The deadline for the 2016 Eddy Awards, sponsored by Pensions & Investments, is days away.
Changes this year include a revised menu of seven entry categories — one new and six returning — and an online entry system designed to make the process smoother.
Entries — including any materials distributed as part of a defined contribution education campaign, must be received by Oct. 9. Entries also need to be mailed to P&I.
Again for 2016 there is only one entry form and one set of awards. This form should be used by 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 Feb. 28-March 1 at the Trump National Doral in Miami.
They also will be honored at an exclusive dessert party.
Since 1995, the Eddy Awards have put a spotlight on plan sponsors and service providers exhibiting the best practices in offering investment education to defined contribution plan participants.
The entry menu has undergone a few changes and adjustments.
The new category for 2016 is:
Retirement healthcare savings: Medical costs make up a growing share of the expenses plan participants have to manage 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.
Other award categories are:
• Ongoing investment education: Entries should educate existing employees to the investment options of a new or modified plan, or new employees to the investment options of an existing plan. Entries must focus heavily on the investment process.
• Special projects: Showcase special investment education and communication programs with entries as simple as a single postcard, flash file or an e-mail rather than a full campaign. Entries can focus on one objective, such as launching new investment options or educating participants to more broadly diversify their asset allocations.
• Conversions: This category recognizes campaigns devoted to explaining the move. This category also includes consolidation of record keepers by 403(b) plans. None of the entries needs to include all of the investment education expected in the ongoing education categories.
• 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 its 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 readiness: Entries in this category will recognize those organizations that have done the best job educating participants on how much they should save, how to make their savings last, and other steps they need to take for a financially secure retirement. Non-retirement plan information also should be included, such as on retiree medical, housing and other expenses, and Social Security.
• Automatic re-enrollment: Automatic re-enrollment of existing employees is still in its infancy. This category 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.
All entries must be accompanied by a letter containing 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 5, 2016, 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 only. Complete rules and entry forms are available online.