White Paper Offers Plan Sponsors Guidance on Effective Plan Design
HARRISON, NY, June 11, 2012 -- Diversified, a leading retirement plan provider, announced today the availability of a new white paper, Effective Communication Begins With Purposeful Plan Design
, that provides plan sponsors with best practices for ensuring a retirement savings plan is designed to help employees achieve their retirement savings goals.
Effective Communication Begins With Purposeful Plan Design urges plan sponsors to spend time reviewing their plan's design before developing new communication or education materials to ensure all features support the key objectives. It also offers guidance on maximizing every opportunity to shape participant behavior to help employees save for a well-funded retirement.
Highlights from the white paper include:
- Implement automatic enrollment to optimize its benefit - More than half of all plans that automatically enroll employees use a default rate of 3% or less. Don't follow the crowd. Instead, consider setting a default rate that is at least as high as your current opt-in rate and integrate automatic escalation to improve participants' retirement readiness over time.
- Design employer contributions to maximize plan objectives - Despite studies showing the impact of matching contributions on savings rates, many sponsors default to standard formulas such as a 100% match up to 3% of pay or a 50% match up to 6% of pay. If increasing the average savings rate is a key goal for the plan, consider extending your match to 25% up to 12% of pay. In many plans, the rate at which the match is maximized is the most commonly chosen participant contribution rate, therefore, stretching this incentive will likely result in higher savings rates.
- Narrow the number of investment options - Research shows that the number of available investment options is directly related to participation. Plans that offer 10-14 funds have the highest participation rates, but as more funds are added, participation rates decline. While retirement professionals may appreciate the subtle differences among asset allocation plans, target date funds, and one-decision investing solutions - the average participant does not. For many participants, more options implies more work.
- Limit plan loans - Eighty-seven percent of all retirement plans offer loans and 47% of plans offer multiple loans. If your plan is falling short on average balances, loan activity is likely to be at least partly to blame. If improving employee retirement readiness is a business goal for the plan, why not consider a change to plan design to limit - or eliminate plan loans?
"Effective participant communication is essential to a successful retirement savings plan, but not even great communication can make up for poor plan design," said Patricia Advaney, senior vice president, participant solutions at Diversified. "To communicate with purpose and positively impact participant behavior, plan sponsors must review their plans on a regular basis to ensure all features are working in tandem to support key objectives."
To request a copy of Effective Communication Begins With Purposeful Plan Design, email RetirementResearchCouncil@divinvest.com.
Diversified is a leading provider of customized retirement plan administration, participant communication and open architecture investment solutions for mid- to large-sized organizations. The company's expertise covers the entire spectrum of defined benefit and defined contribution plans, including: 401k and 403(b) (Traditional and Roth); 457; non-qualified deferred compensation; profit sharing; money purchase; cash balance and Taft-Hartley plans; and rollover and Roth IRA. Diversified helps more than two million participants save and invest wisely for and throughout retirement.
Headquartered in Harrison, NY, the company's regional offices are located in Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. To learn more, visit www.divinvest.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/diversifiedretireontrack.
Click here for more material dealing with current trends, opinion, news, legislative action, investments, marketing, sales, consulting, and legal issues on 401k plans.
This is a press release provided by the company mentioned or its representatives. Although 401khelpcenter.com may edit the release for editorial consistency, spelling, grammar, punctuation, or other editorial issues, it is not the author of the press release. Use of any information obtained from this release is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficacy, and timeliness. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by 401khelpcenter.com.