INNOVATIONS

Raising the bar to help drive actions

What makes our Financial Life Benefits® especially powerful is that it delivers personalized guidance through a unique high-tech, high-touch approach that helps financial wellness feel more approachable, relevant and attainable to all employees, no matter where they are on their financial journeys, and as their needs change over time.

This approach includes engaging, interactive experiences designed to involve employees in overcoming their own inertia by helping them break down bigger goals into practical steps so that it’s easier for them to integrate good financial habits into their everyday lives. Here are a few examples of the personalized and meaningful employee experiences we are creating to help drive deeper engagement and actions.


Erica® on Benefits OnLine®

Today, employees who have multiple accounts across Bank of America and Merrill enjoy an integrated online experience on the Bank of America app. They can also get assistance across their accounts through Erica®, Bank of America’s virtual financial assistant, including limited support for retirement and investment accounts. But, beginning in the spring, all employees will be able to access Erica® on the Benefits OnLine® app with ongoing expanded capabilities. The initial experience will feature:

  • One-on-one assistance to help employees understand their financial picture and take action.
  • Erica can answer questions and respond to requests such as:
    • “I want to transfer money,”
    • “How are my investments performing?”
    • “What is my contribution rate?”
    • “I’d like to update my beneficiary,” and more.
  • Voice-enabled technology to help simplify the user experience.
  • Enhanced search functionality to easily navigate features within the app.

Artificial intelligence (AI) helps guide employees on their financial journeys

In addition to Erica, AI-driven capabilities will enable more proactive and targeted outreach, with personalized online messaging engaging employees in the moment and connecting them to relevant resources to help them take next steps, and to consider actions they may not have thought about. Throughout 2022 and beyond, we will continue to enhance AI experiences, turning insights into highly individualized experiences that resonate in context of each employee’s life and goals. We’ll also use AI to enhance the Financial Wellness Tracker experience.


Guidance for managing income in retirement

Personal Retirement Strategy (PRS) is a digital investment advisory program that considers employees’ full financial picture to create a personalized retirement income plan aligned with their individual situation and goals. Designed as a user-friendly interactive experience, PRS helps engage employees in planning for their futures. Watch the video to learn more.

PRS will become an even more powerful tool this year with the introduction of a Retirement Paycheck feature—which can help participants with one of the most difficult financial decisions: How much retirement income can I generate, and how do I distribute it? Retirement Paycheck offers:

  • The convenience of an automatic “paycheck” deposited in the participant’s choice of bank accounts.
  • Help with planning for income in retirement.
  • Ongoing tracking and alerts to keep participants engaged and on track with their retirement income.
  • Considers:
    — Required minimum distribution (RMD)
    — Social Security
    — Other income sources
    — Federal and state taxes

Personal Retirement Strategy is an online investment advisory program sponsored by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. (“MLPF&S” or “Merrill”) that uses a probabilistic approach to determine the likelihood that participants in the program will accumulate sufficient total assets to achieve their annual retirement income goal. The recommendations provided by Personal Retirement Strategy may include a higher level of investment risk than a participant may be personally comfortable with. Participants are strongly advised to consider their personal goals, overall risk tolerance, and retirement horizon before accepting any recommendations made by Personal Retirement Strategy. Participants should carefully review the explanation of the methodology used, including key assumptions and limitations, as well as a description of services and related fees which is provided in the Personal Retirement Strategy Brochure (ADV Part 2A). It can be obtained through Benefits OnLine® or through the Retirement Benefits Contact Center.

Merrill offers a broad range of brokerage, investment advisory and other services. There are important differences between brokerage and investment advisory services, including the type of advice and assistance provided, the fees charged, and the rights and obligations of the parties. It is important to understand the differences, particularly when determining which service or services to select.

IMPORTANT: The projections or other information shown in the Personal Retirement Strategy program regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. Results may vary with each use and over time.


Digital expansion helps employees manage their financial lives online

We are redesigning the Benefits OnLine® (BOL) app experience to improve visual aesthetics and usability, including enhanced charts and graphs. In addition, the BOL app will offer more ways for employees to connect to resources right from their smartphones.

And we’ll continue to enhance the integration experiences available through the Bank of America app. Through the Bank of America app employees can easily and seamlessly manage their full financial lives—banking,1 workplace benefits1,2 and investments2—all in one place. They can make deposits and transfer money, view their credit card balances, see their mortgages, manage their retirement accounts and more.

We’re excited to see the impact of our digital engagement as reported in a new industry-wide study where the Bank of America website and online capabilities are rated #1 by defined contribution (DC) plan participants.3


More digital highlights for you

We are also expanding reports and enhancing processes to help support you and the important work you do. Our goal is to help simplify everyday tasks and provide data and insights to inform strategies that can help your employees live better financially.

To learn more, download our Innovation Roadmap, talk with your Bank of America representative and watch for updates on enhancements and new solutions throughout the year.

1 Bank products are available from Bank of America, N.A., and affiliated banks.

2 Investment products are available from Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated.

3 Cogent Syndicated DC Participant Planscape™ study methodology: Cogent Syndicated, a division of Escalent, conducted an online survey of a representative cross section of 4,044 DC plan participants from May 18 to June 13, 2021. Survey participants were required to be 18 years or older and contribute at least 1% to a current plan and/or have $5,000 or more in at least one former plan. Targets were set to investor gender, region, age, education and household income using U.S. census data filtered by the screening criteria (a market-sizing flyover survey was used in order to filter the U.S. census data). The data have a margin of error of ±1.54% at the 95% confidence level.

Screen shots are for illustrative purposes only. Any new products, services or enhancements are subject to change based solely on Bank of America decision, including not proceeding with a planned offering.