HR Digest

In this issue:

  • Survey: Are employers embracing lifetime income solutions?
  • Article: The employer-configured marketplace as a way to modernize health benefits
  • Global Alternatives Survey 2016

Survey: Lifetime Income Solutions: What actions are employers taking to reduce employees’ longevity risk?

Retirement income planning is an increasingly important piece of the financial safety net. As employers continue to move from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) plans, employees are expected to take more responsibility for their retirement saving. Our survey results indicate that U.S. DC plan sponsors are slowly embracing lifetime income solutions such as systematic withdrawals and planning tools. Specific insights include:

  • Roughly one-quarter of employers (23%) have adopted one or more lifetime income solutions.
  • Another 18% will either implement a solution this year or consider solutions for next year and beyond.
  • For employers offering lifetime income solutions, the most prevalent used are systematic withdrawals during retirement (73%), followed by income planning tools (64%) and education (60%).
  • Employers are reluctant to use insurance-backed products in DC plans despite their effectiveness in minimizing longevity risk.


Towers Watson Media

Perspectives: The evolution of the private exchange for active employees to an employer-configured benefit marketplace

The private exchange has influenced traditional self-managed plans for active employees in ways scarcely imagined even five years ago. This Perspectives by Randall Abbott, senior strategist and a North American leader in our Health and Benefits practice, looks at how converging forces are prompting some employers to explore the employer-configured marketplace as a vehicle for modernizing group benefits.

What’s an employer-configured marketplace? Key attributes include:

  • Improved management of costs and cost growth
  • Expanded choice in benefits and services
  • Transparency in pricing and employer subsidies
  • Flexibility in how employees spend employer-provided subsidy dollars
  • Emphasis on physical, emotional and financial well-being, and increasing employee engagement
  • Enhancement and simplification of the benefit experience
  • Robust decision support and user tools via multiple channels (live phone, web chat, online self-service and the like)
  • Availability of prescreened programs and partners to minimize the complexity of vetting new vendor partners
  • Optimal use of technology for a personalized consumer experience
  • Alignment within the organization brand, reward strategy and employee value proposition


Towers Watson Media

Global Alternatives Survey 2016: Assets top $3.6 trillion

Our 2016 survey shows that total assets managed by the top 100 alternative investment managers globally reached $3.6 trillion, up 3% from 2015’s survey.

Of the top 100 alternative investment managers, real estate managers have the largest share of assets (34% and over $1.2 trillion), followed by hedge funds (21% and $755 billion), private equity fund managers (18% and $640 billion), private equity funds of funds (12% and $420 billion), funds of hedge funds (6% and $222 billion), infrastructure (5%) and illiquid credit (5%). LEARN MORE

Gartner white paper: Transforming the work experience

In its recent publication on human capital management/HR technology transformation in the digital workplace, Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, highlights areas where rapid adoption, or transformative impact, is shaping HR processes and solutions. We agree with Gartner — and we believe it’s the combination of human capital strategy, relevant technology and a change implementation approach that forms these solutions and creates desired outcomes. READ MORE

Towers Watson Media

Focus on diversity and gender pay equality coming from a variety of perspectives in the 2016 proxy season

Calls for greater board diversity and gender pay equality are not new, but recent developments indicate that both issues are currently getting investors’ and legislators’ attention. As public scrutiny surrounding these issues increases, it’s not a stretch to imagine a new disclosure requirement or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) guidance on these topics in the not-too-distant future. READ MORE