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Voya receives DALBAR’s ‘ESG Retirement Plan Certification,’ earns 5-star rating for second year in a row

Recognized for the company’s own 401(k) plans, Voya remains the only recordkeeper to receive DALBAR’s annual certification

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), announced today that it has received an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Retirement Plan Certification for the second year in a row from DALBAR, Inc., a leading expert in the retirement plan industry for evaluating, auditing and rating business practices. As the only recordkeeper in the industry to receive DALBAR’s ESG Retirement Plan Certification, Voya is being recognized, along with a five-star rating, for the 401(k) plans offered to its own employees.

“At Voya, we believe it’s important for us to embrace a broad view of ESG factors in our benefits offerings. This includes applying ESG principles to decisions and practices related to managing and administering our 401(k) plans,” stated Kevin Silva, executive vice president and chief human resources officer, Voya Financial. “DALBAR’s ESG Retirement Plan Certification provides an opportunity for employers of all sizes to assess and improve their retirement plans while demonstrating a broader commitment to conducting business in a responsible and ethical manner. We are proud to once again have met DALBAR’s standards of excellence and believe this further demonstrates our commitment to providing our employees with benefits that meet a broad range of health and wealth needs while also having a positive impact on the world around us.”

Recognizing the growing role of ESG, DALBAR first introduced its ESG Retirement Plan Certification in late 2020. The certification is now an annual process to evaluate a plan’s success in actively applying ESG principles. Specifically, this includes a review of all ESG factors, including:

  • Environmental factors such as paper suppression, automatic enrollment and online capabilities;
  • Social factors, including premature withdrawal options, matching contributions, phone center capabilities, and pre- and post-retirement support; and
  • Governance factors such as plan fees, regulation compliance and investment policies.

As the ability to attract and retain talent continues to remain a top priority for companies today, the increasing interest in ESG factors that align with employees’ values and their financial well-being objectives, particularly when it comes to one’s retirement plan, makes it a focus that has broad appeal and benefits. According to research from Voya, more than half (63%) of those Americans working full- or part-time are “somewhat” or “very interested” in access to retirement plan investment options focused on a positive impact on ESG issues as part of their workplace benefits.1 And this number grows even higher for millennials (72%),2 the largest generation in the U.S. workforce.3

“While many employees are interested in ESG investment options, they are also interested in whether their retirement plans walk the talk. For employer-sponsored retirement plans, this growing interest in ESG presents unique opportunities,” added Heather Lavallee, CEO of Wealth Solutions at Voya. “Some of our own data at Voya has found that 60% of participants are likely to contribute more to an ESG-certified retirement plan.4 For employers, being able to highlight the benefits involved with ESG Retirement Plan Certification — including one’s commitment to serving their local and global community — can help address many factors that directly and indirectly influence employee plan participation — and, ultimately, employee retirement outcomes.”

“In the way that electric vehicles are replacing legacy automobiles today, ESG is rapidly becoming a business principle that enhances and protects firms that adopt it,” said Louis Harvey, president and CEO of DALBAR, Inc. “DALBAR’s ESG Certification of retirement plans demonstrates when those ESG standards are maintained at the highest level.”

Employers interested in pursuing the certification can learn more at the DALBAR ESG Retirement Plan Certification website and should contact their defined contribution plan’s recordkeeper to find out how they can work with DALBAR to begin the certification process.

As an industry leader focused on the delivery of health, wealth and investment solutions to and through the workplace, Voya Financial is committed to delivering on its mission to make a secure financial future possible for all Americans — one person, one family, one institution at a time.

1. & 2. Based on the results of an Ipsos survey conducted June 3-4, 2021, on the Ipsos eNation omnibus online platform among 1,005 adults aged 18+ in the U.S.

3. PEW Research Center, “Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force,” (April 2018).

4. Voya “ESG Principles & Investing” study conducted through Voya’s Online Consumer Community with n=101 consumers balanced by age and gender (June 2020).

DALBAR, Inc. is a leading financial services market research firm that performs a variety of ratings and evaluations of practices and communications, committed to raising the standards of excellence in the financial services and health care industries. DALBAR is a separate entity and not a corporate affiliate of Voya Financial®. The DALBAR ESG Retirement Plan Certification criteria fall into three categories: Environmental (Paper Suppression, Automatic Enrollment, Online Capabilities), Social (Premature Withdrawal Options, Matching Contributions, Phone Center Capabilities, Pre-/Post-Retirement Support) and Governance (Reasonable Plan Fees, Compliance with Applicable Regulations, Sound Investment Policy, Investment Review, Third-Party Requirements). There is an annual fee for ESG Plan Certification, which is uniform for all participants in the program and based on the number of participants in the plan (<1,000 participants is $500, 1,000 – 10,000 participants is $2,500, >10,000 participants is $5,000). The DALBAR ESG Certification does not reflect actual client experiences or outcomes and is not indicative of future performance. Voya provided assistance to DALBAR in developing the ESG Plan Certification. DALBAR asked Voya to participate in the data collection process and to provide DALBAR feedback on the questionnaire process from a client perspective. Voya participated in a beta test for certification. The certification process was run by DALBAR, and Voya had no opportunity to influence the outcome. The certification is based on factors that are pass/fail and will be consistently applied to all plans seeking the certification

About Voya Financial®

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA) is a leading health, wealth and investment company that provides products, solutions and technologies that help Americans become well planned, well invested and well protected. Serving the needs of 14.3 million individual, workplace and institutional clients, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $4.2 billion in revenue in 2021 and $707 billion in total assets under management and administration as of March 31, 2022. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is purpose-driven and is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible. Voya has earned recognition as: one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; a member of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index; and a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index. For more information, visit Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @Voya.


DALBAR, Inc., is the financial community’s leading independent expert for evaluating, auditing and rating business practices, customer performance, product quality and service. Launched in 1976, DALBAR has earned the recognition for consistent and unbiased evaluations of insurance companies, investment companies, registered investment advisers, broker-dealers, retirement plan providers and financial professionals. DALBAR awards are recognized as the marks of excellence in the financial community.



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