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Defined Contribution

Eddy Awards deadline looms; financial wellness new on list

If you haven't started to assemble your entry to Pensions & Investments' 2019 Eddy Awards, it's time to get busy!

The annual awards program aims to recognize plan sponsors and service providers that exhibit best practices in offering investment and financial education to defined contribution plan participants.

The deadline for completing the entry in the online system is Oct. 5.

P&I has added a new category to the Eddy Awards for 2019 — financial wellness — in recognition of sponsors' growing interest in helping participants better manage their financial lives.

All entries — including any materials distributed as part of a defined contribution education campaign — must be mailed to P&I and received by Oct. 12. Complete rules and entry forms are available at pionline.com/EddyEnter.

Plans of all sizes are encouraged to enter, with materials judged against those from their peers based on the number of plan participants. Record keepers and retirement plan advisers can enter on their own with generic materials, or in conjunction with their plan sponsor clients. 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 10-12 at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The award categories, in alphabetical order, are:

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 in the entry.

Financial wellness: Workplace experts increasingly warn that employees' financial stress can damage their productivity, health and ability to retire. This category, new for 2019, aims to recognize efforts that take a holistic view of employees' financial well-being outside of traditional retirement programs. Those efforts include, but are not limited to, education or tools regarding student loans, health savings accounts, emergency savings or debt reduction, and household budgeting.

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.

Pre-retirement preparation: Awards in this category will recognize organizations that have done the best job of educating participants nearing retirement — specifically 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 email rather than a full campaign. Entries can focus on one objective, such as launching investment options, trying to increase the employee deferral or educating participants about the need to more broadly diversify their asset allocations.

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/eddyawards.