CalSTRS 403bCompare Website Wins Award of Innovation
The redesigned website’s second award is its first from the investment industry.

News release Michelle Mussuto
Sandy Blair

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California State Teachers’ Retirement System received the Award of Innovation for its redesigned 403bCompare website from Pensions & Investments magazine and the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association.

The award was presented at the West Coast Defined Contribution Conference, held this week in San Diego. The website was selected for its design and technology that continues to drive CalSTRS member participation in voluntary defined contribution plans.

“403bCompare’s design removes the complexity of choosing a 403(b) product which we know is a barrier to plan participation.”

Sandy Blair, CalSTRS Director of Retirement Readiness

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“Winning this award is a testament to CalSTRS’ understanding that a website’s design must move beyond basic function to inspire action,” said CalSTRS Director of Retirement Readiness Sandy Blair. “403bCompare’s design removes the complexity of choosing a 403(b) product, which we know is a barrier to plan participation. Instead, by combining text with interactive features and video, it communicates to our members that supplementing their defined benefit pension isn’t an overwhelming process.”

Required by a 2002 bill (AB 2506, Steinberg), is an information resource filled with objective, non-biased information about 403(b) retirement savings vendors and the products they offer, including fee information and investment fund performance data. Additional information featured on the site includes:

  • Real-time updates on vendor products and commissions through a partnership with Morningstar.
  • Eight filter options to customize product searches.
  • Ability to compare three products side-by-side at one time while mixing & matching product types.
  • Users can save up to five comparisons for future reference.
  • Access to education on 403(b) plans presented in short videos.

“Designing the website in-house was in itself innovative, as so often government agencies shy away from complex technology projects,” said CalSTRS Chief Executive Officer Jack Ehnes. “Easy access to supplemental savings is essential to a secure retirement, since CalSTRS defined benefit plan replaces—on average—about half of what our members need to maintain a reasonable lifestyle in retirement. The ability of members to easily compare and make informed investment decisions could mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars in future retirement savings.”

About CalSTRS

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $215.3 billion as of September 30, 2017, is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world. CalSTRS administers a hybrid retirement system, consisting of traditional defined benefit, cash balance and voluntary defined contribution plans. CalSTRS also provides disability and survivor benefits. CalSTRS serves California’s more than 914,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,700 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts.

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