5 initiatives honored for excellence in retirement innovation

Pensions & Investments recognized five innovators in the global pensions and retirement community for providing better outcomes to participants.

This year, the P&I WorldPensionSummit Innovation Awards recognized a truly international group of innovators across four categories: communication and engagement, investment, plan design and technology.

The awards were presented by Nikki Pirrello, chairwoman of the WorldPensionSummit and chief operating officer of P&I; Jennifer Ablan, editor-in-chief and chief content officer of P&I; and Don Ezra of Don Ezra Consulting Services, and former co-chairman, global consulting at Russell Investments.

  • Communication and engagement

From England, an interactive video quiz from TPT Retirement Solutions, Leeds, that engages participants with the most relevant retirement outcomes took top honors. The master trust’s quiz features three hypothetical models based on retirement saving levels.

Runner up in the category was Columbian pension provider Protección, Medillin, with its “Future Starts Today” initiative, which addressed financial well-being, education and more to tackle the country’s serious pension shortfall, and in return gained valuable insight into its participants.

  • Investment

Two innovators shared top investment honors this year.

Austria’s VBV-Pensionskasse, Vienna, established a dedicated investment strategy to support climate action goals for its entire €3 billion ($2.9 billion) public equity portfolio and €1 billion corporate bond portfolio. Judges thought its thorough approach was a great blueprint for other plans to use.

Sharing the top honors was England’s TPT Retirement Solutions and its focus on private equity and sustainable opportunities. Spurred by auto-enrolment in the U.K., and seeking to engage younger participants, it made ESG a bigger priority and pushed into alternative asset classes, leading to an impact investment strategy in its target-date funds.

Runner up was the National Employment Savings Trust, London, which also turned to private equity to fit its young membership and its diversification strategy. It now expects to have £1.5 billion invested in private equity by early 2025 and eventually 5% of its portfolio, all within its existing fee structure.

  • Plan design

From Cyprus, Emergo Wealth’s LifeGoals Multi-Employer Provident Fund, Nicosia, emphasizing of goals-based investing impressed judges, who gave it top prize for keeping participants invested, more employers involved, and encouraging more retirement saving overall.

From Canada, runner up Blue Pier, Toronto, is expanding options for smaller employers with its “Pension Plan as a Service” initiative that offers employers something that fits now and can also grow with them. Its fully online, active investment management approach to defined contribution manages funding and longevity risks while offering participants portability.

  • Technology

Canada’s Common Wealth Plan, Toronto, a technology-enabled retirement savings and planning platform, won with an approach that gives employers an easy, portable, and cost-effective system for generating significantly more retirement income. A dedicated app keeps it simple and allows employees to create an automated retirement plan in 15 minutes. It inspired judges to call it “the future of pension plans.”

In Kenya, the Rukisha digital wallet launched by runner up County Pension Fund has the potential to transform a poor savings culture into one that saves for retirement, and other critical needs like education and health care.

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