SOURCE: Synapses

March 10, 2010 09:00 ET

Mercer and Synapses Implement Successful Personalized 401(k) Communications Program Pilot

Targeted Communication Drives 17% Increase in Participants Boosting Their 401(K) Contribution Rates

NORWOOD, MA and CHARLOTTE, NC--(Marketwire - March 10, 2010) -  Mercer, a leading global provider of consulting, outsourcing, and investment services, recently worked with Synapses Inc., a leading provider of personalized 401(k) education, products, and services, to develop a personalized employee communications pilot program aimed at increasing participant deferral rates for one of Mercer's 401(k) administration outsourcing clients. The program, designed for a 401(k) plan with already-high contribution rates, targeted a specific segment of the employee population that was not contributing enough to receive the full company match. The Mercer/Synapses offering was considered a success by all involved, particularly in terms of encouraging those who were not contributing enough to maximize the company's match.

"Just over 17% of targeted employees increased their contribution rate to better take advantage of their company match, which exceeded our client's goals for the program," noted Dave Tolve, Retirement Business Leader for Mercer's U.S. outsourcing business. "This achievement is impressive given the persistent inertia of many participants in 401(k) plans, and continued concern with the state of financial markets. We see this result as another example of how Mercer creates real value for our clients by targeting participants at the right time, in the right place, with the right messages."

Putting the 17% contribution increase results into perspective, less than 2% of active, currently contributing participants in all Mercer-administered retirement plans typically increase their contribution rate each month. This monthly average has remained relatively consistent from 2005 through 2009.

Utilizing Synapses' personalized communication tools, Mercer's program provided targeted employees with a "personalized retirement report." Leveraging key employee data points, these reports demonstrated a given employee's potential retirement plan account balance at age 65, based on several hypothetical assumptions and taking the desired action of maximizing the employer-sponsored match.

"We are pleased to assist an industry leader such as Mercer to leverage our latest technology and communication solutions to impact 401(k) metrics for select customers," said Jim Saunders, President of Synapses. "Our recognized, innovative approach for participant campaigns consistently provides unmatched results that far exceed traditional methods. Mercer's pilot program is an excellent opportunity to once again illustrate our industry leadership and specialty."

"We have seen a growing interest among plan sponsors to understand employee demographics in order to identify specific populations and then more fully engage each group in a meaningful way," said Mr. Tolve. "We have found that, across our defined contribution client base, personalized campaigns, such as the recent experience with Synapses, generate higher success rates -- with often twice as many participants taking the desired action versus non-personalized campaigns."

About Mercer
Mercer is a leading global provider of consulting, outsourcing, and investment services. Mercer works with clients to solve their most complex benefit and human capital issues, designing and helping manage health, retirement, and other benefits. It is a leader in benefits outsourcing. Mercer's investment services include investment consulting and multi-manager investment management. Mercer's 18,000 employees are based in more than 40 countries. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., which lists its stock (ticker symbol: MMC) on the New York, Chicago, and London stock exchanges. For more information, visit www.mercer.com.

About Synapses
Synapses Inc. is a leading innovator in personalized 401(k) education, products and services. Providing comprehensive process analysis, custom software design and implementation, as well as personalized education product development and delivery, Synapses has produced hundreds of thousands of individual personalized 401(k) education reports. By offering 401(k) providers, sponsors and financial advisors customized products, Synapses uses a proprietary product delivery infrastructure to provide astoundingly effective education that offers unique scalability to meet the demands of the retirement services market. Founded in 2005, Synapses is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information, call 704-321-4738 or visit the Synapses Web site at www.synapses.com.

Securities offered through Mercer Securities, a division of MMC Securities Corp., a U.S. registered broker-dealer and Member FINRA/SIPC.

Mercer HR Services, LLC and MMC Securities Corp. are affiliates of and owned by Marsh & McLennan Companies.

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