Case Study: Accounting Firm

From Disengaged to Empowered: Changing Participant Behavior Through Plan Design and Education

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The Challenge

This regional accounting firm was concerned with the lack of participant engagement with the retirement plan they offered. There was no education strategy in place for plan participants, and the firm was concerned participants were not taking important steps to help save for their retirement. The firm wasn’t working with a financial advisor previously and selected Stonebridge Financial Group to help them improve their participants’ preparedness for retirement.

The Solution

After a thorough needs assessment, Stonebridge Financial Group identified retirement plan providers that best aligned with the employer’s objectives. Through a custom request for proposal (RFP) process, they selected a new provider for the plan. The provider selected had proven results in effectively communicating with plan participants one of the deciding factors in the choice. Stonebridge Financial Group worked with the retirement plan provider to incorporate plan design changes to help motivate participant behavior, including:

  • Automatic enrollment at 6%
  • Automatic escalation of 1% per year up to a 10% deferral
  • Roth deferral option

The Stonebridge Financial Group team, together with the provider, developed a participant education plan based on the investment committee’s objectives. They met with participants over a three-day period to re-enroll them in the retirement plan, discussing each participant’s plans for retirement and action needed to reach their goals. Financial Wellness is a key part of the education plan. Stonebridge Financial Group held one-on-one planning meetings with participants, as well as family meetings for those participants nearing retirement. 93% of employees met with Stonebridge retirement plan consultants.

CLIENT PROFILE:

INDUSTRY TYPE: Accounting Firm

GEOGRAPHY: York, Hanover

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 93

PLAN TYPE: 401(k)  Profit Share

“Stonebridge Financial Group held one-on-one planning meetings with participants, as well as family meetings for those participants nearing retirement.”

"After enrollment meetings, participation increased from 78% to 89%."

Results

  • With the help of the Stonebridge Financial Group team, plan participants have taken important actions and are better prepared for retirement.
  • After enrollment meetings, participation increased from 78% to 89%
  • 93% of participants attended a one-on-one meeting and took some kind of immediate action:
    • 40% increased their deferrals
    • 33% selected the Roth deferral option
    • 15% elected annual automatic escalation
    • 71% selected a target date or risk-based asset allocation strategy
    • Average deferrals are 8.6% amongst plan participants
  • 8% attended a family retirement planning meeting

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