BoA moves its 401(k) plan in-houseNews added by Benefits Pro on November 11, 2013

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By Dan Berman

The 401(k) plan that covers Bank of America’s employees will become a family affair in early 2015 when the bank moves its retirement plan to its own Merrill Lynch platform.

The plan, which has 300,000 participants and $19 billion in assets, is currently administered by Fidelity. That institution will still manage Bank of America’s defined benefits plan and transferred savings account defined contribution plan, the bank said. The pension plan of another BofA subsidiary, Countywide, will also be administered by Fidelity.

Bank of America said the move was part of an overall strategy to bring financial services for employees in-house since it took over Merrill Lynch. The old firm’s legacy 401(k) and deferred compensation plans remained under the umbrella. By 2011, Bank of America had moved its health spending accounts and flexible spending accounts to the platform.

The bank said that moving the administration of the 401(k) plan to Merrill, which was purchased in 2008, allows employees to use one website and a single call center to check on all their financial benefits.

Merrill Lynch Retirement and Benefit Plan Services manages 401(k) plans for thousands of companies, including 15 with assets of more than a $1 billion each.

Meanwhile, a jury last month held Bank of America liable for mortgages sold by Countywide. In December, the judge in the case will announce the penalty. The Justice Department is seeking more than $800 million. Bank of America contends the fraud occurred before they took over the mortgage lender in 2008.

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