Strategic acquisition provides new tools to help financial advisors quantify the value of employer-sponsored retirement plans
Viability founder, Hugh O’Toole, rejoining MassMutual to lead new offering for financial advisors
ENFIELD, Conn. – MassMutual today announced it has acquired substantially all the assets of Viability Advisory Group as part of a strategy to help financial advisors quantify the value of employee retirement readiness and appropriate benefits plans use to employers’ bottom lines.
Viability has developed a patent-pending analysis program to help companies evaluate the financial costs associated with employees being unprepared for retirement and the loss of productivity attributed to employees’ lack of financial security. As part of the evaluation, the program calculates the hard-dollar cost of inappropriate or under-utilization of retirement savings and other employee benefits programs.
The financial considerations for the acquisition of Viability were not disclosed. Viability was founded by Hugh O’Toole, when he left MassMutual Retirement Services in April 2014 after seven years. As part of the acquisition, O’Toole is rejoining MassMutual to run the Viability business.
“The addition of Viability and its innovative analytical program complement MassMutual’s suite of workplace benefits and retirement readiness guidance tools,” said Elaine Sarsynski, Executive Vice President of MassMutual Retirement Services and Worksite Insurance. “We’re very pleased to welcome Hugh back to MassMutual and in turn be able to offer an invaluable suite of business intelligence tools to financial advisors and employers. No other insurance or financial services firm will be able to match our new capabilities.”
“I am looking forward to rejoining the MassMutual team to grow the Viability offering and help advisors and their business clients generate better outcomes for the employee through their retirement plans and other benefits,” O’Toole said. “I started Viability with a focus on optimizing benefits solutions that drive retirement readiness and financial security for employees. By demonstrating the financial impact of retirement plans and employee wellness to the bottom line for the employer, advisors will be able to help employers make more informed benefits decisions with much better outcomes.”
The Viability suite of tools will be offered to MassMutual retirement plans and worksite insurance clients strictly through financial advisors, according to Eric Wietsma, head of Sales and Distribution for MassMutual Retirement Services. The new offering is designed to enhance retirement advisors’ practices and increase their value to employers.
“We believe it’s necessary for employers to engage a financial advisor when making today’s high-stakes benefits decisions,” Wietsma said. “Viability helps advisors demonstrate the economic value of their insights and guidance to their customers.”
Retirement readiness and financial wellness have become a growing concern of employers, according to Sarsynski. Aging employee populations are more expensive for employers while employees’ personal financial problems are eroding workplace productivity, she said.
Every day, approximately 8,000 Americans reach age 65, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.3 While 65 is the traditional retirement age, eight in 10 workers say they plan to delay retirement, the Employee Benefits Research Institute reports, and one in 10 say they expect to never retire.4
One in four employees say personal financial problems have become a distraction at work, according to a 2014 survey of financial wellness issues conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.1 Money issues have consistently topped Americans’ list of biggest stressors since 2007, the American Psychological Association reports.2
“Employers are realizing that they must proactively help employees plan for their financial futures by making sure their retirement plans and employee benefits are as effective as possible,” Sarsynski said. “With the Viability program, MassMutual will be able to demonstrate just what the impact is to the bottom line, and enable the perfect alignment between employer and employee needs.”
For more information about MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division, please contact your financial professional or call MassMutual at 1-800-874-2502, option 4.
Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. The company has a long history of financial strength and strong performance, and although dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyowners consistently since the 1860s. With whole life insurance as its foundation, MassMutual provides products to help meet the financial needs of clients, such as life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement/401(k) plan services, and annuities. In addition, the company’s strong and growing network of financial professionals helps clients make good financial decisions for the long-term.
MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts and its major affiliates include: Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; The First Mercantile Trust Company; MassMutual International LLC; MML Investors Services, LLC, Member FINRA and SIPC; OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.