Executives of seven defined contribution plan sponsors were honored Tuesday with Excellence & Innovation Awards at Pensions & Investments' DCW Virtual Series.
This is the ninth year P&I and the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association have recognized best and new practices to enhance plan participants' retirement security.
The Innovation Award winners are:
- Eric Dill, senior vice president of human resources and talent development at the American Arbitration Association. Under Mr. Dill's direction, the association rolled out a credit-building program to help its more than 600 employees become more financially secure. The program included an initial one-hour onsite education session on the importance of building good credit followed by a voluntary 18-month program of individual credit counseling.
- AJ Padilla, chairman of the City of Austin Deferred Compensation Committee. Mr. Padilla sought to encourage more participants to enroll into the retirement plan by capitalizing on the open enrollment period. Working with the plan's record keeper, Mr. Padilla led an effort to add a section to the benefits portal, which, allowed employees to opt into the plan with an initial 2% deferral. The initiative led about 5% or nearly 400 targeted eligible employees to enroll in the plan via the deferred compensation tab.
The Excellence Award winners are:
- Katie Balestrieri, director of benefits and compensation at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Under Ms. Balestrieri's direction, the law firm implemented a new type of QDIA qualified default investment alternative in which participants under the age of 45 are moved into a target-date fund, while those over the age of 45 are defaulted into a managed account.
- Mary Ann Edwards, manager of total rewards at JTEKT North America. Under Ms. Edwards direction, the manufacturer introduced a new mutual fund product — the IncomeFlex Target Day One Balanced Fund — that for a fee of 1% guarantees participants a set amount of retirement income for life. The launch was part of a broader project to ensure best outcomes for participants throughout their lives.
- Jeffrey King, deputy superintendent of operations and finance at School District U-46 in Elgin, Ill. Mr. King led a massive remaking of the district's retirement plan for its 6,000-plus employees, which involved reducing its more than 40 vendors to just one. As a result of the overhaul, investment option fees now range from 0.015% to 0.49%, down from more than 200 basis points prior to the change.
- Lavina Mehta, retirement plans manager at Bechtel Global Corp. Under Ms. Mehta's direction, Bechtel put together a strategic campaign for participants nearing retirement, providing asset drawdown modeling and other tools to participants.
- Mohammad "Mo" Raihan, assistant vice president of HR retirement services at NYC Health & Hospitals. Under Mr. Raihan's direction, the health-care system transitioned the one-on-one meetings workers had with retirement counselors to a virtual environment when COVID-19 hit. The virtual technology allowed the plan sponsor to reach larger swaths of its front-line workers than it otherwise would with in-person meetings during normal times.