In 2012, Pensions & Investments and the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association launched something that was then called the Innovator Awards, designed to honor the defined contribution plan executives who spearheaded the most creative and unusual changes to retirement plans.
Last week, P&I and DCIIA presented the Excellence and Innovation Awards to seven plan sponsor executives who, among this year's entries, best embodied the creativity and inventiveness that helps make a fundamental change to the DC industry.
Congratulations to all the winners.
Over the years, we have recognized investment lineup revisions and massive provider and plan consolidations, educational efforts, communication creativity and more.
The solution devised and put to work by one plan executive undoubtedly solves a problem that other plan sponsors are wrestling with.
The original goal of the program was to recognize individuals who are the driving force behind the successful outcomes for participants, especially those ensuring plan participants have adequate income at retirement.
We set out each year to honor the people who take the risks and shepherd these efforts from ideas into changes that improve retirement outcomes for participants. In recent years, it has been increasingly hard to find individuals who want or seek such an honor.
It is not that plan sponsors don't enter the awards program, they do. But every year it gets harder to find the individual executives who want to stand up and be recognized. It is also important that entries each year focus on the executive who champions the change, not so much on the vendors who help them enact it. All ideas come from somewhere.
We know that Thomas Edison patented the incandescent light bulb and that Marie and Pierre Curie are credited with the discovery of radium and polonium. Closer to the retirement space, Ted Benna is known as the father of the 401(k) plan.
Going forward in this program, we hope to know, and continue to celebrate, the pioneers in this industry. We hope those people will continue to come forward and accept the accolades their hard work deserves.
Maybe next year, it will be you.