Best Practices: Participant Documents

by on Oct 17, 2018

In reviewing online documentation capabilities for Corporate Insight’s latest Retirement Plan Monitor Report, a selection of best practices stands out in three areas: findability, document suites and delivery preference management.

Findability Best Practices

Centralize documents in a findable location:

  • Integrate delivery preference management within document suite – Firms should let users modify their delivery preferences within document suites or place links to delivery preference pages within suites.


  • Integrate contact information management within delivery preference management page – Firms should let sponsors update their contact information within document suites or link to pages where they can update their profiles.


  • Link directly to recent documents on the homepage – Participants often review their statements and other plan documents as they become available online, rather than reviewing archived materials, so firms should link directly to recent documents from the homepage.


Transamerica’s participant site embodies all of these findability best practices. The e-Documents page centralizes almost all available materials and includes delivery preference management capabilities. A link at the top of the page opens the Personal Information page, where users can change their contact information, and the homepage links directly to the latest quarterly statement.


Transamerica e-Documents Page (Truncated)

Document Suite Best Practices

Provide all the standard documents online:

  • Display document information – Firms can help participants review documents efficiently by displaying document descriptions and noting the delivery date. This information can prevent participants from wasting time browsing the wrong documents or referencing out-of-date ones. It is also convenient for document suites to link to pages where participants can download necessary software like Adobe Acrobat.


  • Provide a dynamic statement tool – These resources bring the benefits of timeframe customization to account statements.


  • Offer an upload tool – Today, only two firms (11%) in the Retirement Plan Monitor coverage set provide upload tools; however, given the proliferation of this feature on websites and mobile apps across financial industries, document upload tools will likely continue to become more common.


  • Let participants request documents – In lieu of an on-demand statement tool, firms can let participants request custom statements; the downside to request features is that statements do not generate immediately, but they still afford participants valuable timeframe flexibility.


Delivery Preference Management Best Practices

Provide delivery preference management for different document types:

  • Let users set their notification preferences – Notification management allows participants to opt in or out of email or text messages alerting them to the delivery of new documents to the participant site.

TIAA continues to be a leader in terms of delivery preference customization. TIAA participants can customize delivery methods for a litany of documents, including required and optional communications, and sign up for notifications and alerts. Uniquely, participants can get transaction status updates sent to their mobile devices.


TIAA New Document Delivery Preference Management Page