Auto Portability - Recent Developments
Find the most-recent auto portability media coverage and developments.
PLANSPONSOR's Rebecca Moore examines recent analysis by Retirement Clearinghouse that looks at the twin problems of 401(k) missing participants and cashouts. The RCH analysis, based upon RCH's Auto Portability Simulation and Boston Research Technologies' March 2018 Missing Participant Survey, compares and contrasts the two problems from a systemic perspective, and offers auto portability as a strategic solution to minimize both. Moore's piece also references a previous article by RCH CEO Spencer Williams, and quotes RCH's Neal Ringquist and Tom Hawkins.
RCH's Tom Hawkins reveals new research that predicts 401(k) participant outcomes following separation for two balance segments – those above & below $15,000. Using logic developed in the Auto Portability Simulation to track & tally participant outcomes 8 years following separation, the results reveal a startling contrast between the two segments – with participants in the over-$15,000 segment experiencing far-superior outcomes to those in the under-$15,000 segment. To address the disparities, Hawkins advocates for a new “automatic” in the form of auto portability.
The Wall Street Journal's Anne Tergesen takes a look at the latest research on auto-enrolled participants in 401(k)-style plans, which finds that these workers tend to treat these savings "like automated-teller machines" -- a phenomenon known in the retirement industry as "leakage." To support her point, Tergesen uses data supplied by Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH), indicating that 60% of 401(k) participants with balances below $10,000 will cash out their savings, paying income taxes and a 10% penalty. Tergesen also notes that "policy experts recommend automating the process of transferring money from an old employer's plan to a new employer's plan" -- a process known as auto portability.
On 8/9/18, the Editorial Staff of the Retirement Income Journal reported that the Treasury Department will transfer remaining, unmoved assets from the myRA program (discontinued in 2017) into Roth IRA accounts at Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH). The article references the notice posted on the myRA.gov website, which provides current myRA accountholders with instructions on how to withdraw or transfer their balances prior to the deadline of August 31, 2018, as well as providing information about going-forward arrangements for account balances that are moved to RCH. Also highlighted are RCH's ongoing efforts to obtain regulatory approval for auto portability, a clearing system that will "automatically transfer 401(k) assets....when a participant changes jobs."
On 8/8/18, ASSPA Net's John Iekel reviews the 7/26/18 article in BenefitsPRO by RCH's Tom Hawkins, which draws a comparison between 401(k) missing participants and cashouts. In making the argument that 401(k) cashouts could be "orders-of-magnitude worse" than missing participants, Iekel summarizes Hawkins' logic, including: 1) missing participants have preserved their savings, 2) participants cashing out are far more numerous than those going missing and 3) almost two-thirds of cashouts are unnecessary. Hawkins' answer to address both problems, says Iekel, is the "introduction of auto-portability."
The Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) features a guest article by RCH's Tom Hawkins, showcasing research presented at a 5/22/18 WISER forum, indicating that women with small 401(k) balances cash out more frequently than their male counterparts. As women’s 401(k) balances grow, they become more likely than men to preserve their retirement savings. These behaviors, along with the results of the Auto Portability Simulation, suggest that a program of retirement savings portability could incubate women’s small 401(k) balances, allowing them to more effectively grow their savings to higher balance levels, where more beneficial behaviors can prevail.
In his 7/26/18 article in BenefitsPRO, RCH's Tom Hawkins addresses the dual problems of missing participants and 401(k) cashouts, which both share common causes – a mobile American workforce and a lack of retirement savings portability. While missing participants are bad and have been receiving a great deal of attention, the issue of 401(k) cashouts is actually much worse, as annual cashouts outpace new missing participant accounts by a factor of almost 25-to-1. Fortunately, retirement savings portability, in the form of auto portability, delivers a “two-fer” by providing a strategic solution to both.
401k Specialist features a July 2018 article by RCH's Tom Hawkins, addressing recent public policy activities on the issue of retirement savings portability. In his article, Hawkins examines three developments, all taking place in late June, and looks ahead to the anticipated delivery of an Advisory Opinion by the Department of Labor on auto portability.