CHARLOTTE, N.C.—March 13, 2018—Warren Cormier, Founder and CEO of Boston Research Technologies, today released the results of his pioneering survey on stale address records in employer-sponsored plans, “The Mobile Workforce’s Missing Participant Problem,” conducted in collaboration with Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH). The report is the first of its kind to survey terminated participants themselves about the status of their accounts left behind in former-employer plans.
“High workforce mobility, and the fact that participants frequently forget to update their contact details with previous employers and plan record-keepers, are twin drivers of missing participants in employer-sponsored plans,” said Warren Cormier, Founder and CEO of Boston Research Technologies. “Demographic trends revealed in the survey suggest the problem could get worse before it gets better.”
To download a copy of “The Mobile Workforce’s Missing Participant Problem,” visit: http://info.rch1.com/missing-participant-survey
The study, which focused on 1,000 participants who had been terminated from at least one employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, found that a participant move created a stale address record for one out of every five (20%) accounts simply because the participant did not inform their former employer when they relocated. In addition, the survey found that 11% of all terminated account records have an outdated address, and most of these missing participant accounts, especially those with balances below $10,000, belong to Millennials.
The study’s findings also indicate that 67% of stale address records for missing participants can be matched with an active participant record in the systems of the record-keepers that sponsors already utilize to administer their plans—and the active participant records are very reliable (92.6%). Active participant records are an untapped source of verified, accurate addresses that sponsors can leverage to help mitigate the growing problem of missing participants in retirement plans.
“Terminated participants are a dynamic problem tied directly to the growing frequency of job-changing among defined contribution plan participants,” said Spencer Williams, Founder, President, and CEO of Retirement Clearinghouse. “At a time when the Department of Labor has been placing more emphasis on missing participants during plan audits, one simple solution is to strongly encourage participants to take their accounts with them to their new-employer plans.”
The study’s other findings include:
- Millennials are more likely than others to be missing participants.
- Low-income households are twice as likely to have missing participants.
- A significant majority of participants—60%—would prefer an automated process to update their addresses or consolidate their prior-employer plan accounts in their current-employer plans.
- One-third of the participants in the study, including half of the Millennials surveyed, learned of a retirement savings account with a previous employer’s plan that they didn’t know they had.
- The strongest predictor of the account not being lost was the respondent’s knowledge of how to contact the company holding the account—accounts held by respondents who reported being able to do this were almost 7 times less likely to be lost.
“The Mobile Workforce’s Missing Participant Problem” is Boston Research Technologies’ latest contribution to a growing body of research highlighting the benefits of improved plan-to-plan savings portability for plans and participants. Mr. Cormier’s white paper linking leakage with restricted portability, and documenting the initial success of auto portability as a solution, “Making the Right Choice the Easiest Choice: Eliminating Friction and Leaks in America’s Defined Contribution System,” was released in November 2017: http://info.rch1.com/brt-auto-portability-white-paper
About Retirement Clearinghouse
Retirement Clearinghouse, LLC is the leading provider of portability and consolidation services for defined contribution plans, acting as a trusted, unbiased intermediary between plan sponsors, participants, record-keepers and other parties. Retirement Clearinghouse’s integrated financial technology, data and information solutions facilitate automated consolidation of small, redundant accounts for sponsors to improve plan performance metrics, and enable participants, regardless of account balance, to seamlessly transport their retirement savings through every phase of their careers.
Retirement Clearinghouse’s portability solutions have been proven to cut cash-outs by over 50% and significantly increase average account balances. The firm’s portability solutions include a domestic call center providing specialized assistance designed to enable end-to-end portability and account consolidation; uncashed check services; and the capability to search for lost and missing participants.
Originally established as RolloverSystems in 2001, Charlotte, N.C.-based Retirement Clearinghouse works with more than 22,000 retirement plans and has helped guide over 1.2 million plan participants with more than $18 billion in retirement savings. Retirement Clearinghouse is a portfolio company of The RLJ Companies, founded by Robert L. Johnson. For more information, please visit www.rch1.com.
About Boston Research Technologies
Boston Research Technologies (BRT) is solely focused on shifting the way we think across industries. BRT utilizes a unique mix of Qualitative and Quantitative Market Research, Behavioral Economics, Business Strategy, and Advanced Analytical Modeling to help companies uncover deep embedded insights and drive business growth. For more information, please visit www.bostonrt.com.