Employee engagement is essential in determining the value of any Financial Wellness program. This Research Report helps retirement plan sponsors design a Financial Wellness Program Management Dashboard based on the practices of leading retirement plan advisors. The report provides a framework for monitoring progress and guides plan sponsors on the key indicators to monitor. One strategy for the most committed employers to drive engagement in Financial Wellness programs is to implement a rewards or points program that incents employees to use the program. Leading advisors surveyed in this report say that, on average, 19% of their clients with a Financial Wellness program use a rewards or points program to stimulate participant engagement. Programs such as these have been quite successful on the healthcare front, where employees earn points for having regular medical checkups or going to the gym. They make just as much business sense in helping employees achieve and maintain Financial Wellness.
The number of employers offering an emergency savings program is expected to more than triple within the next 12 months. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic downturn sheds the spotlight on the cost of a financially unwell workforce. Many employers are taking steps to enhance the Financial Wellness of their workforce by offering emergency savings programs. Projections are supported by a survey of 70 member advisors of the Council representing more than 8000 plans and 4 million participants. This is the first of several report in a series from this study on Financial Wellness programs and engagement.
CFOs Who Partner with an Outstanding Retirement Plan Advisor Achieve Financial Benefits for the Business
An aging workforce given adequate health and welfare benefits but inadequate retirement benefits spells trouble for an organization’s financials, something every CFO needs to know. There are financial benefits to be gained by CFOs who join the plan committee and leverage the retirement plan to put employees on a path to retirement success.
The report on a survey of 401 plan sponsors demonstrates that changing the allocation of the benefits budget from healthcare to retirement counteracts adverse self-selection in recruiting and employee retention. Partnering with an outstanding retirement plan advisor to create a well-designed retirement benefits program obviates the need for onerous and ineffective early retirement programs. Smart plan design improvements such as implementing automatic enrollment at a high default contribution level and instituting annual automatic deferral increases of at least 1% soon boost employees to the desired minimum of 10% of salary going into the plan each year. CFO participation on the retirement plan committee assures that these measures are carried through.
CFOs who continue to monitor the retirement readiness of both their plan and their employee population serve business and employee interests equally well, creating a win-win for their organization.
Financial Benefits for the Business (video)
Partner with a Professional Retirement Plan Advisor and Achieve Higher Participant Retirement Readiness Scores
Plan sponsors who retain the services of a Professional Retirement Plan Advisor entirely dedicated to the business reap tremendous benefits from the partnership. Most salient is the enhanced participant retirement readiness that stems from repeated measurements, participant reporting, plan design changes, participant guidance, and advice. Specialized Advisors apply a wealth of insight and experience to create an environment conducive to participation and contribution levels that lead to retirement success.
This discovery research study was conducted by EACH Enterprise, a firm specialized in retirement plan research whose clients include retirement plan service providers and investment managers across markets, plan sizes, distribution channels, and asset classes.
EACH Enterprise administered the questionnaire to 407 plan sponsors screened from among a panel of 3,307 plan sponsors. The sample consists of:
- Employers of the private sector (privately-held, exchange-traded, and not-for-profit)
- 100 employees or larger
- 401(k) or 403(b) plan sponsors
- Plan assets in the $5 million to $500 million range
- Head of the retirement plan committee or fiduciary named in the plan document
What Type of Professional Retirement Plan Advisor is Right for My Plan?
Most plan sponsors who partner with a specialized Advisor follow a deliberate selection process before hiring their Advisor. This report offers guidance for plan sponsors interested in hiring a specialized Advisor, and helps them understand the different types of Plan Advisors. Findings are based on focus group discussions with plan sponsors who partner with a Professional Retirement Plan Advisor of some kind.
The study shows plan sponsors increasingly turning to formal RFP searches to find the correct Retirement Plan Advisor for their plan. Plan sponsors in the study ascribe many benefits to conducting a formal RFP search for a plan Advisor. Compared to other approaches, a formal search process
- is inherently fair,
- demonstrates the plan sponsor acts responsibly in the exercise of fiduciary duty,
- aligns plan goals with the services and business model of the selected plan Advisor, and
- provides an even clearer understanding of fees.
Legislative and Regulatory Issues Plan Sponsors Need To Follow in 2013
A series of focus group discussions with employers from across the nation confirms that:
- Plan sponsors pay careful attention to their fiduciary responsibilities and should continue to invest time and energy keeping abreast of regulatory and legislative issues;
- Plan sponsors are opposed to state-run multi-employer plans such as those created by legislatures in Massachusetts and California and should urge their Advisor to get involved;
- Despite the pressure on the Federal government to raise taxes, plan sponsors are not as concerned as they should be about potential cuts to maximum contribution levels.
These are all issues on which a qualified retirement plan advisor can provide expert guidance.
The Professional Retirement Plan Advisor
This survey of 409 employer offering a 401(k) or a 403(b) plan completed in September 2011 found that sponsors who partner with a Professional Retirement Plan Advisor enjoy superior retirement outcomes for their participants, superior understanding of fiduciary issues, improved plan designs, improved plan arrays, improved overall asset allocation among plan participants, more reasonable fees, and greater confidence in plan compliance and investment options.