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Online Provider of Small Business 401(k)s Launches New Platform for RIAs

ShareBuilder 401k PRO Empowers RIAs to Generate 401(k) Proposals Online in Seconds and Helps Clients to Set-Up 401(k) Plans in Minutes

SEATTLE — ShareBuilder 401k, a leading provider of 401(k) plans for small businesses 1-250 employees in size, today announced a new offering that makes it simple for Registered Investment Advisors to deliver a leading-edge 401(k) plan to their business clients. This new platform paired with ShareBuilder 401k’s all-ETF approach, makes this a truly unique and powerful program for advisors to support their clients.

The new service, called ShareBuilder 401k PRO, takes what can be a long-and-drawn-out process for RIAs and reduces it to just a few minutes online. Here’s how it works: RIAs log into the ShareBuilder 401kPRO web site, type in their client’s information and, in about 30 seconds they have a professionally designed proposal they can email or print and provide in person. The proposal outlines the details and costs for a 401(k) plan. The proposals can include one or more scenarios and, upon receipt, enable clients to quickly adjust to their business needs and purchase in a matter of minutes. The site also gives RIAs access to an array of collateral pieces that allow the RIAs to educate their clients on everything from plans, funds and services to important features like Roth, auto-enrollment and Safe Harbor. As a way of providing a first hand look at the new product, ShareBuilder 401k will host a free webinar on August 14, 2009 at 9am PST/12pm EST. Advisors interested in this event can visit to register. There is no cost for advisors to join the ShareBuilder 401k program.

In pre-launch demonstrations, the product has been well-received by RIAs across the country including Scott McCrossin, president, SFM Financial Planning LLC in Stamford, Conn.. “This product aligns perfectly with my business,” said McCrossin. “It allows me to deliver a smart and easy-to-use 401(k) plan for my clients who own small businesses while, at the same time, keeping the emphasis on my role as their advisor,” he continued. “Having the ability to incorporate my firm’s brand identity into all of the touch-points a client will interact with — from the initial proposal to printed training materials to the online interface — ensures a seamless delivery of information that reinforces my role as their investment advisor. This is critical as, at the end of the day, they’re putting their trust in me.”

McCrossin also believes that ShareBuilder 401k’s strategy of offering passively managed accounts that rely on ETFs is a better approach to actively-managed offerings on the market. In fact, McCrossin only uses passively managed funds in his client’s portfolios. Index funds like ETFs typically have very low expense ratios vs. actively managed mutual funds, which have made them tough to beat.

Online training presentations, guides and videos are also available to help employees at each company to learn how to set-up and invest in their individual accounts. From start to finish, the entire process is online and paper-free.

“Our goal is to make it simple for RIAs to offer, and for their clients to have a great 401(k) plan for their business,” said Stuart Robertson, general manager of ShareBuilder Advisors, LLC, a subsidiary of ING Direct that operates ShareBuilder 401k. “The easier we can make it for an RIA to handle a client’s business as well as personal finances, the stronger position they’ll be in to grow and retain their accounts.”

Unlike traditional 401(k) plans that rely primarily on mutual fund offerings, ShareBuilder 401k plans are built with 100 percent exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The investment offering consists of a preset line-up of 16 ETFs from popular funds offerings like a S&P 500 ETF to important fixed asset categories like treasury inflation protected securities (TIPs) not common today in most plans. ShareBuilder 401k also provides five model portfolios to help make it easy for participants to get off on the right foot. ShareBuilder 401k believes that ETFs are a better investment tool for 401(k) plans as they offer diversification, lower expenses and leverage the historically-stronger performance of indexing versus actively-managed mutual funds. As ShareBuilder 401k is not a fund provider, it is unbiased in the evaluation and selection of funds from the leading ETF providers such as iShares, StateStreet and PowerShares to create a great line-up from which participants can choose.

All ShareBuilder 401k products offer the latest features including auto-enrollment, auto-re-balancing, Roth, signature-ready 5500s and much more. The plans are typically priced less to start up and administer than traditional providers. Additionally, each plan is fully-supported with access to customer success managers, implementation specialists and customer care for each participant.

About ShareBuilder 401k

ShareBuilder401k provides easy, affordable and smart 401(k) retirement plans for small businesses, ranging from the self-employed to those with 250 employees. ShareBuilder 401(k) is a leader in providing 100 percent index-based ETF investments (plus a money market) in 401(k) plans. ShareBuilder 401k offers a suite of on-demand services that make it simple for employers and employees to open and manage their retirement plans online at Advisors can easily resell ShareBuilder 401k and take advantage of the PRO platform to generate proposals at ShareBuilder 401k plans provide market-efficient investments and model portfolios that make it easy for employees to select the smart investments to help them get on track to meet their retirement goals. Customers can also take advantage of ShareBuilder 401k Consultants, Customer Success Managers, and Customer Care Agents to receive assistance in choosing and managing their retirement benefits.

Media Contact
Dan Branley, Launch Communications

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