In our yearly Monitor Awards reports, Corporate Insight leverages its proprietary Audit benchmarking software to recognize financial services firms for their excellent online services. The seventh annual highlights leading digital retirement plan participant experiences. Our first annual Retirement Plan Monitor – Institutional Awards Report highlights the best plan sponsor website content and capabilities. We grant one gold, one silver and one bronze medal in each category and touch on key trends for the year.

Financial wellness and mobile innovations have become major talking points as the retirement industry shifts into the new decade. Employers want their employees to engage with their duties and ultimately stay with the company for the long term,  but employees increasingly expect more out of the workplace—especially regarding benefits. Workers want more than just traditional healthcare and 401(k) offerings; they want comprehensive and unique benefits that enrich their overall quality of life. Further, many employees worry about living costs, debt and saving for goals. In this climate of financial stress, employees increasingly look to their employers and benefit providers to help them improve their financial well-being. The retirement industry is adapting to these changes by offering financial wellness platforms that help retirement plan participants understand their finances, achieve their financial goals and prepare for their futures.

Throughout 2019, many retirement firms consistently updated their financial education libraries to reflect market changes and address participants’ interests. The most common topics that RPM firms covered this year were healthcare costs, life stages and longevity, Social Security, and parenting. Firms also introduced resources on more narrow topics to address broader financial goals. Two firms in the RPM coverage group—Principal and CUNA Mutual—partnered with third-party financial wellness firms this year to offer resources to participants. Principal offers access to the Enrich financial wellness platform, while CUNA Mutual partnered with Financial Fitness Group; both appear in our new syndicated study, Leaders and Innovators of the Financial Wellness Ecosystem. Thanks in part to Principal’s partnership with Enrich, the firm earned the gold award in both the Educational Resources and Tools and Calculators categories after failing to place in either category last year.

Enrich Topics Page

As Millennials and Gen Zers enter the workforce, the retirement industry keeps pace with mobile innovations. Throughout 2019, retirement firms continuously updated their participant mobile apps, adding new capabilities while balancing clean, modern interfaces with account data. Several firms introduced new transactional capabilities, like loan and withdrawal requests, while others improved their mobile security practices. Firms in the RPM coverage set also improved access to account-related data displays on mobile devices. This year, Nationwide introduced its first retirement mobile app, while Principal released an enhanced version of its previous app.

Empower Retirement earned a gold medal in the Mobile Participant Experience for the first time after making significant enhancements to its mobile app, including a document upload tool, an investment screen with a fund comparison tool, and a Statements and Documents tab. Empower’s mobile experience effectively balances usability and sleek design. Importantly, the app provides a great depth of account data without appearing cluttered or overwhelming.

View a slide deck preview of the RPM gold medal winners here:

Plan sponsors want in on an enhanced mobile experience as well; in 2019, we surveyed more than 330 plan sponsors regarding their online experiences on their provider’s sponsor website, serving as the backbone to our October 2019 RPM – I report. Our survey data shows a notable increase in demand for both mobile-friendly sponsor portals and mobile access to sponsor site functionality. We asked respondents how important it is for them to have access to the features they use on the plan sponsor website from a smartphone or tablet. Many sponsors (69%) indicated that it is either “very important” or “extremely important” to them. While nearly half of firms in the RPM – I coverage group offer responsive sites, only TIAA provides a plan sponsor mobile app.

 


For more information about the RPM Awards Report or the RPM – I Awards Report, email interest@corporateinsight.com.