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Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) is an innovator in the retirement services industry, developing and introducing industry best practices that are moving retirement forward by delivering retirement portability for millions of job-changing Americans. RCH is proud to showcase our thought leadership, as well as other public policy makers and industry leaders whose positions are consistent with our own views and practices.
The Savings Preservation Working Group (SPWG), a DC-based coalition seeking to promote best practice retirement policies, announced the release of its first Issue Brief. Entitled "Cashing Out: The Systemic Impact of Withdrawing Savings Before Retirement" -- the report examines a range of recent research and data to quantify the vast scope of leakage from the defined contribution retirement system, and "represents the most complete review of retirement leakage data to date." Critically, the SPWG analysis determines that cashout leakage amounts to between $60 billion and $105 billion annually, impacting 4.5 to 6.4 million participants. The group's website is located at PreservingSavings.org.
In his capacity as Head of US Defined Contribution and Financial Wellness Research, Mercer's Neil Lloyd notes the recent emergence of serious industry dialogue on plan-to-plan retirement savings portability. Long a proponent of portability, Lloyd recognizes the inherent problems associated with holding multiple retirement saving accounts. In his piece, Lloyd strongly advocates for auto portability, stating that it "might be the solution to less efficient small-balance accounts." Lloyd goes further, opining that auto portability should be considered a legislative priority, writing that "SECURE ACT 2 will be vastly improved if provisions further supporting auto-portability are included."
Expanding on research comparing DB plans vs. 401(k) plans with auto enrollment, on 2/14/19 EBRI released an infographic revealing the beneficial effect of auto portability on Milliennials. When auto portability is added to 401(k) plans, Millennials -- both male and female, for all years of eligibility, and for all income quartiles -- experience significant improvements in their 401(k) plan performance, as measured by equivalent break-even DB plan accrual rates. The latest EBRI analysis adds to a considerable body of evidence that auto portability is a leading retirement savings public policy initiative.
Examining the 2/7/19 EBRI Research Brief comparing DB vs. DC plans, PlanAdviser's John Manganaro cites the study as finding that DB break-even accrual rates required for equivalency to their 401(k) counterparts are "rarely less than 1.5% of final pay." Under a scenario where auto portability is combined with the 401(k) plans, the DB break-even accrual rates increase further to deliver equivalency, with auto portability's impact "greatest among the lowest income quartile."
In the January 2019 edition of PLANSPONSOR magazine, Groom Law Group's Stephen Saxon welcomes the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) November 2018 guidance on the RCH auto portability program. The DOL, says Saxon, "clarifies important questions about the fiduciary implications for plan sponsors" and provides "much welcome comfort" to plan fiduciaries considering the program. Saxon concludes his analysis by stating that "auto-portability will have a positive, long-term impact on the U.S. retirement system by reducing leakage and enabling American workers to consolidate their small retirement balances on an efficient basis."
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In his ongoing "Barry's Pickings" column for PLANSPONSOR, Michael Barry, president of O3 Plan Advisory Services LLC, gives the U.S. Department of Labor an 'A' for its November 2018 issuance of a proposed Prohibited Transaction Exemption (PTE) and an Advisory Opinion on Auto Portability. Barry adds: "as a long-time advocate of the establishment of a clearinghouse, I view this as very good news."
Arris Reddick Murphy, Contributing Editor to HR Daily Advisor, and senior counsel with FedEx Corp.’s Tax & Employee Benefits Law group, examines the potential impact of the Department of Labor's recent actions towards RCH's auto portability program. Murphy outlines the strategic benefits for plan sponsors who participate in the auto portability program, including a reduction in small accounts, missing participants and uncashed checks. Murphy also points out the importance of participation of both plan sponsors and service providers, stepping through various aspects of the program, while offering planning tips for participating plan sponsors.
In his 11/19/18 opinion piece in The Hill, former U.S Treasury official and senior fellow in economic studies at The Brookings Institution Mark Iwry writes about his personal, 22-years long advocacy for 401(k) portability, dating back to the Clinton administration. Not much had changed in that time, says Iwry, until last week's guidance by the Department of Labor (DOL) on auto portability, led by the efforts of RCH executives Spencer Williams and Tom Johnson. With the way cleared by the DOL, Iwry notes that auto portability's success will now depend on the "willingness of recordkeepers...to cooperate so participants can enjoy expanded portability."