Read the latest blog posts by Retirement Clearinghouse addressing the problem of uncashed checks in defined contribution plans.


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.


Beware of Second Order Effects for Retirement Savings Public Policies

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.


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.


How Auto Portability Serves Participants’ Best Interests - Part 3: Auto Portability Could Lower Plan Expenses

In the 3rd installment of his five-part series on "How Auto Portability Serves Participants' Best Interests", RCH's Tom Hawkins examines how a program of auto portability can serve to lower plan expenses by 1) reducing small-balance accounts and 2) increasing plan assets. To illustrate these benefits, Hawkins uses the Auto Portability Simulation (APS) to model a hypothetical, 10,000 participant plan over 40 years, with and without auto portability.


401(k) Consolidation: What Every Plan Sponsor Should Know

Plan sponsors intuitively know that a proliferation of small-balance 401(k) accounts can create problems. But few sponsors are clear on the factors that give rise to small accounts, and fewer still understand how they can utilize portability programs to solve the problem.


Auto Portability Makes Everything Better

In his December 2017 Consolidation Corner blog post, Tom Hawkins writes about auto portability's special qualities. Great all by itself, auto portability also makes a lot of other retirement savings public policy initiatives a lot better.