Auto Portability - Public Policy
Learn more about retirement savings public policy positions related to Auto Portability.
Pensions & Investments' Hazel Bradford reports on the latest EBRI research to examine legislative proposals, including auto-IRAs, that would expand retirement plan coverage. The EBRI study, notes Bradford, finds that "along with mandating that employers with more than 10 workers provide access to auto IRAs and raising the IRS' auto-escalation cap to 15% from the current 10%, EBRI calculated that auto-portability of all defined contribution assets through a clearinghouse would reduce the retirement deficit by 27.1%." Bradford further quotes EBRI Director of Research Jack VanDerhei, who adds: "[w]ith that combination, we can take care of a quarter of the retirement deficit alone for that age cohort."
In her 7/12/19 article, PLANSPONSOR's Rebecca Moore reports on the latest EBRI research to address legislative proposals that expand access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. Once again, the EBRI findings reveal the highly-beneficial, additive impact of auto portability, when considered in tandem with other policy initiatives. The EBRI analysis, which examined various scenarios involving the widespread adoption of auto-IRA programs, found that adding auto portability to the mix resulted in the youngest cohort (35-39) realizing a reduction in their retirement savings shortfall (RSS) of 27.1% under auto portability, vs. 17.3% without the auto portability feature.
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In her 6/10/19 column in The Wall Street Journal, Bailey McCann examines pending regulation from the U.S. Department of Labor on the RCH Auto Portability program, designed to reduce leakage and "help workers bring their retirement accounts with them as they change jobs." McCann quotes RCH founder, President & CEO Spencer Williams, and credits RCH for "develop[ing] the platform that would do the automatic transfers." Also expressing their support are Matthew Drinkwater, Director of Retirement Research at the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, and Alicia Munnell, Director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
ASPPA Net's John Iekel covers EBRI Research Director Jack VanDerhei's 5/1/19 presentation before the PSCA National Conference, where VanDerhei provided an update on auto portability's benefits, as calculated in EBRI's Retirement Security Projection Model (RSPM). According to Iekel, VanDerhei asserted that "introducing auto-portability for participants who are Gen Xers reduced retirement savings shortfalls for couples regardless of which dies first, and for single people regardless of gender."
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In his capacity as Head of US Defined Contribution and Financial Wellness Research, Mercer's Neil Lloyd notes the recent emergence of serious industry dialogue on plan-to-plan retirement savings portability. Long a proponent of portability, Lloyd recognizes the inherent problems associated with holding multiple retirement saving accounts. In his piece, Lloyd strongly advocates for auto portability, stating that it "might be the solution to less efficient small-balance accounts." Lloyd goes further, opining that auto portability should be considered a legislative priority, writing that "SECURE ACT 2 will be vastly improved if provisions further supporting auto-portability are included."
401kTV's Steff Chalk examines the issue of 401(k) cybersecurity, specifically focusing on the benefits of auto portability in the management of cybersecurity risk. Referencing RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams' recent article in Employee Benefit News, Chalk states that "the technology that makes 401k auto-portability possible may also enhance existing industry best practices that protect plan participants’ personal data." Chalk also adds that "plan sponsors [should] embrace 401k auto-portability to lessen the instances of small-balance accounts and missing participants."
On April 16th, as part of their Strategic Issues Webinar Series, the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute delivered the webinar Regulatory and Legislative Trends Impacting the U.S. Retirement System, featuring presenter Michael Kreps, Principal, Groom Law Group, and a highly-influential voice in DC on retirement public policy. Kreps provided an insider's update on auto portability, which he characterized as having the potential to deliver “an enormous boost to the industry and to participants in general.”
In his 4/29/19 article, P&I's Brian Croce addresses the deliberate pace of guidance offered by the Department of Labor (DOL) over the last two years. The article notes that the DOL's advisory opinion "issued for Retirement Clearinghouse LLC over expansion of its auto portability program to reduce plan leakage" was one of two issued thus far, and the only advisory opinion issued in 2018. The article also highlights the ongoing emphasis of the DOL on enforcement & recovery activities with regard to missing participants, a topic of concern for plan sponsors.