Auto Portability Helps Americans Increase Retirement Savings

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—October 1, 2015—Approximately 45% of defined contribution plan participants cash out their 401(k) accounts when they change jobs, according to Boston Research Technologies CEO Warren Cormier. As a result, Mr. Cormier estimates that more than $1 trillion has been slashed from Americans’ future retirement income. In response, Retirement Clearinghouse, LLC partnered with the Women’s Institute For A Secure Retirement (WISER) to host a forum in Washington, D.C., “The Leading Edge—Auto Portability: A Solution to Prevent Cash-Outs & Preserve 401(k) Assets.”

“By age 65, women outnumber men by more than 5.5 million, so the issue of 401(k) consolidation and portability is an important one for women,” said Cindy Hounsell, President of WISER, in her opening remarks at the forum. “As far back as 1992, Congress found that portability’s shortcomings needed to be addressed before Baby Boomer women started to retire, and auto portability is what we’ve been waiting for.”

The forum, held at the Capitol View Conference Center on September 30, 2015, attracted experts from government agencies, organizations advocating for women and the aging, the financial and retirement services communities, and policy groups. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about how auto portability builds on other automated 401(k) plan features—such as auto enrollment and auto deferral escalation—to discourage cash-outs, simplify retirement savings portability, and facilitate lifetime participation in the U.S. retirement system.

Plan sponsors have the power to automatically roll 401(k) accounts from former employees with less than $5,000 out of their plans, and to provide services to help participants with balances of all sizes decide how best to handle their account balances. However, a research study authored by Mr. Cormier ( found that many participants leave accounts behind, or cash them out, because they are left on their own to figure out what to do with their balances.

“Moving 401(k) assets with you from job to job should be easy in theory, but in reality, it is a time-consuming process requiring extensive expertise—which is why so many people decide to cash out their accounts, or do nothing about them, when they change jobs,” said Spencer Williams, President and CEO of Retirement Clearinghouse, who spoke about auto portability at the forum. “By taking steps to embrace auto portability, plan sponsors can help all participants—regardless of status—seamlessly move their hard-earned retirement assets forward, empowering them to avoid detrimental decisions and strengthen their retirement readiness.”

The forum’s other featured speakers included Judy Mares, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) at the U.S. Department of Labor, and J. Mark Iwry, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Retirement and Health Policy at the U.S. Treasury Department.

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 16,800 retirement plans and has helped guide over 995,000 plan participants with more than $14 billion in retirement savings. Retirement Clearinghouse is a portfolio company of The RLJ Companies, founded by Robert L. Johnson. For more information, please visit