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Retirement plan portability blog posts
In a 9/13/21 Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) webinar (The Impact of Proposed Legislative Changes on Retirement Income Adequacy), EBRI Research Director Jack VanDerhei presented an analysis of pending legislative changes, including automatic contribution plans and arrangements (ACPAs), paired with a refundable saver’s credit. Unsurprisingly, the benefits for these policy initiatives were quite large. However, what was truly surprising was the sheer magnitude of incremental benefits delivered by the addition of auto portability, significantly paring retirement shortfalls for 35–39-year-olds, across all race and ethnicity categories.
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.”
In his latest post in RCH’s Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins takes a deep dive into draft SECURE 2.0 provisions that dramatically expand the purpose, scope and scale of a Retirement Savings Lost & Found. The new provisions, contends Hawkins, would create a massive, government-run repository of micro-balance accounts costing taxpayers millions, while failing to boost retirement security. Hawkins encourages Congress to return to an earlier Lost & Found model, while addressing the broader, small-balance account problem through policies incentivizing the adoption of auto portability.
Writing in RCH's Consolidation Corner, RCH EVP Tom Johnson reports on the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) 5/13/21 hearing on retirement security. With testimony from a blue-ribbon panel of witnesses, the hearing had a broad focus, but the topic of retirement savings leakage, and its most-promising solution, auto portability, were prominently featured in testimony by EBRI CEO Lori Lucas, and echoed by other witnesses and Committee members.
America’s 401(k) system, long plagued by friction, produces $92.4 billion of excessive cash-out leakage annually. In recent years and culminating in 2021, the private sector has finally “cracked the code” and is delivering innovative fintech solutions, combined with education and personal assistance to reduce friction and to enable true 401(k) portability.
Following on to the 2013 study by Boston Research Group (now Boston Research Technologies), a new study released by Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) revisits a mega plan sponsor’s ongoing experience with a program of 401(k) retirement savings portability, and finds that not only have the benefits of the original program persisted, they’ve grown, with plan participants continuing to realize significant, measurable benefits.
Writing in RCH's Consolidation Corner, Tom Hawkins offers 401(k) plan sponsors "one simple trick" -- retirement savings portability -- to radically boost their participants' financial wellness. Best of all, writes Hawkins, "adopting a program of retirement savings portability has never been easier" and the measurable benefits accrue not only to participants, but to the plan, the retirement system and even to retirement savings public policy initiatives.