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Retirement Clearinghouse in the News
Find news articles referencing RCH and our services, including RCH Auto Portability
RCH's Tom Hawkins, writing in 401k Specialist, offers his view that state-sponsored auto-IRA programs, despite their potential size and strength, suffer from an obvious weakness, or "Achilles’ heel": a lack of retirement savings portability. Hawkins writes: "Without addressing their portability problem, auto-IRA programs could expand, but may never reach their full potential, housing large numbers of churning, small-balance accounts. However, with adequate support for portability both into and out of these programs, they could dramatically increase the odds that they deliver on their promise of building incremental retirement wealth for millions of Americans."
Writing in Employee Benefit News, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams examines the ongoing problem of uncashed 401(k) distribution checks. Worker mobility, as well as the prevalence of automatic cash-outs for balances under $1,000, conspire to create an administrative burden as well as a significant fiduciary risk for plan sponsors. Auto portability, writes Williams, can “mitigate this exposure, and help participants increase retirement savings by significantly reducing the need for automatic cash-outs” -- an outcome that Williams describes as “a win-win.”
Writing in 401k Specialist, RCH's Tom Hawkins digs into EBRI's 2022 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), locating an interesting and valuable finding not referenced in the organization’s initial report, officially released to the public on Thursday, April 28th. In an excerpt of a report available to survey partners, the survey found that a plurality of job-changing 401(k) plan participants favor automatic plan-to-plan portability over consolidating their savings to an IRA, or to leaving their savings behind in their former employer’s plan. This result comes on the heels of EBRI’s 2021 survey, which found that nearly 9 in 10 participants believed that auto portability would be valuable to them. Hawkins adds that "others -- including the Department of Labor – could find 401(k) participants’ strong preference for plan-to-plan portability compelling."
Stephanie Zaleski, CPA and Employee Benefit Plan Services professional for ORBA, authors an article in Mondaq.com addressing the implications of The Great Resignation for sponsors of 401(k) plans. In her piece, Zaleski highlights the increased pace of job-changing, which creates an abundance of left-behind and potentially forgotten 401(k) accounts, resulting in a plethora of problems for sponsors. "To help mitigate these issues in the future, some employers are adopting auto-portability benefits" writes Zaleski, adding that auto portability "automatically transfer small balances to new employers." Zaleski closes by suggesting that plan sponsors should not "waste a plan restatement cycle" and act by July 31st to include new provisions in their defined contribution plans.
In her 4/25/22 article, Pensions & Investments reporter Margarida Correia examines auto portability's role in plugging leakage for small-balance 401(k) accounts. In her piece, Correia turns to several industry observers, including RCH EVP & Chief Revenue Officer Neal Ringquist, Alight Solutions' Director of Public Policy Greg Long and Vanguard's Head of Strategic Retirement Consulting David Stinnett. All three offered optimistic views of auto portability's efficacy, its attractiveness to plan sponsors, and its prospects for success. While auto portability is in the early stages of adoption and is building plan sponsor awareness, Long stated that auto portability will eventually "be standard operating procedure" while Stinnett added that "[p]lan sponsors are interested to find out more once the service is fully available."
Writing in 401k Specialist, RCH’s Tom Hawkins opines on pending legislation that seeks to expand access for under-served and under-saved demographic segments, but may fall short if it fails to incorporate measures that minimize cashout leakage. Noting that SECURE 2.0’s expanded access provisions seek to benefit women, minorities and lower-income workers – the same demographic segments that cash out their small balance savings at disproportionate rates – Hawkins suggests that legislators consider inclusion of measures that would “spur more rapid adoption” of auto portability “by codifying into law the guidance issued by the Department of Labor and by creating modest tax incentives to encourage more early adoption of the feature.”
Writing in their Research Minute blog, the DCIIA Retirement Research Center recaps a presentation by David John, senior strategic policy advisor at AARP, at their March 2022 RRC Summit. John shared current and ongoing research on retirement rollovers and the problem of plan leakage, including voicing his support for "supporting 'automatic portability' rollovers between employer plans when employees change jobs."
Writing in 401k Specialist Magazine, Renée Wilder Guerin, RCH’s EVP of Public Policy, examines the 3/29/22 hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP), which focused on solutions that would enhance retirement security for Americans, particularly those who are under-served and under-saved. Two of the four witnesses, WISER’s Cindy Hounsell and The Aspen Institute’s Ida Rademacher offered testimony highlighting the benefits of auto portability in leveling the playing field for women, minorities, and lower income workers. The latest hearing, writes Wilder Guerin “builds on previous Senate hearings and fuels growing momentum for auto portability among legislators, policymakers, advocacy groups, providers and plan sponsors.”