Thursday, September 18, 2008

News You Can Use: Easing employees’ market jitters

The market is in turmoil with no end in sight, which no doubt is raising questions and anxiety among employees.

If you don’t send routine communications to your employees (clients) on the health of your (their) retirement plan, now is a good time to consider doing so. An example of a great communications piece is an e-mail sent this week by Reliance Trust Company, a custodian to some 15,000 401(k) plans.

Entitled “A view of the current market – where we are, what we are doing and what we think,” the memo to clients and Reliance employees recaps the market situation in the wake of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, details the company’s response and offers advice to investors on what to do now.

“In a turbulent market, it’s good to periodically speak out on what’s going on and why you think it’s going on,” says Tony Greene, Reliance’s senior vice president. “The communication today directly addressed people’s biggest concern – the Lehman failure – and the global concerns people may have about general market movement. We also [underscored] that these types of times are why in good times you do balance portfolio strategies.”

While Greene acknowledges that plan sponsors’ communication philosophies differ, he sums up Reliance’s this way: “We think it’s better to tell people what’s going on, why you think it’s happening, and what the impact may be. It’s always good to communicate where you are and why decision made.”

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