Fiserv Inc. and Bankers Systems Inc. struck an alliance to provide IRA account record-keeping, consulting, and service support to banks and brokerages.

Affinity Group Inc., a Denver-based Fiserv subsidiary, and Bankers Systems, St. Cloud, Minn., have begun to offer combined services to their collective clients: 1,550 financial institutions with an aggregate of 550,000 individual retirement accounts. The alliance will be unveiled formally next month.

The two companies will concentrate on self-directed IRAs, in which consumers can invest in a mix of mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and certificates of deposits.

Consumers could move $175 billion into IRAs this year through contributions and roll-overs, according to Access Research, a Windsor, Conn., research firm. The potential net inflow is calculated without consideration of legislation in Congress that would expand IRA tax benefits.

"A lot of banks have neglected the investment in people and technology in IRAs," said Ward Anderson, vice president of Affinity Group. "With the advent of legislative change they could find themselves in noncompetitive positions."

Affinity has primarily been a record keeper and provided customer service for broker-dealers, transfer agents, and trust companies while Bankers Systems assists in compliance and has consulted for banks, thrifts, and credit unions that administer IRAs.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.