PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 14

BEST PRACTICES | 2021 PLAN SPONSOR OF THE YEAR WINNERS
Corporate 401(k) >$300mm - $1b
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Dallas, Texas
A
kin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, an
international law firm with its home office
in Dallas, has evolved its 401(k) plan design to
keep up with current best practices. Six years
after making substantial changes, it has a 97%
participation rate and 9.6% average deferrals.
" We've been very intentional about our plan
design, " says Chief Human Resources (HR)
Officer Meg Meserole of the firm. " We could just
run a 401(k) program and 'set it and forget it.' But
we like to get people to think and look forward
to a retirement where they're very comfortable. "
In 2015, Akin Gump decided " it was time
to elevate the plan, " says Director of Financial
Benefits Jessica Chicorelli. The automatic enrollment
default rate increased from 3% to 5%, and
the automatic escalation ceiling rose from 10%
to 15%-the least amount the firm would like to
see participants defer, she says. New hires may
enroll immediately, and the employer contribution
vests right away, as well.
" Our goal is for folks to have a 70% income
replacement in retirement, " Meserole says.
Also in 2015, the plan started annually
re-enrolling all employees who had made no
deferrals in the previous year. On average, 70%
of those re-enrolled stuck with it, Chicorelli says.
" We recognize that people's circumstances
change, " Meserole says. " That's why we're being
intentional to put it in front of them every year. "
The plan matches employee deferrals of 4%
to 10% up to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC)
402(g) annual contribution limit-currently
$19,500-plus 10% of catch-up contributions
for those ages 50 and over-as much as $6,500.
Akin Gump also makes profit-sharing contributions,
equaling 7.5% of an eligible employee's total
earnings, and added a Roth feature 10 years ago.
Further, Akin Gump has evolved its financial
wellness program since starting it in 2007,
and the program is now a multidimensional
effort involving several providers. " We recognized
that if employees didn't have their present
financial life in order, they would have a difficult
14 PLANSPONSOR.COM June - July 2021
time planning for retirement, " Chicorelli says.
The firm formally launched its " Be Well "
program in 2013, then relaunched it in 2016,
when it implemented a third-party wellness
platform from Aduro. An employee can use the
Aduro platform to complete an initial health
assessment, which explores his well-being in
the physical, mental, financial and social dimensions.
After he completes the assessment, the
tool identifies where he is doing well and where
he may need more support.
Akin Gump employees also have access to
a financial wellness platform from Prudential
Financial Inc., the firm's life insurance provider.
This includes resources and educational
programming on topics such as debt reduction.
Additionally, the firm works closely with its
recordkeeper, Voya Financial, using its Be Well
program. " Through an online financial wellness
assessment Voya offers, employees can see
what their financial challenges are, and we can
provide resources to help them, " Chicorelli says.
" The assessment also provides us with aggregate
data [to use] to plan for future programs. "
The assessment asks questions to determine
how much someone has saved for emergencies
and for retirement, and how much debt
he has. " We can then help them prioritize their
efforts, " says Lucas Lettieri, a Voya Financial vice
president and client relationship director who
works with Akin Gump. " The assessment helps
them decide, 'Where should I put my money
now, based on what my needs are?' "
Nearly 50% of current and former
employees now utilize Voya's advisory program
to get more in-depth help in areas such as
putting together a financial plan or receiving
fiduciary investment advice. " That's twice, if
not threefold, the usage we typically see with
other employers, " Lettieri says.
As a further measure, in 2019, Akin
Gump added non-Roth after-tax contributions
in the 401(k) as a means to establish a rainy-day
savings fund, Meserole notes. -JW
Jessica Chicorelli,
Director of Financial Benefits
Nearly 50%
of current
and former
employees
now utilize
Voya's advisory
program to get
more in-depth
help in areas
such as putting
together a
financial plan
or receiving
fiduciary
investment
advice.
Finalists
Old National Bancorp
Evansville, Indiana
Washington Gas and
Light Company
Springfield, Virginia
More on PLANSPONSOR.com/
awards/2021-plan-sponsor-year
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PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021

2021 Plan Sponsor of the Year Winners
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
The Right Provider Team
For the Best Collaboration
2021 PLANSPONSOR Service Stars
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - Cover1
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - Cover2
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 1
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 2
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 3
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 4
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 5
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 6
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 7
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 8
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 9
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 2021 Plan Sponsor of the Year Winners
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 11
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 12
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 13
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 14
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PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 18
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 19
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 20
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 21
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 2021 Recordkeeping Survey
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 23
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 24
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 25
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 26
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 27
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 28
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 29
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 30
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 31
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - The Right Provider Team
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 33
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 34
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 35
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - For the Best Collaboration
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 37
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 38
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 2021 PLANSPONSOR Service Stars
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 40
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - Cover3
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - Cover4
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/august_september_2021
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/june_july_2021
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/april-may_2021
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/february-march_2021
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/december-january_2021
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/october-november_2020
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/august-september_2020
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/june-july_2020
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/april-may_2020
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/february-march_2020
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/december-january_2020
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/october-november_2019
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/august-september_2019
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/june-july_2019
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/april-may_2019
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/february-march_2019
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/december_2018-january_2019
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/october-november_2018
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/august-september_2018
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/june-july_2018
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/april-may_2018
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/february-march_2018
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/december_2017-january_2018
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/november_december_2017
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/october_2017
https://www.plansponsordigital.com/plansponsor/september_2017
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