Bank of America Merrill Lynch Introduces Experience Enhancements to Address Employees’ Calls for Guidance and Education

October 18, 2018 at 9:00 AM Eastern

Bank of America Merrill Lynch today announced innovations to its retirement client experience to help companies address the wide-ranging financial needs of their employees. The enhancements, which span multiple touch points including online, mobile and one-on-one support, are designed to help meet employees’ growing need for holistic and personalized guidance on their path to financial wellness.

Financial wellness programs deliver tangible benefits for employees and employers alike, which may result in greater employee satisfaction, lower stress and higher productivity, among other benefits, according to Merrill Lynch’s recently released 2018 Workplace Benefits Report.

“We’re dedicated to taking our financial wellness program to the next level through holistic, personalized and relevant education and tools that speak to employees in their language” said Lorna Sabbia, head of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Informed by our proprietary research, coupled with the breadth of educational content from across Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and delivered through customized action plans, intuitive digital and mobile tools, and the assistance of our registered Financial Wellness Specialists, these enhancements advance our mission to meaningfully support employees at every stage of their financial journeys.”

Intended to help meet employees’ evolving needs and preferences for financial wellness, newly launched and upcoming resources include:

  • Enhancements to our Education Center: We have redesigned our Education Center around the seven life priorities – finances, home, health, family, leisure, giving, and work – that our research shows influences employees’ financial goals. The Education Center uses Bank of America’s resources – including Better Money Habits®, available in English and Spanish – to offer tools and comprehensive education on topics that matter most to employees. The relaunch follows the redesign of Merrill Lynch’s Benefits OnLine homepage, which was recently enhanced to provide a simplified and streamlined online experience.
  • Benefits OnLine (BOL)1 mobile app: This enhanced mobile experience features secure and convenient touch and face ID, customized dashboards, market watchlists, the ability to enroll via the app, and more. The app also helps drive positive behaviors by giving employees the ability to act immediately upon receiving a communication or attending an enrollment meeting, for example. Our institutional retirement business uses the Bank of America technology to drive benefit participant engagement to an even higher level.
  • Topic “bundles”: Based on Bank of America’s innovative thought leadership and the guidance of behavioral finance experts, employees have access to information and resources that address the issues they are grappling with – such as student loan debt, caregiving, health savings and women’s unique journey to financial wellness. The topics covered by these bundles, delivered through multiple channels, help create focus and support for employees, and deliver meaningful information on topics that impact employees’ lives.
  • Health savings education: Health savings accounts (HSAs) provide employees an opportunity to save for current and future out-of-pocket health care costs. Our research has shown that employees need help understanding HSA benefits and how powerful a savings vehicle can be when combined with a 401(k) plan. In response, we developed educational content to create awareness, elevate engagement, and demonstrate to employees how the “power of two” – HSAs and 401(k)s – can best be used. In a pilot of the educational content with three companies, HSA adoption increased by an average of 14 percent.
  • Personal Consultation Action Checklist:Merrill Lynch’s national footprint of registered financial wellness specialists and designated financial advisors offer personalized support through in-person seminars, workshops and one-one-one guidance. A new resource, to be completed during a one-on-one consultation, will allow employees to leave the meeting with their financial priorities spelled out and an action plan in hand.

“We are committed to delivering purposeful innovations that help employees live their best financial lives,” said Lisa Margeson, head of Retirement Client Experience and Communications at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “We look forward to continuing to evolve and expand our offerings with an eye towards what employees want most: holistic and relevant experiences that address a wide range of financial priorities, put their personal needs front-and-center and empower them to take action toward goals.”

Merrill Lynch also continues to expand content, educational tools and resources, adding new features to multiple channels based on feedback from clients, including

  • A Family Life Organizer tool for employees to document and organize all of their financial information.
  • A new event registration tool to automate and simplify the invitation and registration process for events and consultations.
  • A video that highlights the financial wellness program and how it can help employees.

As a result of ongoing efforts to design meaningful financial wellness experiences, Bank of America Merrill Lynch continues to see significant growth in employee engagement. This includes a 309 percent year-over-year increase in interactions with the enhanced Retirement Income experience on Benefits OnLine1, as well as more than 180,000 visits2 to its recently introduced Personal Finance Journey digital experience. Additionally, following one-on-one meetings with financial wellness specialists, 25 percent of plan participants took positive financial actions in their plan.

“We are seeing improved engagement with our financial wellness program’s recent enhancements as we actively work to expand our high-tech, high-touch approach with a financial wellness metric and personalized plan with a perspective on next-best actions,” says Margeson. “We are committed to helping our clients pursue a lifetime of financial well-being.”

Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch is a leading provider of comprehensive wealth management and investment services for individuals and businesses globally. With 14,838 financial advisors and $2.4 trillion in client balances as of September 30, 2018, it is among the largest businesses of its kind in the world. Bank of America Corporation, through its subsidiaries, specializes in goals-based wealth management, including planning for retirement, education, legacy, and other life goals through investment, cash and credit management. Within Merrill Lynch, the Private Banking and Investment Group focuses on the unique and personalized needs of wealthy individuals, families and their businesses. These clients are served by approximately 200 highly specialized private wealth advisor teams, along with experts in areas such as investment management, concentrated stock management and intergenerational wealth transfer strategies. Merrill Lynch is part of Bank of America Corporation.

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 67 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 4,400 retail financial centers, approximately 16,100 ATMs, and award-winning digital banking with more than 36 million active users, including nearly 26 million mobile users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is a marketing name for the Retirement Services business of Bank of America Corporation (BofA Corp). Banking activities may be performed by wholly owned banking affiliates of BofA Corp, including Bank of America, N.A. (BANA), member FDIC. Certain associates are registered representatives with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S) – a registered broker-dealer, member SIPC, and wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp – and may assist you with investment products and services outside of Heath Benefit Solutions. MLPF&S does not provide any services for the Bank of America HSA.

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Reporters may contact:

Julia Ehrenfeld, Bank of America
Phone: 1.646.855.3267


1 As of August 2, 2018

2 As of September 30, 2018