The City wants to make sure its employees are ready for retirement. A major retirement benefit for employees are their automatic enrollment in a defined benefit program through the City’s participation in Missouri LAGERS. However, to properly be prepared for retirement, it is important employees also set aside savings during their working career. In review of how well the City is preparing employees for retirement, the Finance and Administrative department identified the need to enhance the ability for employees utilize the tools available to increase the amount employees save.
The City has offered employees a choice of investing in an Internal Revenue Code Section 457(b) Plan since 1985. This plan is a City-sponsored defined contribution savings account. Under the 457 Plan, employees may elect to contribute a portion of their salaries to make pre-tax and/or Roth contributions to the 457 plan. The City also has 401(a) defined contribution plan that was discontinued since 2011 but remains open for employees and retirees that were in the plan when it was discontinued.
The City does not contribute any funds to employee’s accounts. The employees accounts are held with a record keeper in the employee’s name and 100% of funds earned in an account stays with the employee and/or retiree until withdrawn. The City has allowed Voya and ICMA-RC to serve as approved record keepers to manage the accounts.
During the life of the plans, the City has not evaluated the fee structures nor the effectiveness of how well these plans are preparing employees for retirement. In a preliminary review, it was noted that the record keepers have not kept up with changing fund lineups that would benefit the employee. There are also a lot of employees that are not aware of the plans.
The City does not have the staffing level nor expertise to properly review and negotiate with the current record keepers in order to ensure employees have the best resources available. The Procurement Division issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) on December 5, 2018, for Retirement Plan Advisory Services. The RFP was published through the Public Purchase e-procurement website, which notified 117 potential proposers; five 35 accessed the RFP.
Seven proposals were received on January 3, 2019. The respondents were Advanced Capital Group; Gallagher Benefit Services; Hays Financial Group; Hyas Group; Lockton Companies; Prime Capital Investment Advisors d/b/a Qualified Plan Advisors and Retirement Plan Advisors (RPA).
The proposals were evaluated by a team comprised of City staff, using the evaluation criteria published in the RFP: 1) evidence of experience and references with similar projects; 2) expertise of firm and provider personnel; 3) applicable resources; 4) responses to scope of services and proposer’s approach; and 5 price. A short list of the highest scoring firms included Hays Financial Group, Hyas Group, Prime Capital Investment Advisors, and Retirement Plan Advisors (RPA).
Each of the four short-listed firms were interviewed. The proposal from RPA received the highest score based on overall combination of experience working with government agencies, experience working with unions, approach of how they will analyze the current plan setup, and approach of how they will service the employees to help them be retirement ready. RPA is recommended for award of a contract for a one-year period with the possibility of four one-year extensions, for a total of five years.