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P&I Eddy Awards lauds best practices in DC education

Pensions & Investments is accepting entries for the 2018 Eddy Awards, an annual program that recognizes plan sponsors and service providers that exhibit best practices in offering investment education to defined contribution plan participants.

Deadline for entry is Oct. 6.

Entries — including any materials distributed as part of a defined contribution education campaign — must also be mailed to P&I and received by Oct. 11. Complete rules and entry forms are available at pionline.com/eddy2018.

Those eligible to participate include plan sponsors entering on their own; service providers entering generic materials on their own; and plan sponsors and their service providers entering together. In the latter instance, both will receive trophies for a winning entry.

Winners of the Eddy Awards will be announced at P&I's annual East Coast Defined Contribution Conference, to be held March 18-20 at the National Doral in Miami.

The award categories are:

Automatic re-enrollment: Automatic re-enrollment of existing employees — not to be confused with automatic enrollment — recognizes those plan sponsors that have created effective print and/or online materials to educate employees about the auto re-enrollment process and how it can benefit them. No entries on auto enrollment will be judged, only those dealing with auto re-enrollment.

Conversions: This category recognizes campaigns devoted to explaining the move to a new record keeper. This category also includes consolidation of record keepers by 403(b) plans. All ongoing investment education materials do not have to be included.

Ongoing investment education: Entries should educate existing employees on the investment options of a new or modified plan, or new employees about investment options of an existing plan. Entries must focus heavily on the investment process.

Plan transitions: Entries in this category should reflect the investment education and communication — in print and/or online — necessary when employees are eligible to participate in a new defined contribution plan. Such eligibility most often occurs because of mergers, acquisitions and spinoffs or when a defined benefit plan is frozen and participants are moved to a new or existing DC plan. The completeness of the investment education typically ranges from what is found in investment education materials for new employees to what is found in conversion materials.

Retirement health-care savings:​ ​ Medical costs make up a growing share of the expenses for plan participants in retirement. With more employers offering high-deductible health plans and corresponding tax-preferred health savings accounts, this category recognizes plan sponsors that have created effective print and/or online materials to educate employees about using HSAs to help save for medical-related expenses in retirement.

Pre-retirement preparation: Awards in this category will recognize organizations that have done the best job at educating participants — especially those age 55 and older — on how much they should save, how to make their savings last and other steps they need to take for a financially secure retirement. Information about non-retirement plan considerations also should be included in the effort, such as retiree medical, housing and other expenses, and Social Security.

Special projects: Showcase special investment education and communication programs with entries as simple as a single postcard or an e-mail rather than a full campaign. Entries can focus on one objective, such as launching new investment options, trying to increase the employee deferral or educating participants to more broadly diversify their asset allocations.

All entries must include evidence of the effectiveness of the program, such as an increase in participation or a change in the average participant asset mix.

For all entries that include online components, the complete website address and a temporary user ID and password, valid through March 20, 2018, must be provided.

Entrants must complete and return an entry form with one set of educational materials. A separate envelope and entry form must be used for each category entered; multiple entries may be boxed together for mailing purposes only.

Entries will be returned only if accompanied by an appropriately sized self-addressed envelope. PowerPoint presentations and training materials for human resources teams or financial advisers will not be judged.

Joint entries must include documentation that the plan sponsor approved the submission. An entry acknowledgment form is available online.

For a look at last year's winners, visit pionline.com/2017eddy.