Principal Financial Group, an investment management company, has partnered with Liazon Corp.’s Bright Choices as the first private exchange access point for employer-sponsored group benefit plans. Liazon operates a private benefits exchange for businesses.

Through this exchange — whereby an employer can choose how much to spend each year on benefits, and then each employee determines how to spend his share of the money — Principal will offer all ancillary group benefits, including, dental, life insurance, disability insurance and critical illness.

Small- to medium-sized business owners need choices and flexibility to manage their benefit programs, Principal said. The partnership expands relationships with employers looking for flexible benefit options. Private exchanges can help employers manage costs by setting predictable budgets through a defined contribution funding strategy. The employee can use the allocated funds to select benefits aligned with his personal priorities.

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