"We give them choice but not too much choice," Mr. Kirkling said, explaining that too many options often lead to participants not picking anything at all.
CPS estimates that the new investment lineup saves participants with a $50,000 balance anywhere from $177 to $492 annually in fees, while those with $100,000 see annual savings of $372 to $1,012.
Despite the cost savings, the consolidation effort wasn't an easy sell, even initially among participants.
Convincing participants that choice was not taken away was the toughest aspect of the consolidation, Ms. Kirkling said, explaining they didn't always see the benefits of the move.
"When they hear the idea of someone downsizing to an exclusive provider, they say 'wait a minute, you're taking my choice away from me,'" she said of participants.
To assuage participant concerns, CPS hosted webinars stressing the new low-fee investment options and other benefits of having a single record keeper.
Judges commended CPS for taking on the challenging task of consolidating record keepers, a move that significantly reduced costs to participants. Bringing down the cost of a $100,000 account balance by $372 to $1,012 annually "is a significant cost saving for a teacher," one judge said.