In the News

Peg Creonte Discusses the Benefits of 529 Apps

In a recent MONEY article​, Government Savings President Peg Creonte discusses how 529 savings apps, particularly Ascensus’ READYSAVE™ 529, bring a new convenience to college savings. The article specifically delves into Ascensus’ app development process and the underlying behavioral psychology it incorporates to boost saving habits. In Ascensus’ new app, users can check their balance, make contributions, and see their investment allocation with the click of a finger.

“Our assumption is that if people have easier access to their 529, they’ll interact with it more and saving for college will be more front of mind,” Creonte says.

Peg Creonte Highlights The Simplicity and Benefits of the 529 Gifiting Process

In a recent article​, Government Savings President Peg Creonte shares why family and friends might consider giving the gift of education savings this holiday season and explains how Ascensus’ Ugift program makes the 529 gifting process simple and secure. ​

“The beauty of making a gift contribution to a 529 account is that it’s something that can hold long-term value. It’s not a toy, game, or electronic device that a child might otherwise grow out of or lose interest in,” states Creonte. “It’s a truly meaningful gift that demonstrates for that family and beneficiary that you are invested in their long-term success.”​

The article also highlights Ascensus data ​showing growth in 529 gifting contributions, noting that there was a 20% year-over-year increase in total dollars gifted to Ascensus-administered 529 plans as of the end of 2019.​

Ascensus Insights on Employer Match Changes Featured in WSJ

Ascensus’ data on employer changes to retirement plan matching contributions is highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal feature​. The article notes that more employers that had decreased or suspended their match over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic are “reversing course as their businesses rebound.”

“At Ascensus, 21% of the employers that use its 401(k) administration services suspended their 401(k) contributions between March 1 and Sept. 30, and two-thirds of those have since restarted them,” notes the article.

“They are going back to what they had before,” states Pam Sandelin, vice president of insights and analytics at Ascensus. She notes that our data suggests employers “are trying to help employees navigate the uncertainty of Covid” and keep their retirement savings on track.

David Musto Reflects on Leading Through Challenging Times

In a recent Forbes feature​, president and CEO David Musto reflects on his experience leading through complex problems and challenging times, most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic. Musto summarizes his top priorities in the face of the COVID outbreak: shifting associates to remote work; finding ways to engage and communicate with thousands of associates, partners, & clients; addressing a broad variety of cybersecurity risk factors; and more. He also comments on the “profoundly personal” effect that the pandemic has had on people across the globe, and how that has raised the stakes even more in his quest to effectively lead and continue to deliver for Ascensus’ clients.

“Great leadership is about setting a clear direction, being a purveyor of hope and optimism, sustaining trust, and getting results. High functioning leaders are able to do some combination of those things well,” states Musto.

Peg Creonte Discusses Saver Reactions to COVID-Related Market Volatility

Peg Creonte, president of Ascensus’ Government Savings line of business, was featured in a recent New York Times article​ where she commented on 529 savers’ reactions to COVID-related market volatility. She shared that while one-time contributions to 529 plans on our platform had fallen in recent months compared to 2019, scheduled contributions mostly weren’t affected. “We did not see any sort of panicked reaction,” she added.​

Ascensus’ READYSAVE™ App will Aid Participants with Savings Decisions

Following the recent announcement of Ascensus’ new READYSAVE™ mobile app, both PLANADVISER and PLANSPONSOR released articles spotlighting its features. Specifically, the articles highlight the app’s ability to predict the potential consequences of saving decisions as a way to encourage positive savings behaviors. READYSAVE, which will become available this summer, will serve all participating employees across Ascensus’ and its outsourced partners’ 401(k) recordkeeping platforms.

Ascensus Releases Online COVID-19 Resources

PLANADVISER and PLANSPONSOR recently covered Ascensus’ rollout of various COVID-19-specific resources. These resources include a new homepage design, a Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act infographic series, a behavioral analytics series, a Change of Plans guide, and frequent legislative updates. “Advisers and retirement plan sponsors face a dual-edged challenge today: dealing with the life-altering realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and responding thoughtfully to the way that it’s impacting their businesses, retirement plans and participants,” says David Musto, Ascensus’ president and CEO.

How Ascensus’ Plans and Participants Reacted to COVID-19 in March

Recent NAPA and ASPPA articles, citing data provided by Ascensus, discuss the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. employees’ savings behaviors in March. The Ascensus data serves as an “early baseline” for the evolution of contribution and withdrawal behavior in response to the virus. These early insights suggest that many Americans adjusted their contributions to savings plans. However, savers haven’t yet tapped into existing savings and are making efforts to “stay the course” to help ensure financial security.

David Musto Comments on COVID-19’s Impact on Retirement Plans

In a recent BenefitsPRO article, President and CEO David Musto commented on COVID-19’s impact on retirement plans as well as Ascensus’ approach during this time. Musto states that Ascensus is working hard with plan sponsors to help solve any immediate financial needs that may arise while continuing to support their employees’ long-term retirement security goals. “Among the things that we discuss are how plan expenses and company contributions are funded, how plan expenses are allocated, and what plan design alternatives could be explored,” said Musto. “Above all else, we want to help our clients – and small businesses in particular – keep their plans intact for the American workforce.”