Corrections or additions?
These stories by Kathleen McGinn Spring and Barbara Fox were
prepared for the March 7, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights
Life in the Fast Lane: Expert Plan
With company-funded pension plans joining lifetime
employment as the stuff of corporate nostalgia, tax sheltered 401(k)
plans have become the cushion employees count on to ensure a
retirement. Access to the plans is taken for granted by employees
of most large companies. Yet, says Win Cody, founder of ExpertPlan,
a firm that offers online 401(k) plan administration, fully 80 percent
of small and mid-sized employers do not have 401(k) plans in place.
The plans are expensive to set up, and expensive to administer, Cody
gives as the reason that so few companies with 5 to 500 employees
offer them. ExpertPlan uses the Internet to cut 401(k) costs and offer
participants round-the-clock access to information on their accounts.
At a time when many Internet-based businesses are finding it difficult
just to keep going, ExpertPlan is closing on its second major round
of funding — $1.7 million from Bridge Partners and other investors
— spreading out in new offices, and working toward a fivefold
increase in employees.
The company started in July, 1999, in 900 square feet in the Trenton
Business and Technology Center. In December it moved into 7,000 square
feet in the Windsor Corporate Park in East Windsor. ExpertPlan has
19 employees, up from 10, and expects to have 100 by the end of the
Separating his company from the dot com crowd, Cody says "we don’t
need to advertise at the Super Bowl." Operating on a
model, the company avoids the mass marketing costs that have sunk
a number of Internet companies. It targets a limited universe of
just banks, insurance companies, brokerage houses, fund companies,
and individual financial planners involved in selling 401(k)s and
similar retirement plans. Cody says it is difficult to determine
how much employers pay for 401(k) set-up and administration because
some of the fees are listed up front and others are included in the
costs of the mutual funds in the plans. As a rule of thumb, however,
he says ExpertPlan cuts the cost about in half.
For a company with 50 employees, ExpertPlan charges $750 to set up
a 401(k) plan and $750 a year to administer it, plus $30 for each
enrolled employee. It does not offer its service directly to companies
or to individuals.
Beyond cost savings, ExpertPlan offers the advantage of real-time
access to 401(k)s. The only contact many employees — even those
at large companies — have with their 401(k)s is a quarterly
Through the Internet, ExpertPlan gives clients’ employees the ability
to check balances, transfer money among funds, revise personal
see a contribution summary, request loans, and more — at any hour
of the day, any day of the year. In the fall the company added access
to plan information by phone or wireless device.
An application service provider (ASP), ExpertPlan keeps its clients’
401(k) plans on its servers. "We do all the record keeping and
administration," Cody says. This frees up financial planners,
allowing them to spend their time advising clients on which mutual
funds or money market funds to include in their 401(k).
Like many other business-to-business Internet companies,
including PayTrust, the Lawrence-based online bill paying company,
ExpertPlan offers its service to some clients as a private label
Brokerage firm Legg Mason Wood Walker, for instance, signed on with
ExpertPlan in October. And while all 1,300 of its affiliated brokers
can sell ExpertPlan 401(k)s to their clients, the clients’ employees
will see "Legg Mason 401k Online" when they log on to check
up on their retirement assets. Other private label clients include
Gruntal & Co. LLC and Round Hill Securities. Cody says ExpertPlan
is close to signing up two more private label clients.
Some clients will forego a private label site, and will choose to
have ExpertPlan be their online 401(k) presence. However, says Cody,
the majority of the company’s revenue is likely to come from private
label clients. He expects ExpertPlan to achieve profitability by the
middle of next year.
The company’s competitors include some mega firms such as Fidelity,
which sells 401(k) plans made up only of its own assets. Cody says
ExpertPlan’s headstart in online 401(k) set up and management is an
advantage. In any case, he says, "401(k)s are a huge
He believes there is room for a number of players.
In addition to 401(k), ExpertPlan sells set up and management of
retirement plans for schools and non-profit organizations and 457
retirement plans for government entities.
Cody, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Class of
1982), holds an MBA from the University of Connecticut. Before
ExpertPlan he was vice president and chief information officer of
the Copeland Companies, the retirement planning division of Citigroup.
A direct descendant of John Winthrop, first governor of the
Bay Colony, he is also related to an ancestor of Buffalo Bill Cody.
He lives in Cranbury, with his wife, Linda, an environmental scientist
who teaches physics at Monroe High School, and their two young
— Kathleen McGinn Spring
Park, Building 400, Suite 100, Cranbury 08512. Winthrop Cody,
609-918-2500; fax, 609-918-1328. Home page: www.expertplan.com.
Another web-based financial platform in the business
to business market has expanded to 40 employees on Lenox Drive.
delivers financial statements and performance reporting to financial
advisors and their clients.
Founded by Lou Orban eight years ago as Fundscape, StatementOne
has developed DOS-based software on an Oracle database. "As
became possible, we migrated to the graphical interface that we use
today, and the maturation of the Internet enabled us to provide
delivery of the product," says Dave Orban, a company spokesperson.
Clients are the broker dealers who provide the software to the
advisors, who use it for managing clients’ investment portfolios and
reporting on those portfolios. "We take daily live data
says Orban. "Every transaction gets put into a massive data base,
so the advisor can do performance reporting on the fly from any
that connects with the Internet, in real time. That access can also
be set up for viewing by the investor."
Current solutions to the problem of getting snapshots of an investor’s
holdings are called screen scrapers or aggregators, Orban says.
difference is that our data feeds are direct feeds from the
sources. A screenscraper has the individual’s password and takes a
static picture of a particular holding at that point in time, but
it has no transactional history."
StatementOne takes the assets transacted through many different
companies, says Orban, to provide a more detailed and indepth picture.
"We give the investment advisor a daily time-weighted rate of
return. The lead lag in the processing information and what actually
shows up in the bank statement is delayed by a significant amount
of time, and we are the only ones doing a daily direct feed. Also,
our data is cumulative and has a year or two year’s worth of
history. And we are maintaining the information in perpetuity."
Currently, says Orban, investors are deluged with as many as a dozen
statements. "This is the first time anyone has been able to look
at the stuff in a consolidated way. And investors can create
of their assets, with some assets allocated for education and some
Gerber went to University of Florida, Class of 1977, and worked at
Merrill Lynch before founding a pension consulting firm that he sold
in 1989. In 1993 he started another pension consulting and performance
reporting firm, Monitor Advisory Services, which premiered Fundscape
the following year.
Among StatementOne’s backers are Allianz and Aetna, and $17 million
in venture capital has been provided by Desai Capital, Boston
Charterhouse International, and Axiom. Among the major accounts are
ING Advisors Network, Long Grove Trading Corporation, and Financial
Service Corporation. "The need in the market is huge," says
Orban. Soon, he predicts, consolidation will be the norm rather than
the exception. "Tracking performance in a timely way enables the
financial advisor to provide a more detailed level of advice with
a much higher probability of success."
08648. Lou Gerber. 609-620-5800; fax, 609-620-5801. Home page:
08852. Parag Pruthi, president and CEO. 732-821-5000; fax,
Home page: www.niksun.com.
08852. 732-821-5000; fax, 732-821-6000.
Niksun Inc. will have a grand opening on Thursday, March 15, for its
expansion to Cornwall Road from 111 North Center Drive. In less than
one year it has doubled its headcount in New Jersey to 100 (157
and now has 15,000 square feet at the two locations. The North Center
Drive facility will be the research site, and administration will
be housed on Cornwall Road. The company recently received $27 million
in second round financing, says Jayne Fitzgerald, vice president of
business development. Niksun does non-intrusive network monitoring,
performance and security enhancement and it provides equipment for
Woodbridge 07095-1408. Stanley Simon, principal. 732-750-4000; fax,
732-750-1290. Home page: www.newmarkre.com.
JGT has merged with Newmark, the third largest realty brokerage in
New York City.
Cedar Brook Corporate Center, Cranbury 08512. Jonathan W. Nyce PhD,
chairman and CEO. 609-409-6080; fax, 609-409-6126. Home page:
EpiGenesis signed a $100 million contract to license its experimental
asthma drug to a company in Tokyo, and it has an ongoing $15 million
deal with a firm in Italy, Chiesi Farmaceutici. The Japanese firm,
Taisho Pharmaceuticals, gets exclusive Asian rights to EPI 2010, which
has just begun U.S. clinical trials. The company focuses on
201, Trenton 08638-9984. Nancy Thomson, executive director.
fax, 609-989-8060. Www.childcareconnection-nj.org
The nonprofit resource agency has moved from Pennington Road. It
recruiting and technical assistance to potential day care providers
and childcare training.
08540. Victor Murray, president. 609-452-0610. Home page:
Victor Murray, the commercial real estate broker, has moved his
six-year-old firm from the Forrestal Center.
08648. Mike Wenczel, president. 609-896-9110; fax, 609-896-9114.
Last month this consulting firm moved from 234 Nassau Street to
Road. Mike Wenczel and Martin Olech do Internet application
08540. Ed Jones, owner. 609-688-9082; fax, 609-688-9084. Home page:
The medical animation firm has moved from Jefferson Plaza. The owner
did not return calls asking for the current address.
Commons, Hamilton Square 08690. 609-291-8600; fax, 609-291-4800.
Airgroup Express, a company that does air shipping for the exhibit
and trade show industry, has outgrown its space in Lexington Square
Commons and moved to 2,000 square feet at 231 Crosswicks Road in
15, 64 Hightstown Road, Suite 228, Princeton Junction 08550.
This business has moved to Nevada. It was the headquarters and
center of a firm specializing in hand-painted cottons, napkins,
and baby bedding.
Road, Mountainside 07092-2301. 908-789-7676. Home page:
The agency moved from Brunswick Pike.
206, Princeton 08540. 617-225-9099; fax, 609-720-9810.
This pharmaceutical services company moved from the Carnegie Executive
Center to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Corporate Plaza, Suite 100, Monmouth Junction 08852. Michelle Edwards,
manager. 732-355-0355; fax, 732-274-0844. Www.aceav.com.
The audio visual firm, billed as the full service audio visual dealer
in the tristate area, closed its Deer Park Drive office and is
from West Caldwell headquarters. It offers sales, service, and rental
for projectors, plasma screens, and videoconferencing systems.
Eileen Conway, executive director. 609-497-2100; fax, 609-683-5674.
Home page: www.ywcaprinceton.org.
Eileen Conway has moved to the position of executive director. She
served in that position on an interim basis for four months. A
of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, she has a master’s
degree from the College of New Jersey and previously worked at the
Visiting Nurse Association of the Delaware Valley.
at IBM in Dayton.
Route 1 North.
Merrill Lynch on Scudders MIll Road.
president of TS Banking at the former Trenton Savings Bank and vice
president of Business Alliance Capital Corp. on Alexander Road.
at the Carnegie Center.
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