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4 recognized for innovation in retirement plan efforts

Chris Battaglia, CEO of the WorldPensionSummit and vice president and group publisher of P&I, presented the 2018 Innovation Awards at the WorldPensionSummit on Thursday at the Hague.

Pensions & Investments' WorldPensionSummit recognized and honored excellence in retirement across four categories in its 2018 Innovation Awards.

Presented Thursday during the annual WorldPensionSummit conference in The Hague, Netherlands, the awards recognized innovation in communication; technology; plan design and reform; and investment.

The winners are:

Boeing Co., based in Chicago, for excellence in innovation in communication, for its Retirement Checkup campaign and Well Being Co-Pilot program. The firm has worked to reduce employees' day-to-day financial stress; to encourage consistent engagement; and to build up their confidence and improve retirement readiness.

Comision Nacional del Sistema de Ahorro para el Retiro, Mexico City, for excellence in innovation in technology. Mexico's retirement system regulator began working on digitalization of the country's system in 2013 to improve financial literacy, contributions and to encourage savings. Regulatory changes, digitizing data, user biometric authentications, mobility and digital supervision came together in a strategy that has also helped CONSAR achieve a 100% paperless system. CONSAR raised voluntary contributions by 400% among other achievements over the period.

Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Pension Plan, Toronto, for innovation in plan design and reform. The C$10.8 billion ($8.2 billion) plan introduced this year "DBPlus," a plan open to private-sector companies across Canada that have no workplace DB option. Participants and employers can move from defined contribution plans, without the risk of traditional single-employer DB funds. Each employer picks a fixed contribution rate between 5% and 9%, based on the firm and participants' needs.

The Royal Mail Group, London, for innovation in investments. The group, sponsor of the 9.6 billion ($12.3 billion) Royal Mail Pension Plan, London, re-examined its investment, communication, administration and governance strategies to help participants get the best out of retirement freedoms in the U.K. Benefit statements were redesigned to help participants make better choices and understand the value of contributions, and participants were also guided toward saving 15% — including employer contributions and tax relief — in order to provide a more comfortable retirement. The investment strategy was tailored to suit manual workers who are less likely to work beyond state pension age, and to include absolute return bonds in the default strategy.

The awards' 13 judges also recognized runners-up in each category:

BC Pension Corp., Victoria, Canada, finalist in communication;

Kiwi Wealth Ltd., Porirua, New Zealand, finalist in technology;

Millas para el Retiro, Mexico, finalist in plan design and reform;

Capital Constellation, New York, finalist in investments.

The awards were presented by Chris Battaglia, CEO of the WorldPensionSummit and vice president and group publisher of P&I; Don Ezra, P&I advisory board member and former co-chairman, global consulting, at Russell Investments; and Nikki Pirrello, associate group publisher at P&I.

Other judges were Manuel Garcia, senior consultant, pensions team at Inter-American Development Bank; Andrew Halsey, head of group global pensions at ABB Group; Alan Howard, group pensions actuary at Royal Dutch Shell; Ton Van Der Linden, Benelux business services manager and treasurer at Exxon Mobil Corp.; Terry McCredden, director at UCA Funds Management; Carla Moonen, president of the Royal Dutch Association of Engineers in the Netherlands, Supervisory Board Corporate Social Responsibility; Rich Nuzum, president, wealth at Mercer LLC; Alwin Oerlemans, chief strategy officer at APG; and Harry Smorenberg, founder, WorldPensionSummit.