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 > Newsroom
 > 2017 News
 > Virginia Retirement System Receives Communications Award

Virginia Retirement System Receives Communications Award

RICHMOND, May 30, 2017 — Virginia Retirement System (VRS) has been awarded a Communicator Award of Distinction from the International Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts (AIVA). The award recognizes creative excellence in communications for the Hybrid 457 Deferred Compensation Plan's auto-escalation campaign.

Auto-escalation increases participant voluntary contributions automatically by 0.5 percent every three years. Auto-escalation makes it easy for participants to save more by eliminating the burden of remembering to increase retirement contributions over time.

The Communicator Awards is a leading international awards program and one of the largest award competitions in the world, receiving over 6,000 entries. According to AIVA, "The Communicator Awards honors work that transcends innovation and craft - work that made a lasting impact." The awards are sanctioned and judged by AIVA members, including professionals from media, communications, advertising, and creative and marketing firms.

"We are honored to be a recipient of this award," said Patricia S. "Trish" Bishop, director of VRS. "It reflects our agency's dedication to communicating effectively so we can achieve optimal outcomes for our members as they prepare for retirement."

The goal of the agency's auto-escalation campaign, which ran from April-December 2016, was not only to showcase auto-escalation as a convenient way for members to increase their voluntary contributions to the Hybrid 457 Deferred Compensation Plan, but also to encourage members to make additional contributions.

Educational materials, including mailings, newsletter articles and fliers for members, described the importance of saving more and how auto-escalation would occur, while employers received tools and resources to help them explain auto-escalation to members.

Following the campaign, 97 percent of eligible hybrid members who received communications were making voluntary contributions. This percentage far exceeds the industry average; a 2011 survey by the Principal Financial Group indicated that typically about 80 percent of employees remain in auto-escalation once enrolled by plan default.

For more information on the award and AIVA, visit

About Virginia Retirement System

VRS, an independent state agency with a $75.1 billion portfolio, is the 20th largest public or private pension system in the U.S. and 44th largest in the world, serving more than 678,000 members, retirees and beneficiaries. The agency delivers retirement and other benefits to covered Virginia public sector employees through sound financial stewardship and superior customer service. Participating employers include state agencies, public colleges and universities, local public school divisions, state police officers, Virginia law officers, political subdivisions and the judiciary.

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