Retirement plan portability blog posts


Towards a Sustainable and “Greener” 401(k) System

RCH’s Tom Hawkins, writing in RCH’s Consolidation Corner blog, reacts to the DOL’s 2/14/22 Request for Information (RFI) seeking comment on ways to “protect life savings and pensions from threats of climate-related financial risk.” In his piece, Hawkins contends that our retirement system itself has significant sustainability problems that are more financially material to future retirees than climate change. Hawkins urges action to address the 401(k) system’s inefficiency and waste, which could “produce more of the ‘green’ that will matter to future retirees.” Hawkins notes the findings of a recent Brookings Institution report on the problem of small retirement accounts, which recommends improvements in “combining accounts” and includes support for auto portability.


Auto Portability Featured in ERISA Advisory Council Report

Writing in the Consolidation Corner blog, RCH’s Tom Hawkins reports on the release of the ERISA Advisory Council’s latest report – “Gaps in Retirement Savings Based on Race, Ethnicity and Gender.” In that report, auto portability was specifically referenced multiple times in testimony by Cindy Hounsell, President of WISER, and the final report included a recommendation to “study the feasibility of a national portability system” – more commonly and accurately known as auto portability. Hawkins found the EAC’s recommendation “remarkable given the fact that it emanated from a diverse group of 14 industry experts holding a wide range of opinions on practically any topic.”


The ‘Great Resignation’ Screams for Improved Retirement-Savings Portability

RCH President and CEO Spencer Williams, writing in the RCH Consolidation Corner blog, breaks down the phenomenon known as The Great Resignation. Williams makes a compelling case that -- for defined contribution plans -- seamless plan-to-plan portability, including auto portability, are absolutely vital to preserving affected participants' retirement savings, and in ensuring that their retirement savings balances are moved forward when they re-enter the workforce.


Kennedy Townsend: Solving Portability and Cashout Leakage are a Key DOL Priority

On 12/6/21, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor for Retirement, served as the keynote speaker at EBRI's 90th Public Policy Forum, and outlined the big-picture, retirement-focused priorities of the DOL. One of the DOL's three priorities is the issue of portability and leakage. RCH's Tom Hawkins examines Townsend's remarks to her EBRI audience, which revealed that she has a clear grasp of the magnitude of the cashout leakage problem, as well as its most-promising solution – enabling plan-to-plan portability.


A Brief History of Auto Portability

Auto portability is a new “automatic” plan feature rapidly gaining acceptance by large defined contribution recordkeepers. While the feature is relatively new, it’s tempting to view auto portability as an “overnight success.” In fact, auto portability has been a long time in the making. In his latest Consolidation Corner article, as well as in an embedded video, RCH's Tom Hawkins examines a “brief history” of auto portability.


Assessing the State of DC Plans & Retirement Savings, 15 Years After the Pension Protection Act

Marking the 15th anniversary of the Pension Protection Act (PPA), RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams offers readers his views on the unintended consequences of that legislation that “continue to reverberate” for both plan participants and sponsors. Acknowledging that the automatic enrollment feature has been successful in promoting increased plan participation, Williams notes that the feature has also resulted in a “sharp uptick in small, stranded 401(k) savings accounts” that – absent easy plan-to-plan asset portability – has led to increased participant fees as well as higher levels of cash outs. In response, Williams observes that “the private and public sectors have worked together to create solutions” such as auto portability, which can help rectify the PPA’s flaws, and allow Americans to save more for retirement.


Four Reasons Why Auto Portability Can't Wait

Writing in RCH's Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins makes the case that auto portability can wait no longer and cites four key reasons that the new "automatic" feature should be adopted. Hawkins' key reasons include: 1) cashout leakage isn't waiting, 2) the "Great Resignation" is accelerating, 3) policy initiatives that expand access to workplace retirement plans require auto portability to realize their intended benefits, and 4) auto portability is here, now and working.


The Top Five Misconceptions About Auto Portability

Auto portability is a new “automatic” plan feature that is rapidly gaining acceptance by large defined contribution recordkeepers serving almost 10 million participants. While the feature is relatively new, it has received a great deal of attention in the media and has also been the beneficiary of definitive regulatory guidance, promulgated by the Department of Labor (DOL). Despite this, significant misconceptions persist about auto portability. The top five misconceptions are presented here, which includes a link to a short video.