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401k missing participants blog posts
Three Ways 401(k) Plan Sponsors Can Boost Participants’ Awareness on National Financial Awareness Day
Writing in the RCH Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins draws attention to National Financial Awareness Day, which falls on August 14th. In his piece, Hawkins offers plan sponsors 3 steps they can take to increase financial awareness. Plan sponsors who follow these steps, asserts Hawkins, "won’t simply produce more awareness in the minds of their participants, they’ll generate quantifiable results, coming in the form of decreased cashouts, higher levels of consolidation and average plan balances, as well as a lower incidence of missing participants."
Writing in the Consolidation Corner blog, RCH's Tom Hawkins examines the topic of missing participants, which he states: "is a problem that’s ill-defined and poorly understood, and where fundamental misunderstandings exist, inadequate solutions – paired with the prospect of unwanted regulatory attention or audits – can follow." Hawkins asserts that "taking proactive steps to conduct searches, and turning on plan features that promote retirement savings portability are the key steps required to getting off the missing participant treadmill."
RCH's Tom Hawkins examines the experience of a very large (250,000+ participants) 401(k) plan sponsor that has been highly successful in delivering improved participant outcomes by incrementally adopting a full program of retirement savings portability. Looking at four distinct five-year periods that coincided with increasing levels of portability and improved participant outcomes, Hawkins writes that "there’s no finer example of those [improved] outcomes than the multi-year, real-world experience of this plan sponsor, where thousands of participants increased their prospects for a timely and comfortable retirement."
Auto portability has received a lot of well-deserved attention for its ability to reduce cashout leakage by automatically consolidating small-balance retirement savings, but its effect on preserving participants’ retirement savings is only half of its compelling story. In this article in the RCH Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins explores how auto portability can also act as the 'fix' for the related problems of missing participants, uncashed distribution checks and small, forgotten 401(k) accounts.
As 2021 comes to a close, RCH EVP Neal Ringquist offers 401(k) plan sponsors his suggestions for three 2022 resolutions that, if acted on, could deliver significant benefits for their plans, for their participants and ultimately for the entire 401(k) ecosystem. Ringquist bases his suggestions on several pivotal events that occurred in 2021, underscoring the need to deploy true plan-to-plan portability to solve the problem of cashout leakage.
RCH's Tom Hawkins examines “second order effects” that can occur with retirement savings public policies currently that would dramatically expand access to, and participation in, defined contribution plans. While the benefits are impressive, additional undesired consequences can arise that are antithetical to the policies’ original intent, including increased cashout leakage, missing participants, uncashed checks and forgotten/stranded accounts. Understanding these highly predictable second order effects, Hawkins identifies plan-to-plan portability as a means of addressing them, while significantly boosting the overall policies’ benefits.
RCH’s newly-appointed EVP of Public Policy, Renée Wilder Guerin finds a lot to like in the 7/28/21 Senate Finance Committee hearing, where lawmakers heard testimony on how to increase retirement savings, including tackling the longstanding problems of cashout leakage, missing participants and “forgotten” retirement savings accounts. Wilder Guerin notes that auto portability was favorably mentioned twice by Aliya Robinson (SVP, Retirement & Compensation Policy for ERIC), as a policy initiative her organization – comprised of the nation’s largest plan sponsors – supports. Coming on the heels of EBRI’s 21st Annual Retirement Confidence Survey, where nearly 9 in 10 participants indicated their preference for the feature, Senate Finance Committee testimony “bodes extremely well for auto portability’s widespread adoption, as well as the enactment of public policies that further enhance it.”
Writing in RCH's Consolidation Corner blog, RCH President & CEO cautions plan sponsors to be wary of an increased incidence of missing participants arising from COVID-19 related migration patterns. To make the case, Williams links 2020 migration data with recent address location research conducted by RCH. Taken together, these data points suggest that sponsors could soon be faced with a higher-than-expected incidence of "hidden" stale addresses. In response, Williams suggests that sponsors consider a program of "robust missing participant search techniques" including the use of more-reliable, "optimized" electronic searches.