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NARPP Teams Up With a RKer

A San Fransico-based trade group connected to the retirement plan industry just launched its newest solution to the retirement plan coverage gap.

The National Association of Retirement Plan Participants (NARPP) started pre-registration for a program called Icon this month. Set up as a payroll deduction IRA, Icon is intended to reach the 55 million working Americans who currently don't have access to a 401(k) plan due to small company sizes or independent contractor status.

NARPP has partnered with Aspire, which will be Icon's recordkeeper.

"Aspire has been a great partner with us," president of NARPP, Laurie Rowlings, tells 401kWire. "I've been in the industry for a couple decades now and its great to work with people who want to push the boundaries. They really walk the walk, not just talk the talk."

Gig platform workers can also use Icon, according to Rowlings. In an email to 401kWire she writes, "Gig platform providers can use Icon as a pay deferral without triggering issues of employment status or ERISA. We are in talks with a large platform provider here in the Bay Area about integrating Icon at their gig workers pay level so that it feels more like a traditional benefit."

Participants will have access to institutionally priced funds. Icon will include investment option from Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) and State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), including TDFs provided by SSGA.

"State Street and Dimensional Fund Advisors really stepped up and have given us probably the best priced investment options available," Rowlings tells 401kWire.

Costs to individuals in the program are limited to a five dollar monthly fee that covers recordkeeping, custodial service, customer support, and educational materials.

"We've seen a lot interest from small business owners who want or need to provide retirement plans to employees but don't want all the complexity around having a 401(k) plan," Rowlings explains to 401kWire. "The second area of interest is employment agencies who source contractors to larger companies. These companies have trouble offering tradition 401(k) plans to employees. Especially here in the Bay Area we have a lot of tech companies hiring people that fill what you would think of as traditional employment positions, but they're independent contractors."

NARPP, a network made up of employers, currently has over 1,000 members. The organization supports members with access to its tools and planning resources, as well as offering access to NARPP studies.

"The thing that's really attractive to employers is that Icon isn't just an IRA, it's an entire retirement platform," says Rowlings. "It's a high quality plan with some of the lowest costs in the country, and Icon is like a mentor."

Although pre-registration is open, participants will have to wait until January to start investing.

Credit: 401kWire

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