Safe harbor IRA blog posts


Sep
15
2022

How Consultants Can Miss the Mark on 401(k) Automatic Rollovers

401(k) plan consultants have been forceful advocates for the adoption of best practices at leading retirement plan sponsors. However, when it comes to automatic rollover programs, plan consultants sometimes miss the mark, at least in terms of participant outcomes. RCH's Tom Hawkins, writing in the Consolidation Corner blog, makes the case that 401(k) plan consultants should extend their analysis to emphasize those automatic rollover program components that help participants improve their retirement outcomes by avoiding cashouts, moving their retirement savings forward, and keeping their stay in safe harbor IRAs as brief as possible.

May
23
2022

Re-Thinking the Automatic Rollover IRA

Selecting an automatic rollover IRA provider used to be easy. Most 401(k) plan sponsors simply accepted the solution offered through their recordkeeper or TPA. Others performed due diligence, using a limited set of criteria including basic fees, investment options and accountholder service. Few, however, considered the grim realities facing terminated participants forced out into safe harbor IRAs, including excessive cashouts, forgotten accounts, hidden fees, and barriers to exit. Now, it's incumbent upon plan sponsors to fundamentally “re-think” these programs, incorporating five new criteria to ensure that automatic rollover IRA programs are fiduciary-friendly, while dramatically improving participants’ retirement outcomes.

May
16
2022

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."

Sep
29
2021

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.

Nov
16
2020

Bringing Sunlight to the Dark Corners of Safe Harbor IRA Fees

Safe harbor IRAs exist due to the success of 401(k) plans, combined with the propensity of America’s mobile workforce to change jobs. While safe harbor IRAs have helped plan sponsors mitigate their cost and risk associated with small accounts, they’ve failed miserably for former participants. In his latest article in RCH’s Consolidation Corner, Tom Hawkins focuses sunlight on the unsavory practice of excessive safe harbor IRA fees, and offers advice to plan sponsors for promoting greater fee transparency and disclosure.

Nov
05
2020

Broadcast Retirement Network Features Segment on ‘Small Account Problem’

On Wednesday, 11/4/20 the Broadcast Retirement Network’s Jeff Snyder interviewed Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) President & CEO Spencer Williams and Alight Solutions’ Vice President & Head of Research Rob Austin to address the 401(k) system’s small account problem – where high levels of cashout leakage in small balance segments perennially robs millions of participants of a timely or comfortable retirement.

Oct
21
2019

Safe-Harbor IRAs are Supposed to be Temporary

Writing in RCH's Consolidation Corner blog, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams observes that safe-harbor IRAs -- created by the EGTRRA-mandated automatic rollover process -- were never intended to be "permanent retirement savings vehicles." Too often, argues Williams, the relief plan sponsors realize from automatic rollovers comes at the expense of participant outcomes -- who experience high levels of cashouts, low investment returns and savings-depleting fees. With the advent of auto portability, participants will spend less time in a safe harbor IRA, and "plan sponsors no longer have to consider trading participant outcomes for administrative convenience."

Sep
27
2019

The Auto Portability Imperative

In the fifth installment of his five-part series on 401(k) cashout leakage, RCH's Tom Hawkins addresses auto portability, a solution that not only makes sound business sense, but delivers a positive societal impact for the corporations adopting it. Citing the recent Statement of Purpose from members of the Business Roundtable, Hawkins believes that as these socially-conscious corporations examine auto portability, they’ll quickly become convinced that auto portability is both a sound business decision, as well as the right thing to do.

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