In December 2021, the recordkeeper for PERA’s 401(k), 457, and Defined Contribution Plans will transition from Voya Financial (Voya) to Empower Retirement (Empower).
This change means PERA employers will submit employee contributions for the 401(k), 457, and Defined Contribution (DC) plans to PERA and not Voya. The file format you currently use for your 401(k) and 457 payroll contribution file submissions will not change. Additionally, you will continue to use the STARS system to upload data for both the Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution plans.
All employers were emailed a Quick Start Guide (QSG) that explains how to submit data and contributions. The guide explains how to transfer data and contributions through PERA’s Secure Transmission And Reporting System (STARS) related to the upcoming transition of recordkeepers for PERA’s 401(k), 457, and DC Plans.
Download the Quick Start Guide below:Quick Start Guide
If you need assistance with STARS or have questions about the transition to Empower:
- Reach out directly to your Employer Representative
- Call the Employer Relations team at 1-800-759-7372 ext. 3724
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PERA is committed to helping you and will provide additional information to keep you informed and prepared for the recordkeeper transition.
- View the webinar on the upcoming transition
- Download the presentation below:
FAQs about the upcoming transition from Voya to Empower
When will the last payment be submitted to Voya?
While details are still being finalized between PERA and Empower, we anticipate that employers will submit the last payment to Voya in late November 2021. We will continue to notify employers about this exact timing as we progress toward this date. The last day to submit 401(k)/457 files to Voya is November 23. The first day to submit 401(k) and 457 files to PERA is November 24.
When is Empower’s official start date?
While details are still being finalized between PERA and Empower, we anticipate the transition to Empower will be effective in early December 2021. We will continue to notify employers about timing as we progress toward this date.
What will the new payment process entail?
Any 401(k) and 457 payroll contributions will be submitted to PERA and the process is the same process as reporting your defined benefit (DB) and defined contributions (DC) payroll information through PERA’s electronic reporting process called Secure Transmission And Reporting System (STARS). There will be two new tiles on the dashboard to facilitate the submission. Please refer to the QSG for more details.
What major changes should employers expect?
The biggest change will be that employers transmit all employees’ 401(k) and 457 data and funds to PERA similar to how employers transmit employee contributions for the DB and DC Plans.
Does the transition to Empower affect DB members?
The transition to Empower does not affect DB members or contributions to the DB Plan. Empower will be the recordkeeper for PERA’s 401(k), 457 and DC Plans.
Does the transition to Empower affect life insurance enrollments/premium payments?
No. The administrator for PERA’s Life Insurance Program is Unum and enrollments and premium payments should continue to be submitted as they are today.
How do I submit through STARS?
Employers will log into the STARS portal and submit files using the same process as they currently use to submit DB and DC contribution files. We have added additional tiles to the Contribution Reporting Dashboard to facilitate this reporting. Please refer to the QSG for detailed information.
Will Empower accept wire transfer payments?
While ACH payments are preferred, wire transfer payments will be accepted after the transition.
Who should be contacted if there are any issues or corrections needed?
Employers will work directly with the PERA Employer Relations team on file issues, correction or replacement files, or any other issue.
Will there be a penalty if files are submitted late?
Funds must be submitted within the same five-day deadline as is currently in place with DB contribution files.
What is changing?
The recordkeeper, which administers the PERAPlus 401(k)/457 and Defined Contribution (DC) Plans on behalf of Colorado PERA, will be moving from Voya to Empower Retirement eﬀective December 3, 2021. Transition Guides were recently mailed to participants explaining the upcoming transition. Download the Empower Transition Guide below:Empower Transition Guide
Why is PERA changing from Voya to Empower?
PERA is committed to providing participants with access to quality tools and resources to help them pursue their future savings goals and ﬁnancial wellness. As part of that commitment, PERA routinely evaluates service providers to ensure they are partnered with a provider they believe best aligns with their objectives and service standards.
Empower was selected by the PERA Board for its customer service, experience with large public plans like PERA, mobile-friendly technology tools, and modern approach to communicating with members.
Who is affected by this change?
This change will affect anyone who participates in the PERAPlus 401(k)/457 or DC Plans.
How do employees know if they participate in a PERAPlus 401(k)/457 or DC Plan?
Employees can log on to copera.org prior to November 30 to review their plan participation and account balances.
What does this change mean for employees?
- Beginning at 2 p.m. (Mountain time) on November 30, 2021, participants will temporarily have limited to no access to their accounts. This temporary blackout period ends the week of December 5, 2021.
- After the blackout period ends during the week of December 5, participants will manage their DC plan account at coperaplus.org.
- While account balances will transfer to Empower during this transition, participants will remain invested in the same funds in which they are currently invested. All the same funds will also be available after the transition to Empower.
When will the change happen?
Beginning at 2 p.m. (Mountain time) on November 30, 2021, participants will have limited to no access to their accounts. This temporary blackout period ends the week of December 5, 2021. The transition from Voya to Empower becomes effective December 3, 2021.
What do employees have to do?
Participants don’t need to do anything right now unless they want to make changes to their account. We recommend evaluating their retirement planning, as well as their overall financial plan, before the blackout period on November 30.
Once the plans have fully transitioned to Empower during the week of December 5, participants can create their account-specific username and password on coperaplus.org.
What services are unavailable during the blackout period?
During the blackout period participants will be unable to check their account balances; transfer or diversify their investments; or obtain a loan, withdrawal or distribution from their PERAPlus 401(k)/457 or DC Plan account.
Is employees’ money secure during the blackout period?
What do employees need to do to prepare for the blackout period?
Before the blackout period begins, it is very important that participants review and consider the appropriateness of their current investments because they will be unable to transfer or diversify those investments during the blackout period. Participants can review their account before the blackout period begins at copera.org.
Who do employees contact with questions?
If employees have questions about this transition, they should contact Empower at 833-4-COPERA or visit coperaplus.org.