PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 25

regularly review metrics to refine their strategies. For example,
the coronavirus pandemic has changed participant attitudes
and behaviors regarding wellness and finances. " Not only is
the environment changing, but your organization is changing,
too, " she said.
Pihos also urged plan sponsors to identify any objectives
they have for plan design, participation rates, etc., because this
will determine when and how often they should check up on their
participants regarding benefits. Lastly, creating a dashboard with
metrics allows employers to assess their plan's improvement and
their communication strategy's success.
New communication trends across the marketplace include,
notably, personalization. As personalization strategies become
more affordable, employers are more apt to add and use them.
" It's becoming huge, because every time [participants]
received a message, in the back of [their] minds, they'd think,
'It doesn't apply to me,' " Pihos said. " We're starting to see more
personalization where there is not much lift by the participant
but still output. "
For sponsors that employ automatic features, communicating
regularly with participants is still integral, the panelists
agreed. Checking in on them multiple times a year, especially
during open enrollment, can ensure better plan engagement,
Pihos said. She said some studies have found most subjects need
to receive the same message seven times before they act. -AU
'The Modern DC Plan Investment Lineup'
Leading asset-management product development and sales executives
came together with a representative from Crate and Barrel
Holdings, a 2021 Plan Sponsor of the Year winner, for " The
Modern DC Plan Investment Lineup " session.
There was unanimous agreement that the time has come for
the retirement plan industry to treat participants like the sophisticated
end consumers most of them are.
Near-retirees are acutely aware of their need for help to
construct a retirement income strategy, the speakers said. And,
while some Millennials, Generation Xers and even Generation
Zers are more aware than their predecessors have been of the earnings
and savings power they will generate over the course of their
lifetime, still most are not. They will need the help of plan sponsors,
retirement plan advisers, recordkeepers and asset managers
to see the whole picture when it comes to their 401(k) and other
defined contribution (DC) plans.
The whole picture should include a retirement income
component, even at the start of a worker's career, via a fixedincome
annuity, said Roger Marinzoli, senior managing director,
head of corporate retirement solutions business development at
TIAA. A more comprehensive approach to serving plan sponsors
and their participants must also consider the six- or seven-figure
savings many retirees will take with them when leaving the workforce,
he added. He said TIAA believes that plan sponsors and
asset managers can work in tandem to help those retirees manage
The number of participants
using the advisory services
in the plan soared from
136 pre-pandemic, to
3,250. " I was thrilled. "
-JEREMY YONAN
lifetime earnings responsibly, through retirement.
For instance, the qualified default investment alternative
(QDIA) can be a hybrid that starts with an off-the-shelf targetdate
fund (TDF) for those early in their career and shifts when
they are, maybe, age 55 to a managed account or custom TDF
with an insurance component. That way, on retiring, all the
person needs to do is hit the " easy button " to get retirement
income flowing, Marinzoli said.
Investment management firms, insurers, regulators
and legislators are working together to create a dynamically
new approach to helping participants with their investments
throughout their career and beyond, he assured the audience.
For its part, TIAA has served more than 5 million people in the
K-12 and higher education world with a version of this model for
the past 100 years, Marinzoli said. And " there are a lot of other
very good insurance companies doing this. "
In short, the days of a 401(k) plan working just as an accumulation
vehicle are over, other panelists agreed. The industry
is now beginning to collaborate on " decumulation " -i.e., various
types of annuities and plain old retirement income.
In fact, this model is now starting to include " wealth
accumulation strategies [and a] 'dynamic' QDIA for those
approaching retirement, " said Jeremy Yonan, director of total
rewards, at Crate and Barrel.
Spurred by a necessary change in recordkeepers, Crate and
Barrel looked at the demographics of its plan and discovered
that the median age of its participants was 44, Yonan said. This
information got the investment committee into a hybrid-QDIA/
retirement-income mindset for those approaching retirement,
he said. " We did a full plan reset and included professionally
managed accounts. "
After COVID-19 hit the U.S., the process was only sped up
as the company's investment committee, recordkeeper, fund
managers and retirement plan adviser moved to " alternative
modes of communication, " he said.
For the first time, many participants were interested in
having face-to-face, live conversations with investment managers.
The number of participants using the advisory services in the
plan soared from 136 pre-pandemic, to 3,250. " I was thrilled, "
Yonan said. The retailer also saw growth in plan assets from
PLANSPONSOR.COM August - September 2021 25
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021

To Ensure All Are Well
2021 PLANSPONSOR National Conference
Equipped for Anything?
The Security of Savings
Take a Load Off
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Cover1
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Cover2
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 1
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - To Ensure All Are Well
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 17
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 18
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 19
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 2021 PLANSPONSOR National Conference
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Equipped for Anything?
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 31
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 33
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - The Security of Savings
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 35
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Take a Load Off
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 37
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 38
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PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - 40
PLANSPONSOR - August/September 2021 - Cover3
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