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PLAN SPONSOR OF THE YEAR Finalists

Corporate 401(k) >$50MM - $100MM

Molson Coors Brewing Company

Dan Everett

TOTAL PLAN ASSETS/PARTICIPANTS: $68 million/306

PARTICIPATION RATE: 99%

AVERAGE DEFERRAL RATE: 8.7%

DEFAULT DEFERRAL RATE: 4%

When your retirement plan’s participation rate is 99% and the average deferral rate is 8.7%, you know you must be doing something right. For Molson Coors Brewing Company, headquartered in Denver, a big part of that “something” is personalized retirement readiness, which is emphasized from the first to the last day with the company.

Soon after starting there, new hires meet with Rob Swanson, U.S. benefits manager and retirement programs committee member, to discuss the company’s defined contribution (DC) plan and strategies for a successful retirement. Together, Swanson and the new hires create individualized 401(k) spreadsheets that estimate what their retirement savings will amount to annually, over time, with various average return rates.

Dan Everett, vice president of global rewards, and committee chairman, says that seeing the dollar amounts motivates employees to participate in the plan and helps them learn investing basics such as compounding and diversification.

Although Molson Coors does offer an automatic enrollment feature—starting at 4% after 60 days with the company—Everett says few employees need it because they have already signed up voluntarily. Many do, however, benefit from the automatic escalation feature, which increases 1%, 2% or 3% each year. 

The company keeps the retirement readiness momentum going with help from recordkeeper Fidelity Investments and adviser Innovest Portfolio Solutions LLC.

Innovest works with the committee to analyze Molson Coors’ investment options and highlights any areas of concern. It also distributes quarterly employee newsletters that include sample portfolios based on the core funds in the DC plan.

Fidelity conducts on-site retirement readiness reviews each month and provides tools such as its Income Strategy Evaluator and its Power of Small Amounts, the latter presenting examples of how a small contribution increase can make a big difference over time.

The initial meeting that encourages new hires to envision their retirement savings is just one way Molson Coors works to get employees engaged with their financial health.

Workers are rewarded for their interest in holistic wellness and receive points for participating in challenges, which are tracked on Fidelity’s wellness platform. Many of these focus on finances. Once employees reach 5,000 points, they receive financial incentives such as reduced medical premiums and company merchandise. Just a few of the challenges are: receiving preventative care, for 1,500 points; reading a book from the company’s wellness library, for 1,000 points; tracking spending for 30 days, or developing and sticking to a budget for 30 days, each for 500 points; and attending an on-site workshop about retirement readiness, or meeting with Fidelity or their financial adviser, each for 250 points.

The company is also exploring the possibility of changing and increasing the financial incentive to a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA)/health savings account (HSA) contribution starting next year, Everett says.

Gordon Tewell, principal at Innovest, says he is always impressed with the committee’s dedication to helping employees retire with confidence. “The committee is continually committed to the plan,” he says. “[At] every single quarterly meeting, they ask, ‘What can we do to improve the plan?’ … It’s just a constant push from them to say, ‘Let’s continue to always improve.’”

Next on the agenda: Everett says the committee will be considering fee equalization or levelization and will keep exploring ways to drive down plan costs through different investment structures such as collective investment trusts (CITs). —Corie Hengst

 

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