Consolidation Corner Blog

Consolidation Corner is the Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) blog, and features the latest articles and bylines from our executives, addressing important retirement savings portability topics.


This Earth Day, We are Reminded to Recycle 401(k) Savings, Instead of Adding to the Landfill of Safe Harbor IRAs

On April 22, we will celebrate the 54th annual Earth Day, which gives us the opportunity to celebrate our planet’s natural surroundings and contemplate how we can help preserve them. The advent, and ongoing expansion of recycling programs has enabled our society to reduce our waste—and although there is still quite a long way to go, we have evolved significantly from the post-World War II throwaway culture. Writing in the RCH Consolidation Corner blog, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams uses the occasion of Earth Day to extend the recycling concept to our nation's 401(k) system, where auto portability can facilitate the emergence of a more sustainable paradigm, increasing retirement security for millions of Americans.


A More-Enlightened Approach to Uncashed Distribution Checks

No retirement plan sponsor likes the idea of dealing with uncashed distribution checks, nor do they wish to draw unwanted regulatory attention or to become embroiled in costly litigation. Unfortunately, many plan sponsors place themselves in precisely that spot, becoming unnecessarily over-burdened with unresolved uncashed checks, while inviting unwanted regulatory scrutiny and/or legal challenges by having flawed uncashed check policies. In his 2/8/24 article in RCH's Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins lays out a "more-enlightened" approach to the problem of uncashed distribution checks, seeking to minimize their numbers, while simultaneously steering clear of the “red flags” that could land them in hot water.


Four Retirement Initiatives Vital to Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

Writing in the RCH Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins examines four retirement initiatives that could help in closing America's racial wealth gap. Leading off the article, Hawkins cites U.S. Treasury research identifying a significant racial wealth gap that has remained essentially unchanged over the past 20 years. In the retirement space, Hawkins identifies expanded access, auto portability, emergency savings and the Saver's Match as key initiatives that will make significant contributions to closing the gap, provided that retirement plan sponsors fully embrace and support them.


Auto Portability is Poised to Make an Even Bigger Impact in 2024

Writing in RCH's Consolidation Corner, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams looks ahead to the New Year, when a key provision of the SECURE 2.0 Act—increasing the limit on small 401(k) accounts subject to automatic rollovers into safe-harbor IRAs from $5,000 to $7,000—goes into effect. While this development will cause more job-changing participants to be subject to automatic rollover provisions, the advent of auto portability could mean that these participants could ultimately fare much better, as auto portability's adoption accelerates. Williams references new results from RCH's Auto Portability Simulation (APS), which indicate that the new provisions -- when combined with auto portability -- could deliver even greater benefits in terms of reducing cashout leakage and preserving retirement savings, and offers plan sponsors with two New Year's resolutions to proactively respond to the changes.


Four Key Findings from the New Auto Portability Simulation

Writing in the RCH Consolidation Corner blog, RCH's Tom Hawkins summarizes the four key findings from the firm's Auto Portability Simulation, a discrete event simulation that models the impacts of auto portability over a 40-year period, and are detailed in a new white paper, Revisiting the Auto Portability Simulation: The Impact of the Portability Services Network, SECURE 2.0 and Expanded Access. Hawkins contends that the new APS analysis has improved the model’s predictive accuracy by incorporating new parameters that reflect “changing realities” driven by three major developments: 1) the advent of the Portability Services Network, 2) the passage of the SECURE 2.0 Act and 3) ongoing progress in expanding access to workplace retirement savings plans. The paper's four key findings highlight the growth of the participant population that will be subject to mandatory distributions, as well as auto portability’s effects on reducing cashout leakage, generating incremental retirement wealth, and delivering benefits to minorities and lower-income workers.


Auto Portability: It’s About the Participants

Writing in RCH's Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins reminds readers what auto portability is all about -- improving the retirement security of marginalized defined contribution participants. These participants -- comprised largely of minorities, women, younger and lower-income participants -- not only need auto portability the most, but there's solid evidence that they want it as well. To support his claim, Hawkins cites three highly-regarded surveys that have found a strong participant preference for auto portability and for consolidating small balances within the defined contribution system, and believes that recent developments will "augur well for Americans’ retirement security."


No One is Coming to Save You from Missing Participants

Writing in RCH's Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins provides his views on the dilemma facing plan sponsors who must confront the problem of locating missing plan participants. Despite ongoing efforts petitioning regulatory authorities for clear, bright line guidance, plan sponsors "must take decisive action to avoid being overwhelmed, including implementing effective, common-sense search practices, and pairing those search practices with other actions that will minimize the incidence of missing participants over time." Hawkins also urges plan sponsors to consider embracing retirement savings portability, including auto portability, to assist separated participants in consolidating their retirement savings following a job change.


A Perfect Storm is Brewing—But Automated Portability Could Defuse It

RCH and PSN President & CEO Spencer Williams, writing in the Consolidation Corner blog, notes that a rising incidence of hardship withdrawals and 401(k) loans – as reported by Bank of America – combined with a pending increase in the account-balance limit for automatic rollovers effective 12/31/23, could create a “perfect storm” for depleting Americans’ retirement savings. “Fortunately,” writes Williams, “sponsors and recordkeepers have access to a solution that can help them clean up their plans without automatically rolling terminated accounts into safe-harbor IRAs.” Auto portability, continues Williams, is a “capability [that] is more essential than ever, with 401(k) plan enrollment continuing to increase” and could serve to defuse the brewing storm of potential cash-outs.