Each month, NAGDCA turns the spotlight on one of our members to highlight the incredible work they’re doing to secure the retirement future of their public sector employees. Members are selected from our Leadership Award winners and spotlights are shared as a part of our ongoing Resource Digest series

Q&A with NC
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GoalMaker 2.0 Implementation & Investment Changes

June 2018, the North Carolina Retirement Systems Division (RSD) in partnership with its third-party administrator, Prudential Retirement, launched a plan redesign that was aimed at enhancing its investment lineup and its easy-to-use asset allocation program, GoalMaker®. The project took extensive planning and required the expertise of over two dozen individuals.

Goals of the plan redesign:

  1. Optimize the investment lineup
  2. Reduce investment fees
  3. Enhance the custom glidepath, including going to and through retirement

“Plan design changes are a fact of life. Yet launching an enhanced investment lineup in tandem with revamping and expanding a custom asset allocation program (GoalMaker 2.0) while enhancing its glidepath—that ended up impacting the majority of our 260K+ participant accounts—was a substantial undertaking. This made for close to one million small account-level transactions, completed in a series of overnight sweeps spread over the course of a week and a half, followed by extensive testing and subsequent financial audits,” the State shared in its 2019 NAGDCA Leadership Award winning nomination.

The impact of the redesign was far reaching. Specifically, when launching the redesign, they:

  • More than doubled the number of model portfolios to 27
  • Implemented an asset allocation adjustment
  • Activated the automatic Age Adjustment feature
  • Decreased investment fees in the fund lineup and portfolio models
  • Enhanced investment options by adding Inflation Protected Funds

The North Carolina Retirement Systems Division in partnership with Prudential Retirement implemented the GoalMaker 2.0 communications campaign which employed a multi-media approach to get the word out about the changes to all affected individuals including both employers and plan participants.

Three plans were impacted by the plan redesign: NC 457 and NC 401(k) Plans and the NC 403(b) Program

  • Combined plan assets: over $11B (as of June 2018)
  • Participants: more than 260,000 (as of June 2018)

The project took the steady collaboration of over two dozen individuals including:

  • Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA and Board Members
  • Investment consultants
  • Legal and compliance professionals
  • RSD staff
  • IT and website professionals/programmers
  • Custodial logistics experts
  • Communications professionals

Project Leads:

  • Mary Buonfiglio, Director, Supplemental Savings Programs, State of North Carolina
  • Jessica Quimby, Communications Director, Prudential Retirement

The outcomes were unprecedented:

*NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans only

To learn more about the transition and results, click here to read the State of North Carolina’s Leadership Award winning nomination.

Q&A with North Carolina

One of the challenging aspects of the plan redesign was the planning and coordination among many parties – both internally at the Department of State Treasurer and externally with vendors. The process involved our recordkeeping and communications provider (Prudential), custodian (BNY Mellon), investment consultant (Mercer), transition manager (BlackRock), and investment managers, as well as the plans’ investment, operations, compliance, legal, and communications staff.

Create a strong partnership with your key vendors – both in developing and executing the plan redesign. Begin the execution planning process as early as possible following approval of the plan redesign, and schedule regular, frequent meetings and other communications with vendors and staff during the process. Awareness and communication to current and future participants is key and this was a direct and coordinated effort.

We have.  GoalMaker usage is up significantly since the enhancements implemented in June of 2018.  Specifically, the participation rate grew from 63.1% to 67.4% and total Plan assets in GoalMaker have grown from 47.4% to 50.1%.

Meet the State of NC

Pictured left to right:  Cindy Rehmeier, MOSERS, 2019 NAGDCA President; Mary Buonfiglio, Director, Supplemental Savings Programs, State of North Carolina; Chevella Thomas, Trustee, State of North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans

NAGDCA Member Spotlights are developed as a part of our Resource Digest series. Each month we highlight a new topic and share relevant information and resources in our e-newsletter, NAGDCA Now, and in the News & Articles section of NAGDCA.org. Click below to view the March Resource Digest on Investment Menu Design. 

Investment Menu Design Resource Digest