Auto Portability's Foundational Research
Auto portability is supported by a broad base of empirical research that clearly demonstrates the problems facing American workers (job-changing, systemic friction and 401k cashout leakage) as well as the solution: moving retirement savings forward when participants change jobs.
As much as $2 trillion could be retained in the U.S. retirement systems if Auto Portability were fully implemented, according to new research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
In March 2017, Northern Trust's Sabrina Bailey and Gaobo Pang released the study "The $10,000 Hurdle" which examines the much-improved outcomes that participants experience as their 401(k) accounts cross a $10,000 balance threshold. Bailey and Pang provide empirical evidence for the existence of the threshold, speculate about the behavioral dynamics at work, and finally, suggest means to accelerate asset accumulation, so that the threshold can be crossed earlier.
When it comes to the 401(k) plan feature known as automatic enrollment, most industry observers seem to agree that it’s a good thing.
On May 12th, Retirement Clearinghouse President & CEO J. Spencer Williams unveiled the Auto Portability Simulation (APS) at the Employee Benefit Research Institute's 78th Policy Forum. The APS was developed by Retirement Clearinghouse in conjunction with Dr. Ricki Ingalls, Chair of Computer Information Systems at Texas State University, and Principal at Diamond Head Associates, Inc.
Retirement Clearinghouse, LLC will introduce a first-of-its-kind discrete event simulation at the 78th annual Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) Policy Forum on May 12, 2016.
A February 2016 DCIIA Research Brief points to leakage as undermining retirement savings, citing the RCH / Boston Research Technologies Mobile Workforce Study.
In his December 1, 2015 article (The unintended consequence of 401(k) auto-enrollment), RCH CEO Spencer Williams exposes the linkage between auto enrollment and lower average account balances. Based on Form 5500 data, Williams' analysis presents some excellent examples of industries where average balances are significantly lower in plans that have adopted auto enrollment compared to plans that have not. RCH's Tom Hawkins follows up that article with his own analysis, extending Williams' earlier work.