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Auto Portability - Public Policy
Learn more about retirement savings public policy positions related to Auto Portability.
401(k) Plans: Additional Federal Actions Would Help Participants Track and Consolidate Their Retirement Savings
On 2/20/24, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a paper entitled: 401(k) Plans: Additional Federal Actions Would Help Participants Track and Consolidate Their Retirement Savings. The paper's organizing principle is the difficulty that many Americans have in keeping track of their retirement savings, and posits that better information on terminated accounts (via a "dashboard" style interface), paired with the ability to easily consolidate all balances via a government-operated consolidation mechanism could deliver benefits to retirement savers. Curiously, the GAO report avoids mentioning the problem of cashout leakage, but does make references to auto portability and the efforts of the Portability Services Network (PSN) for balances under $7,000. The GAO's report was subsequently covered by InvestmentNews and Pensions & Investments.
Writing in the 'What's Around the Corner?' feature in the Jan-Feb 2024 magazine edition of PLANSPONSOR, Ed McCarthy asks industry experts where we are with key events and trends, and what's likely to emerge in 2024. McCarthy turns to RCH EVP Neal Ringquist for his views, and Ringquist delivers an update on auto portability, reporting progress in 2023 within the Portability Services Network (PSN), with Alight, Fidelity Investments and Vanguard completing their implementations and focusing on onboarding clients. Looking ahead to 2024, Ringquist notes that PSN's focus will be on "expanding the network of plans and recordkeepers" while achieving operational status for Empower, Principal Financial Group and TIAA. Finally, Ringquist notes the impact of "both the auto-portability provision and the mandatory distribution-limit increase to $7,000 under SECURE 2.0" which will lead to plan sponsor reviews of the new features.
CNBC Personal Finance Reporter Greg Iacurci takes a comprehensive look at the problem of 401(k) cashout leakage, as well as its most promising solution -- auto portability, as delivered by the Portability Services Network (PSN). In his analysis, Iacurci turns to industry experts, including RCH & PSN president & CEO Spencer Williams, EBRI's Craig Copeland and other researchers and academics. Iacurci quotes Williams as stating that auto portability is essentially a “very large exchange mechanism” within the 401(k) industry, and that the feature has promise in addressing the cashout leakage problem. Iacurci adds: "at 70% market coverage, auto portability is expected to reconnect about 3 million people a year with 401(k) accounts they left behind upon job change."
Financial Advisor Magazine's Russ Alan Prince interviews RCH & PSN president and CEO Spencer Williams, to discuss how auto portability can dramatically improve retirement outcomes for Americans. Williams gives Prince a primer on systemic cashout leakage, how and why the Portability Services Network was created and the key provisions of the SECURE 2.0 Act that address auto portability. Speaking directly to Prince's advisor-based readership, Williams asserts that auto portability is a "no-brainer benefit for their plan-sponsor clients....that can benefit individual clients and make a big difference in the lives of workers saving for retirement across the country over the long term."
'Portability' is set to boost and solidify $9.3 trillion 401(k) system by eliminating cash-outs, rollovers and fragmented (orphaned) plans
RIABiz's Brooke Southall, founder of RIABiz -- described as the "news, vision & voice for the advisory community -- writes about the DOL's "proposed rule [that] would implement Section 120 of the SECURE 2.0 Act" -- known as auto portability. In his piece, Southall voices his own views, and turns to industry experts, all of whom are positive about the recent developments and the future prospects for auto portability. Southall quotes Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) and Portability Services Network (PSN) president & CEO Spencer Williams on the benefits of auto portability, and writes that large 401(k) recordkeepers "created a consortium for portability among themselves, with the technology of Retirement Clearinghouse."
PLANSPONSOR's Alex Ortolani reports on commentary from Assistant Secretary of Labor Lisa Gomez, the head of the DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), who highlighted efforts by EBSA to advance final rules on auto portability. The proposed rules, which hit the Federal Register Monday, initiate a 60-day comment period that will end March 29. Ortolani writes that Gomez "highlighted the [auto portability] provision as one of several into which EBSA is digging in this year."
BenefitsPRO's Scott Wooldridge informs readers about "another step forward" for auto portability, when the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) released its proposed rules associated with SECURE 2.0. Wooldridge provides a summary of the new rules, and quotes American Retirement Association (ARA) CEO Brian Graff as stating: “We appreciate the guidance provided by the DOL. Anything that reduces the rate of retirement plan leakage results in better outcomes for participants.”
Alex Padalka, writing in Financial Advisor IQ, reports on the news that the Department of Labor has proposed rules for the automatic portability of small-balance retirement accounts. Padalka notes that the SECURE 2.0 legislative mandate, when combined with the proposed DOL rules, would replace the prior regulatory-only framework granted to Retirement Clearinghouse, and further observes that, for all practical purposes, the rules would only apply to the Portability Services Network, an industry-led consortium initially formed in 2022.