- Press Releases
- Thought Leadership
- Consolidation Corner
- 401k Consolidation
- Auto Enrollment
- Auto Portability
- Automatic Rollovers
- Cashout Leakage
- DEI, ESG & Social Responsibility
- ERISA Advisory Council
- Lifetime Plan Participation
- Managed Portability
- Missing Participants
- Mandatory Distributions
- Mobile Workforce
- Plan Termination
- Portability Services Network
- Public Policy
- Retirement Income
- Retirement Plan Portability
- Retirement Research
- Safe Harbor IRA
- Uncashed Checks
401k missing participants blog posts
Five Tips for Documenting Missing Participant Searches
If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Opinions are split on this weighty philosophical matter, but a more-definitive answer to another question may surprise you. If a search for a missing participant is not properly documented, is it a diligent search? To regulatory authorities who may scrutinize a plan sponsor’s search efforts, the answer is decidedly “no.” For a regulator to consider a search to be diligent, it must be well-documented, and to do otherwise can result in audits, penalties and increased fiduciary risk. In his latest piece in RCH's Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins offers readers five tips that will help them better-document their missing participant searches.
As Time Passes, The Gains Become Harder
RCH's Tom Hawkins, writing in the Consolidation Corner blog, observes that our nearly 45 year-old defined contribution system may face diminishing returns as it tries to generate future growth, and should focus on quality and efficiency as it simultaneously expands access. Using fitness as an analogy, Hawkins offers a "workout plan" for the DC system, including plugging leakage through increased portability and emergency savings, while fostering increased retirement savings consolidation to avoid an explosion in small accounts. When combined with expanded access initiatives, these measures can dramatically increase Americans' retirement security, over and above expanding access alone.
The Important Task of Determining Participants’ Life Status
Determining retirement plan participants’ life status is an important, albeit uncomfortable task for plan sponsors. The cost of not knowing participants’ life status, or worse, in getting it wrong – can be significant – for the participants, for their beneficiaries and for the plan itself. RCH's Tom Hawkins, writing in the RCH Consolidation Corner blog, examines the challenges facing plan sponsors in determining life status and identifies three proactive strategies for timely and accurate monitoring of changes.
Dialing Up the Intensity of Missing Participant Searches
Writing in RCH’s Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins helps plan sponsors understand how and when they should increase the intensity of their missing participant searches. When it comes to locating missing retirement plan participants, Hawkins notes that “there’s no substitute for an effective electronic, or ‘e-search.’ However, retirement plan sponsors will inevitably encounter scenarios where periodic e-searches alone will not suffice.” Hawkins provides plan sponsors with six actionable steps to increase search intensity and offers tips on how to minimize the cost & effort associated with missing participants.
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."
Why Missing Participants Are So Misunderstood
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."
401(k) Portability in Four Movements
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."
The ‘Fix’ for Missing Participants, Uncashed Distribution Checks and Forgotten Accounts
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.