PARTICIPATION RATE: 95%
AVERAGE DEFERRAL RATE: 8.62%
AUTOMATIC ENROLLMENT: No
AUTOMATIC ESCALATION: No
EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTION: 50% on 3%; 7% nonelective contribution
Saint Anselm College started working on a recordkeeper consolidation for its 403(b) plan in 2015, shortly after hiring Cammack Retirement Group Inc. as its plan adviser. “Prior to this change, the college had two providers, dating back well over 25 years,” says Erica Raiche, assistant director, human resources (HR)/benefits and wellness at the Manchester, New Hampshire, liberal arts college.
Having two recordkeepers led many employees to mistakenly think that Saint Anselm sponsored two retirement plans, and it also prevented the plan from achieving economies of scale. “Prior to the consolidation, participants often were confused by which company to enroll with,” Raiche says. “We wanted to simplify the participant decision-process, reduce plan and participant fees, and improve participant communication and services.”
Saint Anselm partnered with Cammack to issue a request for proposals (RFP), analyze the results and select two finalists. The sponsor gave final approval to TIAA as the new, single recordkeeper in October 2016, and the plan went live the following April.
The consolidation reduced administrative costs by about $90,000 annually. “TIAA was selected for a number of reasons, but a very competitive fee structure was crucial,” Raiche says. The new recordkeeping deal also incorporated several enhancements that Saint Anselm wanted. For example, TIAA now provides 3(21) fiduciary investment advice to individual participants. Last year, TIAA conducted one-on-one meetings with 203 participants and met many others in group workshops, says Patricia Shuster, vice president for HR and administration at the college.
With its new recordkeeper, the plan also moved to open architecture for investments. “Prior to the change, we were using only the proprietary investments of our recordkeepers,” Raiche says. Further, the transition allowed the plan sponsor more control over participants’ available investment options. “Before the transition, the [investment] contracts were set up with TIAA as ‘individually owned,” she explains. “Because of this, Saint Anselm College didn’t have the control to be able to select or change the investment options offered to participants.” Now, the plan committee can work with its adviser to select the investment menu, and the sponsor has streamlined the options from 70 to 22.
The plan did an investment-focused re-enrollment as it made the recordkeeper conversion, defaulting participants into the American Funds Target Date Retirement Series unless they made new, active investment elections. “We wanted to engage our population and make sure participants were set up in a diversified portfolio,” Shuster notes.
At the same time, the Catholic university also voluntarily converted from a church plan to an ERISA [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] plan. After making its vendor-consolidation decisions, Saint Anselm and its attorneys did a legal review of its new plan documents. “Given the current environment related to church plans, our legal counsel recommended that we voluntarily convert, as it was possible that we might be required to do so later,” Shuster says. “ERISA also provided our participants additional safeguards and protections, such as a QDIA [qualified default investment alternative] and annual participant fee disclosure. It was an easy decision for Saint Anselm College.” —Judy Ward