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Auto Portability's Foundational Research
Auto portability is supported by a broad base of empirical research that clearly demonstrates the problems facing American workers (job-changing, systemic friction and 401k cashout leakage) as well as the solution: moving retirement savings forward when participants change jobs.
In his weekly Anecdotal Evidence column entitled "How Much Retooling Does the 401(k) Need?", Retirement Income Journal publisher Kerry Pechter covers two important weekly events -- the ERISA Advisory Council meeting and the EBRI webinar on their Retirement Security Projection Model (RSPM). For the EBRI event, Pechter notes that auto portability is a key public policy initiative in the "EBRI super model" and cites auto portability's benefits as reducing "retirement shortages for ages 35-39 by between 17% and 23%."
At a May 22nd, 2018 Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) roundtable, Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) EVP Tom Johnson debuts new women's 401(k) cashout leakage statistics. This important new data highlights the challenges that women face in preserving their small-balance 401(k) retirement savings when changing jobs, and also points to the promise of auto portability to preserve these savings in order to achieve higher balance levels, where more virtuous behaviors can prevail.
Boston Research Technologies and Retirement Clearinghouse have issued a joint press release announcing the key findings from a first-of-its-kind survey examining the retirement industry’s missing participant problem. The survey is the first to examine the problem from the perspective of the participant, offering unique insights into its various dimensions.
Boston Research Technologies (BRT) studied the first 4 months of the initial launch of RCH Auto Portability with a large plan sponsor in the healthcare industry and documented the key findings. BRT validated several hypotheses related to participant distribution behavior at job change that reinforce the potential for auto portability to save retirement plan participants trillions of dollars in savings by reducing cash out leakage.
As much as $2 trillion could be retained in the U.S. retirement systems if Auto Portability were fully implemented, according to new research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
In March 2017, Northern Trust's Sabrina Bailey and Gaobo Pang released the study "The $10,000 Hurdle" which examines the much-improved outcomes that participants experience as their 401(k) accounts cross a $10,000 balance threshold. Bailey and Pang provide empirical evidence for the existence of the threshold, speculate about the behavioral dynamics at work, and finally, suggest means to accelerate asset accumulation, so that the threshold can be crossed earlier.
When it comes to the 401(k) plan feature known as automatic enrollment, most industry observers seem to agree that it’s a good thing.