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WINNER Communication: Boeing Company | Sarah Krause, Director, Retirement Strategy & Executive Compensation
Boeing’s Retirement Checkup campaign and Well Being Co-Pilot program provides holistic financial planning. It helps employees reduce their day-to-day financial stress, encourages consistent employee engagement, builds their confidence and improves their retirement readiness. ‘Retirement Checkups’ offers all employees one-to-one sessions with Financial Engines Advisors to see if they’re on track and they also receive a financial plan at no additional cost. Employees can gain “points” for completing financial actions (e.g. completing a retirement check-up or reviewing their retirement evaluation). So far over 2,000 employees participated in live events in the first two months and over 1,600 employees sought financial help: 1,000 became new users and 600 received personalized advice. Within the first three days 700 employees scheduled an appointment and by the end of the first quarter of 2018, over 2,700 employees had done so. Over 85,000 employees registered for the Well Being Co-Pilot by the end of April 2018. This program aligns with the company’s wellbeing program and utilized technology to engage its membership.

WINNER Technology: Comisión Nacional del Sistema de Ahorro para el Retiro (CONSAR) | Carlos Ramírez Fuentes, President
In 2013 CONSAR started working on digitizing the Mexican system to improve financial literacy, contributions and encourage pension savings through innovation and technology. CONSAR developed a strategy through five axes that involved regulatory changes, digitizing data, user’s biometrics authentications, mobility and digital supervision. This has driven CONSAR to achieve a 100% paperless system, having one of the largest and more complete transactional databases in Mexico (+14 million electronic files in 3 years with an estimated 40 million in 5 years). Today there are +580,000 downloads including users who didn’t have a contract with a PFA. CONSAR raised voluntary contributions by 400%, extended retailers’ coverage for cash deposits and opened remote services channels. Malpractice and frauds have been reduced and a robust biometric system has been built. AforeMovil – a Smartphone App – allows Mexicans to open a free pension account and access remote services 24/7, creating an ecosystem for retirement savings. CONSAR has taken a leading role in setting up an ecosystem for digital management of pension accounts. It has set an audacious goal and invested heavily in getting this done. By creating the infrastructure for good pension savings, it contributes to retirement adequacy in Mexico and shows how a regulator can be instrumental in this process.

WINNER Plan Design & Reform: CAAT Pension Plan | Derek Dobson, CEO
For over 50 years, the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT) Pension Plan has served as a defined benefit pension plan for the employees of the Ontario college system and several other employers. In June 2018, CAAT Pension Plan introduced ‘DBPlus’ to accommodate the needs of employers and employees across all sectors. It allows employers and members to move from DC to a superior DB without the risk of traditional single-employer DB plans. It also allows each employer to pick a fixed contribution rate between 5% and 9% based on the organization’s and members’ needs. ‘DBPlus’ is an innovative solution for the under-served private and nonprofit sectors who have been focused on DC pensions and it offers solutions for a growing cohort of part-time and precarious workers. ‘DBPlus’ enables employees to make fixed rate contributions to the Plan, matched by the employer and provides the best of DB and DC: predictable costs and higher, secure retirement benefits per contribution dollar. ‘DBPlus’ makes it feasible for more organizations to join the CAAT Pension Plan and extending DB plan access to the private sector reduces “pension envy”. Convincing the government to get regulatory approval for allowing a private sector plan to join a public-sector plan is a huge milestone for pension innovation. CAAT Pension Plan is in the final stages of negotiations with Torstar Corporation for a proposed merger of their eight DB plans into CAAT. It will be the first private-to-public-sector pension plan merger and it could change the misperception that DB plans are too expensive or unsustainable. ‘DBPlus’ has the potential to demonstrate that valuable workplace DB pensions are possible, without the costs and risks associated with traditional pension options.

WINNER Investments: The Royal Mail Group | Ben Piggott, Secretary to Trustees
To help members get the best of pension freedoms and better appreciate their pensions, Royal Mail Group re-examined their strategy across investment, communication, administration and governance. They redesigned benefit statements, so members could make better choices and understand the value of their contributions. They were changed to reflect what members would need to save for a comfortable retirement, and were guided towards saving 15%, including employer contributions and tax relief, by making the highest contribution tier the default. The investment strategy was tailored to suit manual workers unlikely to work beyond state pension age, and therefore included absolute return bonds in the default strategy. They gave guidance as close to advice as regulation allows, so members felt supported and well-informed. Entrenched in the industry is a risk-averse approach to guiding members. Royal Mail sets a benchmark for the levels of communication and insight into members’ needs with regard to investment strategies that other plans can follow.

Congratulations to the 2018 runner-ups: 

COMMUNICATION: BC Pension Corporation | Laura Nashman, CEO 
TECHNOLOGY: Kiwi Wealth | Joe Bishop, General Manager Customer, Product and Innovation 
PLAN DESIGN & REFORM: Millas para el Retiro | Jorge López Pérez, Co-founder of VITALIS; President of Millas para el Retiro 
INVESTMENTS: Capital Constellation | Meshal Al-Othman, CIO Public Institution for Social Security of Kuwait | Paul Bishop, Head of Private Markets RPMI Railpen | Stephen Moseley, Head of Private Equity and Special Opportunities, Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation | Daniel Adamson, MD Wafra Inc. & President Capital Constellation

To read more about the 2018 Innovation Awards, see Pensions & Investments' coverage here [READ MORE].