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Auto Portability - Recent Developments
Find the most-recent auto portability media coverage and developments.
Jack VanDerhei, EBRI Research Director, envisions a critical role for auto portability in solving America's retirement crisis. In a recent symposium conducted by TheStreet in New York, VanDerhei identified four key retirement challenges -- plan coverage, long-term care costs, longevity and leakage. VanDerhei predicted that leakage will be addressed when auto portability "become[s] a part of the retirement landscape" and "little account balances, which are really highly-susceptible to being cashed out" are automatically consolidated into larger 401(k) balances.
April 15 is just around the corner. While many Americans dread Tax Day, April 15 presents defined contribution plan sponsors with an opportunity to demonstrate their value as fiduciaries, and as financial wellness advocates. Anyone who is 18 or older, not a full-time student, and not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return is eligible for a retirement savings contributions credit (also known as a saver’s credit). This tax credit rewards people for making eligible contributions to their IRAs or employer-sponsored retirement plans. In his latest article in Employee Benefit News, Retirement Clearinghouse CEO Spencer Williams advocates for Millennials to invest the credit in their retirement plan, rather than spend it.
PLANSPONSOR's Amanda Umpierrez examines the latest research from EBRI revealing decreasing employee tenure, concluding that shorter tenure could adversely impact retirement plan success. Umperriez quotes RCH EVP Neal Ringquist, who ties decreasing tenure to destructive outcomes, such as cashing out, and RCH CEO Spencer Williams, who advocates for immediate plan eligibility and adoption of automatic enrollment provisions. Finally, EBRI's Craig Copeland, author of the research, addresses the beneficial impact of auto portability, stating that “[a]uto-portability will play an increasingly important role because it helps a lot with balance preservation.”
In their March 20th webinar "Achieving Retirement Income Equivalency Between Final-Average-Pay Defined Benefit Plans and Automatic Enrollment 401(k) Plans in the Private Sector", the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) revealed more research supporting the case for auto portability, with their finding that auto portability could dramatically improve defined contribution plan performance for young Millennials.
In his 3/22/19 article in BenefitsPRO, Pentegra's RIchard Rausser advocates for auto portability as a means to address the serious problem of "leakage" from the 401(k) retirement system. Rausser's article first looks to research from the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to underscore the dimensions of the leakage problem, and goes on to cite EBRI research that demonstrates the positive impact of auto portability. Rausser concludes by referencing the DOL's November 2018 actions on RCH's auto portability program, including the pending prohibited transaction exemption, stating that "others in the industry are strongly in favor of auto-portability."
In his five-part series in 401kSpecialist, RCH's Tom Hawkins identifies five key reasons why an auto portability program serves the best interests of plan participants. Part 1 of the series examines the dramatically improved participant outcomes that result from a program of auto portability. Those outcomes, Hawkins contends, demonstrate that plan sponsors who adopt auto portability are acting prudently and solely in the interests of their plan’s participants and beneficiaries.
In its Feb-March 2019 edition, PLANSPONSOR Magazine addresses the topic of asset consolidation, taking the position that plan sponsors who promote in-plan consolidation (“roll-ins”) are benefiting both their plans and participants. The article cites key findings from RCH’s 2015 Mobile Workforce study, and quotes RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams, who maintains that a clear connection exists between roll-ins and financial wellness. Finally, the article updates readers on auto portability, with the DOL‘s November 2018 actions providing clarity for RCH's Auto Portability program, and as Williams explains, “set[ting] a new standard of care for automatic rollovers.”
Writing in Lexology, Eversheds Sutherland LLP provides a retrospective of guidance issued in 2018 by the Department of Labor (DOL) under ERISA, highlighting the DOL's sole 2018 Advisory Opinion, which addressed the RCH Auto Portability program. Linking to their earlier analysis of the Advisory Opinion, the authors further speculate on the DOL's motives, stating that "auto portability offers a means to advance the important policy goal of preserving and improving the efficiency of retirement savings, which may account for DOL’s willingness to engage on this issue."