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Auto Portability - Recent Developments
Find the most-recent auto portability media coverage and developments.
On June 7th, Vanguard released the newest edition of How America Saves, the firm’s seminal report on 401(k) plan design and retirement savings habits. Through its annual, comprehensive analysis of nearly five million 401(k) accounts recordkept at Vanguard, the report reveals additional plan design opportunities employers can address to further improve workers’ retirement readiness. In the release, under key findings, Vanguard notes that "cash outs disproportionately impact younger, low-balance participants" and adds that "[a]uto portability services and revisions to minimum balance rules can help decrease cash out rates."
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 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.”
Writing in 401k Specialist, RCH’s Tom Hawkins reacts to the DOL’s 2/14/22 Request for Information (RFI) seeking comment on ways to “protect life savings and pensions from threats of climate-related financial risk.” Hawkins contends that our retirement system itself has significant sustainability problems that are more financially material to future retirees than climate change. Hawkins urges action to address the 401(k) system’s inefficiency and waste, which could “produce more of the ‘green’ that will matter to future retirees.” Hawkins notes the findings of a recent Brookings Institution report on the problem of small retirement accounts, which recommends improvements in “combining accounts” and includes support for auto portability.
Writing in the Pension Research Council's (Wharton School, Univ. of Pennsylvania) RetireSecure Blog, Michael Kreps of the Groom Law Group offers his considered view on auto portability, which Kreps believes "is likely to have an enormous impact on the US retirement system" by reducing cashout leakage and consolidating retirement savings. In the piece, Kreps cites a variety of industry statistics and projections, concluding that auto portability "will undoubtedly preserve many small accounts, making retirement more secure for millions of people."
NAPA Net's Ted Godbout reviews the latest research report from Alight Solutions, entitled "Improving Retirement Readiness for Underrepresented Groups." Reporting on Alight's findings, Godbout highlights the six steps that Alight offers plan sponsors to increase retirement savings for historically under-represented groups. As one of those steps, Alight advises sponsors that "implementing auto-portability can help reduce the number of automatic cash-outs that occur when people change employers" and that auto portability's impact is "most profound for marginalized groups."
Alight Solutions has released a new research report, entitled "Improving Retirement Readiness for Underrepresented Groups." The new paper identifies six key actions that plan sponsors can undertake to boost retirement savings for historically under-represented groups. In one of those actions, Alight advises employers that "implementing auto-portability can help reduce the number of automatic cash-outs that occur when people change employers" and that auto portability's impact is "most profound for marginalized groups."
Writing in BenefitsPro, David Baumann recaps a 1/6/2022 report by the Aspen Institute that identified a compelling need for portability, yet "more than 40 years after a presidential commission recommended making retirement programs more portable, policymakers are still struggling with the issue." Baumann notes that the Aspen Institute's paper cited a number of key factors making the case for auto portability, including: 1) the propensity of American workers to change jobs, 2) to cash out following a job change, and 3) an EBRI survey finding that "85% of retirement savers would find automatic transfers between programs valuable." Baumann also noted that "[a]n Aspen survey of retirement experts found that 57% supported a mandate" for auto portability, while 48% of the same experts believed that auto portability was feasible without a mandate.