The Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local 25 union hall in Carlstadt, N.J., has the typical appointments save for three - three computer kiosks for members to review their defined contribution plan accounts.
When plan trustees decided to switch to a member-directed defined contribution plan last fall, they were concerned about member access to investment education and account information. Members had been accustomed to a trustee-directed plan that was invested 35% in equities and 65% in fixed income, said Tom Moran, president of Sheet Metal Workers Local 25; now they would be responsible for investing 100% of their defined contribution accounts, choosing from 16 investment options.
The $66 million plan was being outsourced to CIGNA Retirement and Investment Services, New York; it had been administered in-house, with the money managed by Loomis Sayles & Co. LLP, Boston, and Reynolds Securities Ltd, New York.
Account information and education are available at education meetings, on the web, by mail and by telephone. And though some 60% of members have access to a computer at home, the local also had CIGNA install three terminals at the union's headquarters: one in the fund office, one in the union office and one at the apprentice school, Mr. Moran said.
"We started, beginning last year, making computer terminals a standard offering for Taft-Hartley plan clients," said Bill Cottongim, vice president of CIGNA Retirement and Investment Services.
Trustees also wanted CIGNA to provide continuing meetings each time the local holds apprenticeship training or continuing education workshops, in addition to an annual education meeting - which is typical of Taft-Hartley plans switching to member direction, Mr. Cottongim said. "They are very conscious about everybody being treated equally."