New approach engages employees overwhelmed by pension plan information
TORONTO, Ontario – – December 5, 2005 — Sun Life Financial Canada has launched an “industry first” approach that will help members of company pension and savings plans assume a more active role in managing their investments. The approach will emphasize the distribution of personal communications relevant to individual employees; a stark contrast from the standard practice of distributing generic information to all employees within a group plan.
Evidence shows that, on average, 44 per cent of plan members of group retirement and savings plans (sometimes referred to as a Defined Contribution plans) do not actively participate in their plan1. It is widely believed that the volume and nature of the information they receive contributes to this inertia. This new approach, which uses sophisticated print technology and database marketing techniques, is designed to address this challenge.
“Traditionally, communication spoke to employees as a group, outlining general information to suit all employees. This meant that sometimes we were talking to a 20 year old about multiple investment strategies that would suit a 40 year old or a 60 year old,” says Lori Bak, Vice-President, Client Relationships and Marketing, Group Retirement Services, Sun Life Financial Canada. “This new approach allows us to use simple demographic information to create personalized communication that speaks to each employee with information that is relevant to his or her particular stage of life.”
The delivery of this new approach for communication with group retirement and savings plan members is one element of Sun Life Financial Canada’s new and comprehensive education and communication strategy, called my money.
“The word money has been politely avoided in group retirement plan communications,” says Greg Bell, Vice-President, Corporate Accounts, Group Retirement Services, Sun Life Financial Canada. “We talk to retirement plan members about investments and assets but realized that in order to effectively engage them we need to speak to the heart of the issue. my money is a direct acknowledgement of the very basic need that drives people to work in the first place to fulfill their dreams for the future.”
In addition to the new approach to communication, my money offers the following for members of group retirement plans:
A unique information package for new employees that fast-tracks them through the plan enrolment process to get their money working for them sooner.
A complete new suite of paper and online tools to help make retirement planning more personal than ever before. This includes a Retirement Planner/Tracker that allows members to envision their ideal retirement lifestyle, set goals and track their progress. A Withdrawal Calculator is also available to show members the current and future impact of withdrawals on their retirement income.
A new, expanded education curriculum that lets plan members work through a series of sessions on various topics and build knowledge and confidence as they progress.
“The time has come to step outside the box and try something completely new for our industry,” says Bak. “Our clients invest considerable time and effort in offering retirement and savings plans to their employees but are frustrated by low employee engagement. We know my money and the new approach to personalized communication will, at last, give these employers greater return on their investment by having more enlightened plan members.”
The Sun Life Financial Canada my money program is offered through employer-sponsored group retirement and savings plans with Sun Life Financial Canada. These products and services also complement the education and advice services provided by those advisors involved with group retirement and savings plans.
About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is the leading supplier of group retirement plan services in Canada with more than CDN$29 billion of assets under administration as of March 31st, 2005, serving one of every three defined contribution plans in Canada. Group retirement services are provided by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, a member of the Sun Life Financial group of companies.
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of wealth accumulation and protection products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Tracing its roots back to 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China and Bermuda. As of March 31, 2005, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of CDN$366 billion.
Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under ticker symbol SLF. For more on Sun Life Financial visit www.sunlife.com.
1 The Road Ahead: The Canadian Defined Contribution Plans Trend Report, published by Rogers Media Inc. Healthcare and Financial Publishing 2004, sponsored by Sun Life Financial, indicates that on average, according to plan sponsors, 44% of DC plan members are invested 100% in the company default fund.