Edelman Financial Engines announced the launch of a new holistic financial wellness platform for the workplace called Momentum.
Retirement Readiness, which has, for several years, been the flagship workplace offering from Edelman Financial Engines (and which is already used by more than 10 million employees around the U.S.) will both continue to be available as a standalone offering to employers and will also now form the first of four distinct—yet cohesive—solutions within the new Momentum platform.
The new platform, the formal name of which is Momentum by Edelman Financial Engines, is composed of the Retirement Readiness, Life’s Financial Moments, Everyday Wealth and Wellness and Diverse Employee Needs offerings.
This new platform is meant to serve as a bridge across Edelman Financial Engine’s 401(k) managed accounts and investment advisory services with a suite of capabilities to help employees with their broader financial wellness needs, according to Jason Van de Loo, Edelman’s head of Wealth Planning and Marketing.
To support this, Edelman Financial Engines has 350 planners all licensed with CFP or CRPC designations and another 300 client service professionals. Edelman also has more than 140 offices around the country.
The first component of Momentum, Retirement Readiness, is an existing set of 401(k) in-plan advisory services, which includes digital advice and discretionary 401(k) professional management as well as access to human advisors. Also within Retirement Readiness is access to the firm’s new retirement income service, Income Beyond Retirement, introduced in June.
Within the second part of Momentum, Life’s Financial Moments, is specialized guidance around a plan member’s key financial moments, such as when they have been hired and are being onboarded or other personal and professional life milestones, be they family changes, promotions, equity grants or entering retirement.
Everyday Wealth and Wellness is the third part of the platform and provides ongoing support for the more everyday aspects of life, including financial questions like budgeting and saving and debt management, as well as advanced planning assistance.
Finally, Diverse Employee Needs is meant to address concerns across demographic groups, and would include webinars for employee resource groups as well as counseling support.
While Retirement Readiness is still available on its own, the other three components are not intended to be available on an à la carte basis.
In a nutshell, Momentum is a mix of digital tools, targeted communications and information as well as access to advisors; all of it aimed at creating a more personalized experience for employees.
“It’s clear that (the) workplace is the new ground zero for retirement investing, and arguably, for investing more generally,” said William Trout, director of wealth management at Javelin Strategy & Research, in discussing the announcement.
He suggested what Edelman Financial Engines has built with Momentum was reminiscent of how Morgan Stanley evolved its own workplace offerings.
“They [Edelman Financial Engines] are setting up a big acquisition funnel that leads to a full-service advice relationship,” he said of the new platform, noting it is already clear employees are increasingly looking to their employers for support in retirement planning, but with a difference from the past.
“These employees tend to be a couple decades younger than the typical high-net-worth client and more receptive to a long-term advice proposition, particularly one built on digital tools,” said Trout.
Once these younger employees are in the funnel, the available tools and stream of information and guidance—if deemed timely, useful and personalized—should help to build trust and credibility, he said.
Edelman Financial Engines currently works with 10 million people on its workplace side and the firm has 1.3 million clients enrolled in its managed wealth offering; total assets under management are $275 billion as of the end of March.