Dynamic Reporting Helps Plan Sponsors Improve Plans

One Fidelity Investments sales executive says it was the firm’s technology capabilities that allowed it to win the right to oversee American Airlines’ substantial retirement plans.

Steve Patterson, executive vice president of sales for Fidelity Investments, says dynamic reporting is the next big thing for plan sponsors—soon all sponsors will demand the ability to segment and analyze different sections of the plan population to identify and combat specific challenges.

A recently developed Fidelity digital tool called Executive Insights provides this reporting. “It’s a suite of business intelligence and analytics tools,” Patterson tells PLANSPONSOR. “Executive Insights basically allows plan sponsor clients to use on-demand data analysis and plan design modeling, as well as income projections, to build a real-time benchmark of where the plan stands today, and how specific plan design changes would impact the plan and its participants. And all of this is tied back to the retirement income picture of the participants.”

Patterson says, “As the sponsor, you can use our tools to pick out specific populations of the work force, and you can look beyond the averages to the real issues in the plan.” He used the example of a large plan with a diverse and widely dispersed participation population to underscore the importance of this capability.

“So instead of just saying this large plan has an overall participation rate of 70% or 80%, we can now look beyond the averages to the real features of the plan,” Patterson explains. “Even if you have a good participant rate, that can mask the real problem areas in the plan—maybe there is a subset of employees who are missing out, perhaps in one office location or in one staff role. The ability to go beyond the averages and use the modeling tools to look at specific slices of the plan population, and then to use the models to test what effect changes to the plan would have, that’s what we’re delivering with the latest generation of plan technology.”

The Executive Insights system also gives Fidelity a way to track its performance as a service provider, Patterson notes. “We will be working to establish benchmarks and our goal will be to help drive plan improvements over the next five years.”