Service Provider Ascensus Perfectly Positioned for This 401k Trend

Who'd have thought?

College planning leads to good places for the company.College planning leads to good places for the company.

Right place, right time. Ascensus, the nation’s largest independent 401k and college savings service provider, had a hectic 2016, and 2017 is shaping up to be just as busy.

The company, which is proud of its organic growth with existing clients, is nonetheless on an acquisition spree, including Matthews Benefit Group in December and Retirement Educators, Inc. in November.

It grew to 1,700 employees nationwide, spearheaded six “significant, technology-focused innovations,” and released 11 industry and thought-leadership announcements, including a new HSA-focused partnership with Devenir.

“We see a great opportunity to grow through new outsourcing deals, but also through acquisitions,” says Bob Guillocheau, CEO and president of Ascensus. “We’re always willing to talk, and if it’s a strategic and cultural fit, we’re more than happy to do business.”

Speaking of opportunity, the company recently hit upon something big. Having previously worked with state governments on the 529 college planning portion of its business—and having the infrastructure in place—it is now in a prime position to capitalize on the trend toward state-sponsored 401ks.

It’s already paying off; in December, the Oregon Retirement Savings Plan, which claims to be the first state-run 401k plan, approved an “intent to award the contract” to the service-provider giant.

“Oregon is the first of many, many states to go down that path,” Guillocheau explains. “There is no question that society needs some sort of government-sponsored plan. Despite everyone’s best efforts, adoption rates of 401ks and similar retirement plans are not where they need to be.”

In an added bonus for Ascensus, it’s mandatory; Oregon employers who don’t already offer plans must sign up and enroll their employees (who can then opt out).

Tech will also be (and is currently) a major focus for the company this year. Last week, it launched a new, redesigned www.ascensus.com.

“As we head into 2017 and continue to grow our organization, it’s imperative that we maintain our focus on the value that we provide to our clients in helping them save for retirement, college, and health care,” Guillocheau notes. “We listened hard to what our clients were asking of us with our upcoming digital initiatives—the new solutions are truly being built with our clients in mind.”

The new corporate website highlights the company’s retirement, college, and health savings account services while helping partners and clients connect with Ascensus’ team of experts to assist with all of their needs.

Key features include a new web-based newsroom where site visitors can find the latest in Ascensus company news, thought leadership, and savings industry regulatory updates; an optimized user experience, allowing site visitors to self-identify and then see all products, services, and savings plan information available to them; and a login portal for current clients.

Ascensus will also roll out redesigned retirement plan and participant websites at the close of the first quarter.

“The new Ascensus.com is just the first in a series of enhancements that we’re excited to provide to both current and prospective clients,” Guillocheau concludes. “All of us at Ascensus are looking forward to what we plan to accomplish in 2017 as our company continues to grow.”

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