Employee Services team honored for CU retirement plan conversion


The University of Colorado has won top honors for its work last summer modernizing and updating its retirement plans—a project that is projected to save CU faculty and staff nearly $5 million in fees each year.

Pensions & Investments (P&I) awarded CU and Innovest Portolio Solutions a third-place 2016 Eddy Award in the conversions category, which recognizes outstanding work by retirement plan sponsors in educating their participants on the plan consolidation process, including moving assets and accessing funds. Innovest, CU’s independent retirement plan consultant, accepted the award on the university’s behalf on March 7, during a ceremony at the P&I East Coast Defined Contribution Conference in Miami.

CU is among just four institutions of higher education recognized with a 2016 Eddy Award.

A major financial investments news and research publication, P&I established the Eddy Awards in 1995 to honor organizations that demonstrate best practices in educating participants about defined contribution plans, such as CU’s 401(a) Retirement Plan and 403(b) Voluntary Retirement Plan.

A change several years in the making, the 2015 CU Retirement Plan upgrade addressed structural flaws and implemented cost-saving measures into its 401(a) Plan and 403(b) Plan fund lineups , and Plan administration. Following months of Plan analysis, CU modernized its 401(a) and 403(b) plans with streamlined investment menus, which contain highly rated funds from 12 different firms. It also consolidated the number of firms providing Plan administrative services from eight to one — TIAA (formerly TIAA-CREF).

That successful transition could not have happened without the involvement of the university’s faculty, staff and retirees, said Peter Bowers, CU’s retirement Plans manager. Employees and retirees were integral members of the initial committee that reviewed the former plans and continued to provide helpful input as TIAA moved participants’ retirement plan assets into new accounts, he said.

“Faculty, staff and retirees had nearly 10,000 individual contacts of one type or another with the transition team and/or Employee Services during the entire transition, not including phone calls into Employee Services,” Bowers said. “Without that involvement by our colleagues, the project could not have had near the level of success that it had.”

P&I praised the university for its detailed planning and thorough multimedia approach to educating its employees about the transition from multiple vendors to one provider.

“They clearly had a plan of attack,” one judge noted. 

Find full details about CU’s modernized retirement Plans on the university’s website. See a full list of Eddy Award winners on the P&I website.