Our History

Since its inception, Empower Retirement has been guided by a vision to revolutionize workplace retirement savings. We believe people deserve better than a one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why we take a collaborative approach to retirement savings that’s driven by personalization, simplification and exceptional service. And we’re committed to constantly improving this approach — by holding ourselves accountable and leading the way through innovation — so we can deliver the results our clients deserve.

The genesis of Empower dates back to 1891, when our parent company was founded as an insurance provider on the Canadian prairie. After more than a century of expansion and a profound evolution of service offerings, the modern iteration of Empower was launched in 2014, when the retirement businesses of Great-West Financial and Putnam Investments came together to form an integrated workplace retirement savings company.

Empower Retirement is now the second-largest retirement plan provider1 in the United States, with more than 9.1 million participants2, yet our founding mission remains unchanged. We believe helping people pursue a better future means giving them the tools and resources to take control of their finances. That’s why we’re called Empower.

110+ years serving customers

2019 Empower named ‘Best Company to Work for in Colorado’ by career website Zippia.

2019 Edmund F. Murphy III named president and CEO of GWL&A, the US subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc. and the parent of Empower.

2018 Empower recognized in Top 100 Innovators in Diversity & Inclusion by Mogul.

2018 Empower introduced PlanVisualizer™ to give plan sponsors and advisors unprecendented plan insight.

2017 Empower and Optum launched an innovative, integrated HSA solution for retirement plan participants.

2017 Empower introduced Empower Dynamic Retirement Manager™.

2016 Empower named retirement leader of the year at the 23rd Annual Mutual Fund Industry Awards 2016.

2016 Empower realigned institutional recordkeeping business FASCore, LLC as Empower Institutional.

2015 Empower teed off a partnership with professional golfer Robert Streb.

2015 Empower launched enhanced web experience for 7.5 million participants.

2015 Empower inked partnerships with the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs as official sponsors.

2015 Empower’s parent company launched the Empower Institute to provide thought leadership on issues and challenges related to retirement savings, guaranteed income and investing solutions.

2014 Bringing together three organizations, Edmund F. Murphy III named to head Empower Retirement. Empower business became the nation’s second-largest retirement services provider with more than 7 million plan participants.

2014 Empower acquired J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services’ large-market recordkeeping firm.

2014 Robert L. Reynolds named CEO of GWL&A, leading both Great-West Financial® and Empower.

2011 The company introduced a financial literacy grant initiative to help promote financial education among students in Colorado schools.

2007 Franklin Templeton Investments transitioned its 401(k) recordkeeping business to Empower.

2006 Empower acquired a block of 401(k) and defined benefit plan businesses from Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and its affiliates as well as General American Life Insurance Company and New England Life Insurance Company. It also acquired U.S. Bank’s bundled, full-service defined contribution business.

2003 Empower acquired 401(k) administration subsidiary EMJAY Corp. and the group retirement business of Federated Insurance Companies.

1993 GWL&A established Financial Administrative Services Corporation (renamed FASCore, LLC), as a wholly owned subsidiary to provide recordkeeping and administrative services for retirement plans offered by other financial institutions.

1992 The Great-West Life Assurance Company (Great-West Life) completed the transfer of its U.S. operations to U.S. subsidiary GWL&A. GWL&A’s retirement business, now known as Empower, introduced a proprietary retirement plan recordkeeping platform.

1985 The company began offering services to 401(k) defined contribution plans for private employers.

1983 Outgrowing its downtown Denver location, the company moved its U.S. headquarters to its current campus in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

1979 The formal process of splitting U.S. and Canadian operations began. The company built a new office complex in downtown Denver to house its U.S. headquarters.

1978 Empower began offering services to Section 457 deferred compensation plans for public sector employees in the U.S.

1962 The company began offering services to Section 403(b) retirement savings plans for nonprofit organizations. U.S. customers accounted for half of Great-West Life’s annual sales.

1940 Empower began offering services to tax-advantaged retirement savings plans for U.S. employers under Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a).

1907 The company, now known as GWL&A, was incorporated in Kansas as The National Interment Association.

1906 Great-West Life opened its first U.S. sales office in Fargo, North Dakota. 1891 The Great-West Life Assurance Company (Great-West Life) was incorporated in Winnipeg, Manitoba.