Test Alert

Empower Retirement to launch digital wealth management platform to serve mass affluent market

Nation’s second largest retirement provider expands reach to underserved investors

Wealthsimple, Apex join integrated effort to simplify and redefine financial planning experience

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., Nov. 5, 2018 — Empower Retirement today announced plans to launch a digital consumer-focused wealth management platform designed to deliver a robust suite of financial services for new and existing Empower Individual Retirement Account customers and prospective individual investors.

The new platform will offer consumers integrated access to investment advice, financial planning and insurance through a single user experience designed to help optimize the investment of assets, clarify goals and enhance financial planning. Empower will target the new platform to underserved mass affluent investors who may not currently work with a professional advisor as they make crucial personal financial decisions.

“Many Americans have the opportunity to achieve a higher level of financial security by optimizing their personal investing and financial planning strategies,” said Empower Retirement President Edmund F. Murphy III. “We see a significant opportunity to help these investors achieve greater financial security with the help of innovative digital tools and investing expertise.”

People want actionable, easy–to–use digital experiences—and the markets are demanding that every firm provide them, especially in the financial services industry, Murphy said.

“Technology has created a new age of disruption that’s challenging standard modes of serving customers,” he said. “Empower has a legacy of providing cutting edge tools to help participants take action on their retirement plan — and now we’re bringing that kind of innovation to wealth management.”

The new platform will provide a simple and intuitive interface and an integrated managed account and service experience.

Wealthsimple & Apex

Empower will develop the platform in collaboration with Toronto-based Wealthsimple US, Ltd and Dallas-based Apex Clearing Corporation.

“The financial services market is evolving, and there's demand for wealth management solutions centered on individual clients' needs that are available to everyone, regardless of age or net worth,” said Michael Katchen, CEO of Wealthsimple. “This new platform combines the expertise of three firms to offer such a solution to advisors and their clients.”

Wealthsimple brings smart technology and human advisors together to make investing simple and accessible. The company has been recognized for its innovative, intuitive design and user experience. Wealthsimple will work with Empower to build the user experience of the new retail platform.

Recognized as an innovator in its market, Apex will create and manage back office functions for the new platform. Apex provides digital clearing and execution services to the financial industry and serves as the operational “backbone” for hundreds of organizations including some of the fastest growing online brokerage platforms, robo-advisors, financial technology start-ups, and proprietary trading groups.

“We are excited to partner with Empower and Wealthsimple to help increase the range of financial services and investment opportunities available to retirement savers,” said Bill Capuzzi, CEO of Apex Clearing. “The future of digital wealth management will be shaped by the democratizing power of technology and the seamless integration of financial disciplines to deliver a robust and efficient online client experience, all of which are hallmarks of this new solution.”

Murphy pointed to the interplay of technology and human advisors as crucial to modern wealth management, highlighting all three firms’ focus on digital solutions to promote financial security.

Recent survey results published by the Empower Institute show that savers who work with an advisor have a significant advantage in projected income replacement versus those who do not. Respondents using a traditional or online advisor have income replacement rates of 116 percent, on average, versus 58 percent for those with no advisor -- a 100 percent improvement.1

“Ours is an advisor-centric model,” said Murphy. “An advisor’s expertise can help investors stay focused on the long term and keep their portfolios on a disciplined course. Empower is here to help those who may not be accessing professional advice on their own.”

Empower, with approximately $570 billion in assets under administration and 8.7 million participants in 38,000 employer-sponsored retirement plans,2 is the nation’s second largest retirement plan provider.3 Integrated financial technology tools have been the hallmark of Empower’s highly successful retirement plan solutions since the firm’s inception in 2014.

About Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple is a financial company that provides financial advice and services that are accessible, affordable, and human. Wealthsimple provides services in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. The company was founded by a team of financial experts and technology entrepreneurs, and is backed by the Power Financial group of companies. Power Financial Corporation (TSX: PWF) is a diversified management and holding company that has interests, directly or indirectly, in companies in the financial services sector in Canada, the United States and Europe. To learn more, visit www.wealthsimple.com.

About Apex

Apex Clearing is a custody and clearing engine that’s powering the future of digital wealth management. As a clearing firm, Apex delivers speed, efficiency and flexibility to firms ranging from innovative start-ups to blue-chip brands that choose to grow with us. Apex's fully-integrated, customized solutions allow registered investment advisors (RIAs), digital advisors, fintech firms, broker dealers and full-service firms to provide the seamless digital experiences consumers expect and to reach more investors and serve them profitably. Founded in 2012 and based in Dallas – with offices in New York City, Chicago and Portland, Oregon – Apex Clearing Corporation is registered with the SEC, a member of FINRA, and a participant in SIPC. For more information, visit www.apexclearing.com.

About Empower Retirement

Headquartered in metro Denver, Empower Retirement administers approximately $570 billion in assets for 8.7 million retirement plan participants. It is the nation’s second-largest retirement plan record keeper by total participants (Pensions & Investments, April 2018). Empower serves all segments of the employer-sponsored retirement plan market: government 457 plans, small, midsize, and large corporate 401(k) clients, non-profit 403(b) entities, private-label recordkeeping clients and Individual Retirement Account customers. For more information, please visit www.Empower-retirement.com.

Media Contact:

Stephen Gawlik — 303-737-0899 (office), 617-417-4408 (cell)

Monica Mendoza — 303.737.2626 (office), 719-373-2460 (cell)

Learn More:

To learn more about how we’re empowering plan sponsors and their participants to be more engaged in their retirement plans than ever before, call us at 800-719-9914.

1 “Scoring the Progress of Retirement Savers,” The Empower Institute, April, 2018

2 As of Sept. 30, 2018, information refers to all retirement business of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates, including Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York, marketed under the Empower Retirement brand.

3 Information refers to all retirement business of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates, including Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York, marketed under the Empower Retirement brand. Ranking based on total participant accounts as of April 2018. Source: Pensions & Investments, April 2018

Great-West Financial®, Empower Retirement and Great-West Investments are the marketing names of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, Corporate Headquarters: Greenwood Village, CO; Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York, Home Office: New York, NY, and their subsidiaries and affiliates, including registered investment advisers Advised Assets Group, LLC and Great-West Capital Management, LLC.

Securities available through Empower Brokerage are offered by GWFS Equities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC and a subsidiary of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company. Clearing, settlement, custody and other brokerage services are provided by Pershing LLC, Member FINRA/NYSE/SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. Additional information may be obtained by calling 877-788-6261. GWFS and Pershing are separate and unaffiliated brokerage firms. Accounts are subject to review and approval of GWFS. The Empower Institute is brought to you by Empower Retirement to critically examine investment theories, retirement strategies and assumptions. It suggests theories and changes for achieving better outcomes for employers, institutions, financial advisors and individual investors. Wealthsimple and Apex are not affiliated with GWFS Equities, Inc. or its parent company, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company. AM 646103 1018