password protected and links off of T. Rowe Price's Retirement Plan Services website named @ Work
T. Rowe Price had approximately 600% growth in participants using @ Work last year. Fully 97% of their 900 plan sponsor clients have now rolled-out the participant version, said Sanchez. Altogether, T. Rowe has approximately 1 million participants. Already roughly 200 plan sponsors have access to the sponsor side of the @ Work site, which is still in the rollout phase.
Sanchez explained that sponsors can look up data either at the participant level, or they can see plan level summary data. The plan level data can be segmented by key criteria such as eligibility.
The site is intended as a one stop for plan sponsors. The goal of the site is to provide tools for sponsors to make informed decisions. "We want to provide access, control, and convenience," said Sanchez. He added that the website is "something that they [sponsors] are asking for."
The site also includes legislative updates for plan sponsors, information about product enhancements in T. Rowe's program so sponsors "can understand what they can take advantage of."
The Baltimore-based fund company has had other dial-in tools for plan sponsors since as early as 1995. It was to some of these clients that it first rolled out the site. It also targeted some of its smaller plans, and plans that were using the Internet.
Recent changes to their participant site include a feature that lets participants view their account history over a time frame that they set. Thus, participants can choose to see transactions over 7, 10, 30, or 90 day periods, for example.
They can also sort and filter the data by source of the money (pre-tax, after-tax, etc.) or by fund.
T. Rowe Price first opened a website for 401(k) plan participants in January of 1997. The participant site is open to the public except for plan participant account information which is password protected. This portion of the site was last redesigned by T. Rowe in September of last year.
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