Robo 401(k) providers are still open to crypto options

Among fintech 401(k) providers, ForUsAll has been the most vocal proponent of cryptocurrency, making a name for itself as the first to offer investments within self-directed retirement plan brokerage frameworks. But other digital 401(k) providers are open to offering investments despite regulators’ warnings about the new and highly speculative asset class.

Ubiquity Retirement + Savings, for example, does not offer cryptocurrencies in its 401(k) plans because none of the 3(38) investment managers it partners with advocates for the asset class. However, if its 3(38) investment managers requested cryptocurrency, Ubiquity would grant their request.

If they had a “strong belief” that they wanted an asset class and had educated participants about cryptocurrency, “Ubiquity would support it from a trading and record-keeping standpoint,” said Chad Parks, founder and CEO of the San Francisco-based company. .

“As a record holder, we are neutral on whether we will have crypto as an asset class in a retirement account or not,” he said.

Vestwell Holdings Inc., meanwhile, is evaluating its options. “We are following developments in cryptocurrency legislation and will continue to evaluate the available options for depositors on our platform,” Vestwell CEO Aaron Schumm said in a statement. Mr. Schumm noted that in a summer 2021 survey of 500 retirement plan advisors, more than 2 in 5 advisors (41%) said they believed participants were interested in incorporating a cryptocurrency strategy into their retirement savings plans.

Betterment at Work, the retirement plan services company of digital investment advisory services provider Betterment LLC, is also monitoring the situation. While it does not currently offer crypto options in its 401(k) plans, it continually reviews investments to ensure it has selected options appropriate for participants’ desired investment goals, Betterment said in a statement.

“As crypto markets and the regulatory environment around retirement plans evolve, Betterment will reevaluate the suitability of crypto investments within retirement accounts,” it said.

Betterment, however, has a new cryptocurrency offering for retail investors, which 401(k) participants can access outside of their retirement plan by opening a separate retail investment account. The new offering, called Crypto Investing by Betterment, launched in October and consists of four crypto portfolios.

“Betterment believes in investor choice,” the company said in a statement.

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