Auto Portability - Public Policy
Learn more about retirement savings public policy positions related to Auto Portability.
At the end of 2018, major retirement industry organizations were asked to comment on the DOL’s proposed prohibited transaction exemption (PTE) for the Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) auto portability program. After a brief delay brought about by the partial federal government shutdown, all official comments have been publicly posted. If the views of these organizations are any indication, auto portability has a bright future.
In his ongoing "Barry's Pickings" column for PLANSPONSOR, Michael Barry, president of O3 Plan Advisory Services LLC, gives the U.S. Department of Labor an 'A' for its November 2018 issuance of a proposed Prohibited Transaction Exemption (PTE) and an Advisory Opinion on Auto Portability. Barry adds: "as a long-time advocate of the establishment of a clearinghouse, I view this as very good news."
In an article carried in their WISERWoman Fall 2018 newsletter, the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) spreads the "good news" that the U.S. Department of Labor has issued an Advisory Opinion on auto portability, clearing the path for the automatic transfer of small 401(k) balances of $5,000 or less. The WISER article also notes that women are hard-hit by retirement savings cashout leakage, with 2.4 million women cashing out $28 billion per year from 401(k) plans.
In response to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration’s (EBSA) recent approval of the RCH Auto Portability program, the American Benefits Council commended the agency for its efforts to address the problems of leakage and missing participants. It also suggested that the DOL extend RCH's portability exemption to pre-existing safe harbor IRAs. In a December 20th letter to the DOL, the Council voiced its support, noting that the proposed exemption “appears to include sufficient safeguards for participants, including an extensive set of notice requirements.”
In his 12/17/18 opinion piece in The Daily Caller, Paris Dennard examines some of the Trump administration's economic policies toward black Americans, identifying the Labor Department's auto portability rule change as "allowing Americans, especially minorities, the ability to preserve their retirement savings when they change jobs."
RealClear Politics' Ian Schwartz covers the 12/12/18 White House event marking the establishment of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, and focuses specifically on remarks made by the RLJ Companies founder and Retirement Clearinghouse majority owner Robert L. Johnson. In his remarks, Mr. Johnson thanks the administration for the Department of Labor's recent actions on Auto Portability, noting that the auto portability program could result in "close to $800 billion" in incremental retirement savings for minority Americans.
On 12/12/18, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order establishing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, intended to facilitate long-term equity investments in low-income communities designated as "qualified opportunity zones." Among the distinguished guests at the event was entrepreneur Robert L. Johnson, founder of the RLJ Companies and majority owner of Retirement Clearinghouse. Mr. Johnson took the opportunity to congratulate the administration and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) for their role in the Department of Labor's recent Advisory Opinion on auto portability, noting that auto portability will preserve $800 billion in minorities' retirement savings.
Video available on YouTube's White House channel here (queued to start at the President's introduction of Mr. Johnson)
In her 12/4/18 article in MarketWatch, noted economist and retirement researcher Alicia H. Munnell applauds the Department of Labor's favorable actions toward the RCH auto portability program. Munnell highlights the dilemma facing millions of Americans each year, who leave their jobs and cash out their retirement savings, and cites the ongoing efforts by RCH's Spencer Williams and Tom Johnson in crafting the solution, auto portability. Munnell aptly characterizes auto portability's recent progress as being "so lovely to see a win for the 401(k) system."
Also featured in Morningstar News (link)