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Auto Portability - Public Policy
Learn more about retirement savings public policy positions related to Auto Portability.
Writing in 401k Specialist Magazine, RCH's Tom Hawkins examines the unintended effects that can result from retirement savings public policies that would dramatically expand access to, and participation in, defined contribution plans. While the benefits are impressive, additional undesired consequences can arise that are antithetical to the policies’ original intent, including increased cashout leakage, missing participants, uncashed checks and forgotten/stranded accounts. Understanding these highly predictable "second order" effects, Hawkins identifies plan-to-plan portability as an effective means of addressing them, while significantly boosting the overall policies’ benefits.
Refundable Saver’s Tax Credits Would Significantly Reduce Retirement Savings Shortfall—Especially for Minorities
Writing in RCH's Consolidation Corner, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams examines pending retirement savings legislation, and focuses upon the benefits of a refundable saver's credit, which would be directly deposited into taxpayers' 401(k) and IRA accounts. Taking his analysis a step further, Williams considers the infrastructure required to transfer these funds to savers, and identifies considerable synergies with the existing technology that supports auto portability.
Don’t relegate lost and missing accounts to the lost and found — consolidate them in the retirement system
Writing in Employee Benefit News, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams opines on draft provisions in SECURE 2.0 legislation that call for establishment of a “lost & found” – including housing sub-$1,000 balances for all terminating 401(k) participants. As proposed, Williams observes that simply moving sub-$1,000 balances to the PBGC does little to reduce cashouts or stranded savings and offers auto portability as a “far more constructive method” to reduce cashouts and to promote consolidation of retirement savings.
RCH’s newly-appointed EVP of Public Policy, Renée Wilder Guerin finds a lot to like in the 7/28/21 Senate Finance Committee hearing, where lawmakers heard testimony on how to increase retirement savings, including tackling the longstanding problems of cashout leakage, missing participants and “forgotten” retirement savings accounts. Wilder Guerin notes that auto portability was favorably mentioned twice by Aliya Robinson (SVP, Retirement & Compensation Policy for ERIC), as a policy initiative her organization – comprised of the nation’s largest plan sponsors – supports. Coming on the heels of EBRI’s 21st Annual Retirement Confidence Survey, where nearly 9 in 10 participants indicated their preference for the feature, Senate Finance Committee testimony “bodes extremely well for auto portability’s widespread adoption, as well as the enactment of public policies that further enhance it.”
Cindy Hounsell, Founder & President of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) and Forbes contributor, writes eloquently about the woes of cashout leakage, while offering readers good news. Auto portability, says Hounsell, is "a technology-based solution developed by Retirement Clearinghouse" that can help ensure that savers' "401(k) savings move automatically from their previous employer’s plan to their new employer’s." Hounsell cites EBRI data that pegs auto portability's system-wide benefits at $1.5 to $2.0 trillion, indicating that "much of that savings will belong to the people who need it most" including women, minorities and lower-income workers.
The 401kWire's Neil Anderson reports on RCH's confirmation of Renee Wilder Guerin as EVP of Public Policy, following the retirement of industry veteran Tom Johnson, who will continue in a part-time consulting role with the firm. Reached by Anderson for comment, Wilder Guerin noted RCH's focus on participant account portability and its connection to improved outcomes to minorities and low-income workers as key factors in her taking on the role. The piece further quotes RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams, who states "there is still much to be done" in terms of public policy around "seamless plan-to-plan asset portability."
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PLANSPONSOR's Rebecca Moore tackles the issue of "forgotten" retirement accounts, turning to RCH's Spencer Williams and Neal Ringquist for their views. Williams points to increased investment and cybersecurity risks associated with multiple accounts, which he maintains can be effectively addressed via consolidation. Ringquist notes frequent job-changing as a key driver for plan sponsors to maintain current addresses, to offer unbiased education & assistance to participants, and to adopt auto portability for small balances. Williams wraps things up by referencing the DOL's emphasis on "a due diligence process-driven approach to finding missing participants."
Pensions & Investments Washington reporter Brian Croce covers the 7/20/21 announcement by Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) on the appointment of Renée Wilder Guerin as Executive Vice President, Public Policy, replacing Tom Johnson, who is retiring. Croce quotes RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams, cites Ms. Wilder Guerin's former role with the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board and mentions the DOL's 2019 regulatory approval of its auto portability program.