ING Programs Motivate Greater Retirement Savings; Receive Industry Awards for Helping Participants
Effective strategies focus on communication, education and personalization; Eddy Awards and DALBAR seal among recognitions
In an effort to help Americans become better prepared for retirement, ING’s Retirement division works closely with its clients on programs that motivate employees to save more into their defined contribution retirement plans. Specifically, these strategies are designed to increase plan enrollments, encourage greater contribution rates and provide participants with the advice, guidance and planning resources they need to successfully save.
While ING serves all types of defined contribution customers, many of ING’s participant-focused strategies begin in the institutional, or large, corporate market. Employers in this segment typically have longer histories with their 401(k) plans, as well as the size, scale and resources to implement programs that set future trends for the industry.
“The success of our voluntary retirement system depends on Americans taking ownership of their savings and actively contributing to their workplace plans,” said Rick Mason, president of Corporate Markets for ING Retirement Services. “Much of the innovation and progress made to encourage employees to save more occurs in the institutional market, in collaboration with our largest customers. The insights and best practices we gain from this work are then shared across broader employer groups, in an effort to positively impact the greatest number of participants.”
“For example, in order to encourage positive saving behaviors, many large companies are integrating innovative media and new techniques for delivering targeted messages into their communication and education campaigns,” noted Wayne Finnegan, head of the Institutional Corporate Markets for ING Retirement Services. “As we continue to experience positive actions by plan participants, we expect more sponsors will follow this approach.”
Communication and Education Programs Earn Results and Industry Recognition
At the heart of ING’s large corporate service model is a commitment to providing best-in-class communication and education campaigns. For many 401(k) sponsors, this work is an ongoing effort throughout the entire plan year.
During 2010 alone, ING created more than 2,000 separate communication programs for its large plan customers to increase employee participation and contribution rates, and drive positive savings behaviors — particularly among low wage earners. One area of success has been with campaigns aimed at increasing paycheck deferral amounts. For programs conducted in 2010, the rate at which participants responded and took positive action to increase their deferrals reached as high as 34%.
Another proof point has been the recognition ING regularly receives for print and online communications and education. Earlier this year, ING and eight of its institutional plan sponsors were honored with nine Pensions & Investments 2011 Eddy Awards. The Eddy Awards, which have been presented annually by Pensions & Investments magazine since 1995, recognize plan sponsors and service providers that epitomize best practices in offering investment education to defined contribution plan participants. Winning ING customer campaigns included those with Nestlé USA, Inc., UPS, Hanesbrands Inc., DIRECTV, PPG Industries and SUPERVALU Inc. The breadth of categories ranged from fee disclosure to ongoing participant education and plan conversions.
Most recently, the customer website serving many of ING's institutional plan participants, which was enhanced last year with new tools and multimedia education, was awarded the DALBAR Communications Seal. This honor is given for written and electronic communications that achieve excellence in serving the needs of customers.
Personalization a Key to Success
Creating micro-websites with personalized messages for employees, or “PURLs,” is another innovative way ING has been supporting its institutional corporate customers. Working with sponsors, ING has reached out to more than 80,000 plan participants with PURL concepts, and it views the large market as a valuable testing ground given the number of employees that can be targeted within each plan.
As an example, ING developed a PURL for the employees of one large client who stopped contributing to their company plan. Of this group, 13% restarted their contributions as a result of the personalized communication strategy. For another large organization, ING targeted a message that focused on the employer’s matching contribution. Those participating below the match level responded at a rate of 23% by taking positive action to improve their deferral amounts.
To experience a sample PURL, go to http://samsample.ingpurldemo.com.
Another aspect of personalization involves delivering retirement support and guidance in the way that individuals prefer to receive it. This includes ING’s in-plan advisory services and managed accounts program, which sponsors can leverage to help employees increase deferrals and improve their investment diversification and planning.
As part of this service, employees receive personal evaluations that explain their retirement preparedness in terms of savings rates, portfolio diversification and potential for retirement income. The goal is to encourage investors to find more structured financial help when they need it. Recently, ING has seen a significant increase in interest and adoption by sponsors and participants. Today, two-thirds of ING’s large market clients are offering some form of advice programs and participant assets covered by such programs at the end of 2010 were 300% greater than the prior year.
“Personalized messaging and support is a critical component of our delivery model to large corporate customers,” added Finnegan. “Through this multi-faceted approach, we’re working to meet our shared goals and overcome the barriers to successful saving. While significant progress has been made on this front, we realize much more must be done.”
ING’s Retirement business holds top rankings in the defined contribution industry with more than $300 billion in combined assets under management and administration. It is one of the few providers that serves all types and sizes of customers, including corporate, government, healthcare, K-12 and higher education employers.
ING U.S. is a subsidiary of Dutch-based ING Groep NV. In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits and financial planning. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 20 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit www.ing.us.