That begins the transition of the IBEW Local No. 697 Defined Contribution Plan from Vanguard over to Empower.

What’s Not Changing

Rest assured, and as stated previously,

  • The staple of the Plan, meaning the investment line-up, remains the same. What does this mean? It means you will see the exact same investment line-up on the Empower platform that was listed on the Vanguard platform. And,
  • Your contribution elections will be the same at Empower as they were at Vanguard. Further,
  • The rules of the Plan remain the same.

What Is Changing

Just two things. They are:

  • The platform on which your account will reside future forward. And,
  • How you access your account after the Blackout / Freeze period ends.

AFTER the blackout period / freeze period ends, you can access your Defined Contribution Plan’s account in the following three ways:

  • To access your account for the first time, click the Register button.
  • Follow the prompts on the I do not have a PIN tab to enter your personal information and create a username and password.
  • The next time you access your account, simply choose Sign in.

By the App – Download the Empower mobile app by going to the Apple App Store or Google Play by searching for the word “Empower” and looking for the following image:

What You Also Need to Know

  1. An Empower Representative will be at the May 20th, 2024, Membership Meeting.

    At this month’s membership meeting (Monday, May 20th, 2024) Ken Sullivan from Empower will be available before and after the meeting to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have about the upcoming transition over to Empower.

  2. The Blackout / Freeze Period

    As a reminder, the transition will begin with the previously communicated Blackout / Freeze period at 3 P.M. Central Time on May 28th, 2024. During this period, there will be no internet access and/or phone services available. Consequently, participants will not be permitted to conduct any account activity including requesting loans, withdrawals, exchanges, investment allocations changes and payroll deferral changes until after the Blackout / Freeze period. The latter of which will end the week of June 16, 2024.

    If you are thinking that you may need money in the late part of May and the first half of the month of June and wanted to take a disbursement from your Defined Contribution account via a loan, or, if eligible, a withdrawal, you will not be able to do so during the Blackout / Freeze period.

    If you have such a need or plans, you are encouraged to make that request prior to the Blackout / Freeze period, Otherwise, you will have to wait until the week of June 16, 2024, and make your request through Empower.

  3. If You Have a Scheduled Installment Disbursement Payment

    For participants receiving scheduled (automatic) monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual distributions from their Fund, and are due to receive one during the blackout/freeze period, (May 28th thru June 16th) it will be paid out prior to the start of the blackout/freeze period.

    Once the transition from Vanguard to Empower is complete, and unless you changed your direct deposit banking information on or after April 30th, 2024, your installment payments will continue as scheduled.

  4. If You Have an Existing Loan

    If you currently have a loan, meaning, you are making regular payments via an automatic withdrawal from your bank account, you are advised that the transition from Vanguard to Empower will affect your June installment payment as well as all future automatic payments.

You are going to need to act by either:

  1. Requesting from the Fund Office an ACH Debit Authorization form and upon receipt, complete it and return that to the Fund Office ahead of end of the Blackout / Freeze period. Or,
  2. Update your loan repayment bank account details on the Empower participant website and/or mobile app after the account goes live after the blackout / freeze period. To do that, follow the steps below:
    1. Log on to your account.
    2. Click on Account, then your retirement plan name, then Overview
    3. On the Account Overview page, click Loans.
    4. Select your loan, then click Change existing payments.
    5. Click on Edit Bank Account to update your bank account information.
    6. If you do not have banking information on file yet, you may select Use a new bank account to add the account and set up ACH loan payments.

With that said, the Fund highly recommends that you request, complete, and return the ACH Debit Authorization to the Fund Office prior to the Blackout /Freeze period so it can make certain that said information is entered correctly and that your future loan payments remain current.