Robo 401(k) providers are still open to crypto options
Among fintech 401(k) providers, ForUsAll has been the loudest proponent of crypto, making a name for itself as the first to offer the investments within the self-directed brokerage windows of retirement plans. But other digital 401(k) providers are open to offering the investments despite warnings from regulators on the emerging and highly speculative asset class.
Ubiquity Retirement + Savings, for example, does not offer cryptocurrency in its 401(k) plans because none of the 3(38) investment managers with whom it partners are pushing for the asset class. If its 3(38) investment managers were to ask for cryptocurrency, however, Ubiquity would accommodate their request.
If they had a “strong belief” in wanting the asset class and had educated participants around cryptocurrency, “Ubiquity would support it from a trading and record-keeping standpoint,” said Chad Parks, the founder and CEO of the San Francisco-based company.
“As a record keeper, we are neutral on whether to have crypto as an asset class in a retirement account or not,” he said.
Vestwell Holdings Inc., meanwhile, is evaluating its options. “We are monitoring the evolving legislation around cryptocurrency and will continue to evaluate available options for savers on our platform,” Vestwell CEO Aaron Schumm said in a statement. Mr. Schumm noted that in a survey of 500 retirement plan advisers in the summer of 2021, more than 2 out of 5 advisers (41%) said they believed participants were interested in incorporating a cryptocurrency strategy into their retirement savings plans.
Betterment at Work, the retirement plan services business of digital investment advisory provider Betterment LLC, is also monitoring the situation. While it does not currently offer crypto options in its 401(k) plans, it reviews investments on an ongoing basis to ensure that it has selected options suitable for participants’ desired investing objectives, Betterment said in a statement.
“As crypto markets and the regulatory environment around retirement plans evolve, Betterment will re-evaluate the suitability of crypto investments within retirement accounts,” it said.
Betterment does, however, have a new cryptocurrency offering for retail investors, which 401(k) participants can access outside their retirement plan by opening a separate retail investing account. The new offering, called Crypto Investing by Betterment, launched in October and consists of four crypto portfolios.
“Betterment does believe in investor choice,” the company said in the statement.
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