Customer Stories

Sunlife Financial Statement Design

The Company: Sunlife Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services company, helping their customers develop solid financial plans through a wide range of insurance and investment products. They’re also a leading supplier of group benefits and group retirement savings plans in Canada.

The Challenge

Workplace-defined contribution plans help employees save for retirement, with employer contributions making up a big part of their compensation. Because these plans shift responsibility for investment decisions onto employees, it is critical for employees to understand their options and track how their investments are doing.

However, when Sun Life Financial talked to employers, they learned that:

  • Only 5% of employers were “very satisfied” that their employees read their retirement savings plan statements thoroughly.
  • Only 9% of employers were “strongly satisfied” that their statements motivated their employees to make sound financial decisions.
  • Only 9% of employers were “strongly satisfied” that their statements promoted their organization as an employer of choice.

The question, for Sun Life Financial: How could they make their retirement savings plan statements more informative, comprehensible, and expressive of the benefits they were delivering?

“We believe that the more plan members know about their money and investments, the more likely they are to take an active role in their retirement planning.

Plan sponsors, regardless of which provider they do business with, are saying they see room for improvement in plan member statements. We’ve spoken with many of our customers and they are thrilled with my statement.”

Claude Accum, Senior Vice President, Group Retirement Services, Sun Life Financial Canada

The Messagepoint Solution

Acting on what they learned, Sun Life Financial engaged Messagepoint to redesign their retirement savings plan statements. Using our Integrated Approach™ and Messagepoint® software platform, we gave Sun Life Financial my statement.

Not only does this new statement provide employees with a clear breakdown of their invested savings, but it allows employers to deliver educational information, targeted to individual employees, and teach them how to make informed decisions about their retirement savings.

Some key features of my statement:

  • First-person voice in headers (my profile, my investments, my plans), fostering a sense of ownership
  • Effective use of color, icons, graphics and white space management, enhancing readability and visual appeal
  • Space for useful tips and educational messages (Are you leaving money on the table?)
  • Personalized and relevant information (What is my plan worth today? How does my investment mix compare with my target mix?
  • hat kinds of investment returns am I making?)

How We Helped

Messagepoint’s Integrated Approach guided Sun Life Financial from design through to final testing and production.

  • Our Communications Services team started the project by facilitating extensive research with both employers and employees across the country, to identify their needs and establish measurable success criteria for the new design.
  • Our team of writers and designers collaborated to develop initial concepts, applying plain language and information design principles in new and creative ways.
  • Using full-color preprint and highlight color print technology, we created a statement that reflected the style of Sun Life Financial’s TV and marketing campaigns, reinforcing the brand.
  • By composing prototypes in OpenText Exstream and printing them in the production environment, we were able to test realistic prototypes with groups of employers and employees before launching the new statement to the entire member base.
  • We integrated the statement seamlessly with Messagepoint to deliver personalized, member-specific information.

Sample StatementThe Results

Sun Life Financial’s my statement was ranked number one in the financial services industry, by DALBAR’s 2008 Defined Contribution Pension Plan Trends and Best Practices. The study evaluated different companies’ pension plan statements, and highlighted the statements that most effectively meet investors’ information needs.

Sun Life Financial’s my statement won the Canadian Marketing Association Lettermail Award: Customer Direct Communications, at the 2008 CMA Awards.

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