During a session at Benefits Canada‘s 2022 DC Plan Summit, Simon Cabral, Scotiabank’s director of global defined contribution plans, shared how the organization ties employees’ financial wellness into their broader well-being.

A few years ago, the bank rebranded its benefits offering, linking its benefits, retirement savings and employee share ownership plans. The new strategy includes a dedicated intranet page that brings everything together but, most importantly, shows employees how they can best use the various programs for themselves and their families.

As of May 2022, about 17,000 Scotiabank employees were in its DC plan, which has about $250 million in assets. Employees are enrolled with an initial five per cent contribution with a maximum four per cent employer match. “This is a big expense to the bank,” said Cabral. “We want to make sure our employees understand how this works and how they can best take advantage of it.”

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Even more popular is the bank’s ESOP, which is more flexible than the DC plan. To participate in both plans, the bank asks employees to contribute 10 per cent of their earnings. “We take a bit of a paternalistic approach with offering a DC plan. [With the] ESOP, you can go in and you can withdraw at your leisure for a variety of different reasons.”

Scotiabank also offers employees discounts on banking services, credit cards and insurance, which all tie into financial well-being. “I’ve been the benefactor of our insurance plan when our basement flooded back in the fall,” said Cabral. “I called up my Scotiabank insurance advisor and I got it taken care of. But, more importantly, I got a nice discount on that.

“When you’re thinking about it from a financial well-being perspective, in inflationary times like this, when you’re looking to save money, get your dollar to go a little further, taking advantage of programs like this can really go a long way. Part of our role is to better educate our folks on that so they can do just that.”

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The bank’s health benefits also tie into financial well-being, he noted, including the progress it made on its mental-health offering during the pandemic. It increased its mental-health coverage to $10,000 from $3,000 for all employees and their dependants. “If you need that support with a psychologist or a social worker, we don’t want money to be the factor that holds you back.”

And when it comes to engaging employees in these various programs, Scotiabank introduced its ‘Money Chronicles’ series in 2019, which uses personas to ensure the programs are well understood. These personas include a 27-year-old hopeful homeowner in Toronto, a single mother looking to save for her children’s education, a savvy employee looking to adjust their long-term investment strategy and a health-conscious employee with a focus on well-being.

“The ‘Money Chronicles’ [series] has been so popular that a number of countries that we operate in have asked us to expand it there to help them better educate their folks on the programs that we have internationally,” said Cabral.

Read more coverage of the 2022 DC Plan Summit.