Campaigns introducing defined contribution plan participants to new investment options, new features, new record keepers and even a new plan through detailed information and irreverent humor played a prominent role in Pensions & Investments' 2012 Eddy Awards.
So did projects designed to engage younger employees, participants who aren't saving enough and those who aren't saving at all.
The award winners were announced March 12 during Pensions & Investments' East Coast Defined Contribution conference, held this year in Miami. The Eddy Awards, sponsored annually by P&I since 1995, recognize defined contribution plan sponsors and service providers for achieving best practices in investment education to plan participants.
A complete list of winners, along with judges' comments and other materials about the awards, can be found at www.pionline.com/eddy2012.
Several projects won awards in both the plan sponsor and service provider competitions. Among plan sponsors, however, only one — Municipal Employees' Retirement System of Michigan, Lansing — was recognized with two plan sponsor awards. MERS won first place in the initial education category for public plans as well as first place in the conversions category for public plans.
Judges were impressed that MERS, which moved plan administration in-house, produced detailed yet clear information about changes in the investment menu and how old investment options would be mapped into similar options in the new lineup.
“We knew this would be a big change,” said Carrie Lombardo, chief marketing and employer services officer. She noted MERS used the themes “A change you can trust” and “A change for the better.”
By taking the administration in house and streamlining its investment menu, MERS was able to reduce fees, she said. And among the approximately 8,500 active participants in the DC plan, fewer than 40 called with questions during the plan transition quiet period