Auto Portability - Recent Developments
Find the most-recent auto portability media coverage and developments.
On Earth Day 2019, as we focus on creating a sustainable and eco-friendly environment, it's worth considering how the application of similar principles would benefit our retirement system. America’s 401(k) system is unsustainable – urgently requiring an upgrade to effectively deliver on its intended goal – helping millions of Americans enjoy a timely and comfortable retirement. The good news is that we're beginning to see important signs of action that could ultimately address the problem.
In the 2nd installment of his five-part series in 401k Specialist "How Auto Portability Serves Participants' Best Interests", RCH's Tom Hawkins examines how auto portability, by extending and enhancing elements of automatic rollovers, establishes a new standard of participant care. Auto portability, writes Hawkins, protects participants by: 1) minimizing time spent in a safe harbor IRA, 2) eliminating the need to cash out balances less than $1,000, 3) enhancing participant communication, 4) formally integrating a robust address location search and 5) establishing a transparent, simple & straightforward fee structure.
Jack VanDerhei, EBRI Research Director, envisions a critical role for auto portability in solving America's retirement crisis. In a recent symposium conducted by TheStreet in New York, VanDerhei identified four key retirement challenges -- plan coverage, long-term care costs, longevity and leakage. VanDerhei predicted that leakage will be addressed when auto portability "become[s] a part of the retirement landscape" and "little account balances, which are really highly-susceptible to being cashed out" are automatically consolidated into larger 401(k) balances.
April 15 is just around the corner. While many Americans dread Tax Day, April 15 presents defined contribution plan sponsors with an opportunity to demonstrate their value as fiduciaries, and as financial wellness advocates. Anyone who is 18 or older, not a full-time student, and not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return is eligible for a retirement savings contributions credit (also known as a saver’s credit). This tax credit rewards people for making eligible contributions to their IRAs or employer-sponsored retirement plans. In his latest article in Employee Benefit News, Retirement Clearinghouse CEO Spencer Williams advocates for Millennials to invest the credit in their retirement plan, rather than spend it.
PLANSPONSOR's Amanda Umpierrez examines the latest research from EBRI revealing decreasing employee tenure, concluding that shorter tenure could adversely impact retirement plan success. Umperriez quotes RCH EVP Neal Ringquist, who ties decreasing tenure to destructive outcomes, such as cashing out, and RCH CEO Spencer Williams, who advocates for immediate plan eligibility and adoption of automatic enrollment provisions. Finally, EBRI's Craig Copeland, author of the research, addresses the beneficial impact of auto portability, stating that “[a]uto-portability will play an increasingly important role because it helps a lot with balance preservation.”
In their March 20th webinar "Achieving Retirement Income Equivalency Between Final-Average-Pay Defined Benefit Plans and Automatic Enrollment 401(k) Plans in the Private Sector", the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) revealed more research supporting the case for auto portability, with their finding that auto portability could dramatically improve defined contribution plan performance for young Millennials.
In his 3/22/19 article in BenefitsPRO, Pentegra's RIchard Rausser advocates for auto portability as a means to address the serious problem of "leakage" from the 401(k) retirement system. Rausser's article first looks to research from the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to underscore the dimensions of the leakage problem, and goes on to cite EBRI research that demonstrates the positive impact of auto portability. Rausser concludes by referencing the DOL's November 2018 actions on RCH's auto portability program, including the pending prohibited transaction exemption, stating that "others in the industry are strongly in favor of auto-portability."
In his five-part series in 401kSpecialist, RCH's Tom Hawkins identifies five key reasons why an auto portability program serves the best interests of plan participants. Part 1 of the series examines the dramatically improved participant outcomes that result from a program of auto portability. Those outcomes, Hawkins contends, demonstrate that plan sponsors who adopt auto portability are acting prudently and solely in the interests of their plan’s participants and beneficiaries.