Pensions & Investments' is issuing a last call for the 2021 Eddy Awards, an annual program recognizing 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. 9.
Because of the COVID-19 crisis, P&I has changed how entries are to be submitted. All materials — including participant communications distributed as part of a defined contribution education campaign — must be included as part of the online entry, via PDFs of printed materials, high-resolution JPEGs or website links. Regardless of whether they were distributed to participants in print or online, the entry materials must be submitted online via the entry system.
Special campaigns related to the coronavirus crisis, such as helping plan participants save or understand market volatility, should be included in the Special Projects category (see detailed information on the categories below).
Complete rules and entry forms are available at pionline.com/EddyEnter.
Please note: Materials submitted by mail will not be judged.
Sponsors of plans of all sizes are encouraged to enter, with materials judged against those from their peers based on the number of participants. Record keepers and retirement plan advisers can submit their own generic entries or can enter in conjunction with 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 March 7-9.
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.
Financial wellness: Workplace experts increasingly warn that employees' financial stress can damage their productivity, health and ability to retire. This category 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 and 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 necessary when employees are eligible to participate in a new DC 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.
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 education and communication programs with entries as simple as a single postcard or an email rather than a full campaign. Special campaigns related to the coronavirus crisis should be included in this category.
Campaigns regarding loans and hardship withdrawals as permitted under the CARES Act also should be included here.
All entries must include evidence of the effectiveness, such as an increase in participation or a change in the average participant asset mix.
In order to evaluate online components, the complete website address and a temporary user ID and password, valid through March 10, 2021, must be provided.
Entrants must return an online entry form for each entry with one set of educational materials attached to the entry form.
Joint entries must include documentation that the plan sponsor approved the submission. An acknowledgment form is available online.
For a look at last year's winners, visit pionline.com/eddyawards.