Auto Portability - Recent Developments
Find the most-recent auto portability media coverage and developments.
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.
In an April 2019 article in The Leader's Edge Magazine, Zach Ewell examines the emerging concept of synthetic tenure, originated by Retirement Clearinghouse and an important by-product of auto portability. Ewell acknowledges the potential of synthetic tenure to reduce cashout leakage and to preserve retirement savings, and also suggests that employers who facilitate synthetic tenure via portability could realize additional benefits -- demonstrating that they care about employees and in so doing, potentially increasing "real tenure."
In his latest column in Employee Benefit News, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams examines the positive effect auto portability could have on minimizing the cybersecurity threat to America's retirement system. As Williams observes, the scope and scale of cyber-attacks are escalating, and the retirement system is mobilizing to increase protections. Fortunately, says Williams, the same solution designed to address the industry's proliferation of small, stranded accounts -- auto portability -- can augment cybersecurity efforts through consolidation processes, leaving participants and their savings more secure.
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.