PLAN SPONSOR OF THE YEAR Finalists | PLANSPONSOR
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PLAN SPONSOR OF THE YEAR Finalists

Corporate 401(k) >$1B

Pitney Bowes Inc.

Nate Nevas

TOTAL PLAN ASSETS/PARTICIPANTS: $1.342 billion/15,370 total (9,594 active)

PARTICIPATION RATE: 87.0%

AVERAGE DEFERRAL RATE: 7.1%

DEFAULT DEFERRAL RATE: 6%

EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTION: 100% on first 4%; 2% core contribution

Pitney Bowes Inc. (PB) is a Stamford, Connecticut-headquartered provider of global internet commerce solutions; products for shipping and mailing; location intelligence; and customer-engagement and -information-management solutions.

Like many of the nation’s publically traded large-cap corporations, the company has a long history, in this case stretching back to 1902. According to Nate Nevas, director of global financial benefits and administration, the firm is pushing hard to make sure the business success of recent decades can be sustained, “and we know this will require a healthy, happy and financially educated work force.”

In 2004, the firm adopted automatic enrollment—prior to the implementation of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA). More recently, Nevas says, the company doubled down and enhanced the auto-enrollment feature by implementing an increased default deferral rate of 6%, tying this to an automatic deferral escalation feature.

In addition to the company match of 100% of deferrals up to 4% of salary, PB also provides a year-end true-up contribution, plus a 2% contribution to all employees after one year of service regardless of their elective deferrals into the 401(k) plan.

“The message to employees is that it’s crucial to save early and save as much as possible,” Nevas notes.

Tied to this, Pitney Bowes developed a website (www.pbprojectliving.com) to communicate about all benefits—retirement and health care—to current and prospective employees and their families. Nevas is especially proud that the site is publically viewable and uses Google Translate, allowing users to interact with their retirement/health plan in Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese, German, French or Arabic.

Beyond these features, Pitney Bowes offers Ernst & Young Financial Planning Services at no cost to all employees, to help with their one-on-one financial planning needs. “Our overall wellness program views emotional, physical and financial wellness as interconnected pieces that impact employees and their productivity if not properly maintained,” Nevas says.

Some of the company’s retirement plan success is due to the partnership the PB retirement plan has formed with its administrator, T. Rowe Price, particularly with Do Kim, a vice president and senior relationship manager.

One recent achievement came out of the long-term commitment the plan has made to auto-enrolling even those who are lower on the pay scale. As the lower-paid employees have directed more into the retirement plan, aided by the 4% match and the 2% automatic contribution, this has allowed highly compensated employees (HCEs) to gain more control and flexibility in their own savings efforts.

A key challenge Nevas and his colleagues faced while installing the features contributing to PB’s quality plan was that the company is structured around different business units, each with its own objectives and approaches. “The retirement plan committee had to illustrate the financial impact of everything we wanted to do and then demonstrate the overall benefits of the new plan design to each of its business units as stakeholders,” Nevas explains.

“Once the business units recognized the importance of retirement readiness and their responsibility of ensuring that participants were saving appropriately, they were fully on board and supported the changes,” Nevas concludes. “Today we have a fully robust and generous retirement package that serves to recruit, retain and reward top talent.” —John Manganaro

 

 

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