Consolidation Corner

Neal Ringquist

Neal has been at the forefront of developing and delivering innovative wealth management solutions to the retirement and investment advisory market for more than 25 years. As Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for RCH, he is responsible for the company’s marketing strategy and plan sponsor sales channel. He also serves as an advisor to next-generation financial services companies, including MONDO Financial, which helps Millennials save and fund life goals by utilizing online and mobile applications. Prior to joining RCH, Neal was President & Chief Operating Officer of Advisor Software, where he was responsible for day-to-day operations as well as for developing and implementing ASI’s sales and marketing strategy. Previously, Neal was vice president of sales and marketing for Morningstar Associates, LLC, a registered investment advisor. Earlier, he was executive vice president of sales, marketing and client service for, Inc., which established him as one of the early enterers into the online advice movement. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Middlebury College and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
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Recent Posts

New EBRI Research Finds $2T Saved From Automated Portability

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Apr 19, 2017 8:05:00 AM

As much as $2 trillion could be retained in the U.S. retirement systems if Auto Portability were fully implemented, according to new research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). The research establishes Auto Portability as a leading retirement industry public policy initiative, placing it ahead of auto IRA initiatives and just behind universal DC coverage in terms of impact on total retirement savings shortfall.


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Topics: Auto Portability, 401(k) Consolidation, Auto Enrollment, Automatic Rollover

The Stealth Solution to America’s Retirement Savings Crisis

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Mar 14, 2017 8:30:00 AM


Over the past year, the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule has been highly-visible, presenting major ramifications for the retirement industry and looming large on the radar screens of retirement services providers.  


The underlying rationale for the rule, as stated by the Obama administration in an April 6, 2016 press briefing, was to save retirement investors $17 billion per year in lost retirement savings that result from conflicts of interest in retirement advice. Certainly, anything that protects $17 billion in retirement savings is a worthy goal, if it helps more Americans meet their retirement income needs.


However, there’s a larger hole in our retirement system – cash-out leakage – that inflicts far greater harm to American retirement savers, yet this threat continues to fly beneath our collective radar.   


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Topics: Auto Portability, Mandatory Distributions, Automatic Rollovers, 401(k) Consolidation, Cash Outs, Auto Enrollment, Automatic Rollover

Incubate Small Retirement Accounts, Don’t Throw Them Away

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Feb 16, 2017 11:30:00 AM


On February 3rd, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses, released Securing America’s Retirement, their legislative roadmap aimed at strengthening the U.S. retirement system.


The Chamber’s goals are admirable:

“To address the needs of our nation’s shifting workforce, reduce barriers small businesses face in developing retirement plans, and make it easier for all Americans to save for their future…” 


The roadmap details policy solution proposals that Congress can act upon to achieve better retirement security for workers in the small business sector.  Improving retirement security for the small business sector is sorely-needed, as only 14% of companies with less than 100 employees – representing 34% of private sector payrolls -- offer their employees access to a retirement plan.  


In general, the majority of the Chamber’s agenda should be well-received, and appears to be well-vetted.  However, one policy proposal – increasing the mandatory cash-out limit to $10,000 – could have significant, unintended and adverse consequences for retirement security, if implemented without additional safeguards. 

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Topics: Auto Portability, Mandatory Distributions, Automatic Rollovers, 401(k) Consolidation, Cash Outs, Auto Enrollment, Automatic Rollover

One Small Improvement for 401(k) Plans, One Giant Leap for Retirement Readiness

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Feb 2, 2017 6:31:28 PM

Baby boomers will never forget Neil Armstrong’s famous quote in 1969, after becoming the first human being to set foot on the moon:

“That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Today, America faces a different, more down-to-earth challenge: delivering our citizens a comfortable and timely retirement. And similar to the moon landing – a ‘small step’ in the right direction can have a huge impact on the course of our lives.

A Focus on 401(k) Plan Deficiencies

At no time has our retirement challenge been more evident than during the first few weeks of 2017, with multiple articles pointing out deficiencies of 401(k) plans as the primary vehicle for retirement savings.

Much of the focus for improving the 401(k) system has been on increasing participation, and statistics indicate that this concern is well-founded. Unfortunately, scant attention has been paid to plugging retirement plan leakage, particularly cash out leakage – a problem that drains our retirement system of billions of dollars annually.

There is one solution – auto portability – that has the potential to plug cash out leakage and increase 401(k) plan participation. If fully implemented, auto portability could drive significant improvements in our nation’s retirement readiness. And unlike a manned mission to the moon, auto portability can be delivered by the private sector, at no cost to the American taxpayer.

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Topics: Auto Portability, 401(k) Consolidation

Changing Jobs in 2017? Take Your Retirement Savings With You

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Jan 3, 2017 11:41:39 AM


In his latest article in MarketWatch, posted on New Year’s Eve, RCH President, CEO and RetireMentor Spencer Williams counsels those who switched jobs in 2016 to make their New Year’s resolutions to roll-in all of their retirement savings accounts – not just the account in their most recent prior-employer plan – into their new-employer plan.


For any account that’s not yet rolled in to a current-employer plan, Williams strongly urges that savers update their current contact details.

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Topics: MarketWatch, 401(k) Consolidation, Managed Portability, Roll-In, Participant transition management, assisted roll-in

One 2017 New Year’s Resolution for Plan Sponsors: Encourage Roll-Ins

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Dec 12, 2016 8:04:12 AM

As 2016 draws to a close, most observers will reflect upon the events that have dominated retirement industry news coverage:  the Fiduciary Rule, the 10-year anniversary of the Pension Protection Act, and the Presidential election. These events will clearly shape plan sponsors’ activities and priorities for the New Year.

Less publicized, but perhaps more impactful are the recommendations provided in November, 2016 by the ERISA Advisory Council (EAC) on “Participant Plan-to-Plan Transfers and Account Consolidation for the Advancement of Lifetime Plan Participation” – released following three years of expert testimony.  

Plan sponsors would be well-served by reviewing the EAC’s Executive Summary and working the message of lifetime plan participation into their participant communications and retirement plan initiatives.


A good place to start is to encourage and facilitate plan-to-plan transfers, known as “roll-ins.” 

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Topics: 401(k) Consolidation, Roll-In, PSCA, assisted roll-in, 401k Specialist

Miracle on Retirement Street

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Dec 6, 2016 12:31:28 PM


In his latest article in MarketWatch, RetireMentor and RCH CEO Spencer Williams gets us into the festive, holiday spirit by showcasing the “miracle” of compound interest. Compound interest is particularly relevant to retirement savers, whose nest eggs will incubate over a career. 

Thus, any withdrawal of retirement savings – particularly cashouts that are made early in a career – can rob savers of thousands of dollars at retirement age. Less well-known, but still damaging, are the accounts that are left stranded and dinged every year by fees. 

Williams’ two examples tell the compound interest tale.  In his first example, Williams demonstrates that a 30-year old saver cashing out a $5,000 401(k) account will lose almost $52,000 in compound interest savings by age 65. In Williams’ second example, our 30-year old doesn’t cash out, but leaves his savings stranded at his previous employer, where he’ll pay an additional $2,052 in fees, which, on a compounded basis, translates to a whopping $8,488 in lost savings at age 65.

Bottom line, retirement savers should consolidate their qualified retirement savings accounts to their current employers, whenever they switch jobs. 

Consolidation allows retirement savers to enjoy the gift that keeps on giving: compound interest.

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Topics: MarketWatch, 401(k) Consolidation, Managed Portability, Roll-In, Participant transition management, assisted roll-in

A Roll-In in Time Saves Far More Than Nine

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Nov 7, 2016 8:15:00 AM


In his latest MarketWatch RetireMentors column, RCH CEO Spencer Williams modifies the familiar proverb “a stitch in time saves nine” for the benefit of 401(k) savers who have multiple retirement savings accounts. A roll-in becomes the equivalent of the stitch, saving participants considerable time and money as they change jobs.

As the original proverb suggests, Williams argues that savers are much better-off consolidating their balances at each job change, vs. waiting until retirement to do so.

Williams backs up his advice with plenty of facts. 

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) estimates that the average American will change jobs over seven times in a 40-year career. Using figures obtained from a study of mobile workforce behaviors, Williams calculates that waiting to perform seven roll-ins at retirement age would take between 35 and 42 weeks of effort. 

To make matters worse, unconsolidated accounts lose a substantial amount in fees and compounded interest. For example, an account stranded at age 30 would lose an estimated $6,708.54 in fees and compounded interest by age 65.  

Finally, applying the “time is money” theory, Williams asserts that $100 to $500 of personal time spent rolling in balances now is much better than spending $700 to $3500 at age 65.

In addition to their virtues of saving time and money, roll-ins reduce the risk of losing your savings. Savers who’ve stranded accounts with less than $5,000 may be subject to being forced out of their plan and into a safe-harbor IRA, or worse – find themselves facing an involuntary cash-out if their balance is less than $1,000. 

With one in six Americans relocating in any given year, the chances of these small, stranded accounts “going missing” can skyrocket.

As Williams so aptly demonstrates, a “roll-in in time” will save you far more than nine when you’re ready to retire.

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Topics: MarketWatch, 401(k) Consolidation, Managed Portability, Roll-In, Participant transition management, assisted roll-in

A Different ‘Save’ to Consider During ‘National Save for Retirement Week’

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Oct 17, 2016 8:30:00 AM

By Neal Ringquist and Tom Hawkins

As we prepare to observe National Save for Retirement Week (also known as “National Retirement Security Week”), scheduled for October 16-22, it’s a great opportunity to remember why we, as individuals, need to save for our retirement. But the sobering reality is that we are all being called upon to save retirement itself—by rescuing a retirement system that doesn’t work for millions of hardworking Americans.

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Topics: Auto Portability, 401(k) Consolidation

How You Should Observe ‘National Save for Retirement Week’

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Oct 5, 2016 12:48:33 PM


In his most recent article in MarketWatch, RCH’s Spencer Williams notes the upcoming ‘National Save for Retirement Week’ event, and employs some clever word-association that has readers re-thinking the meaning of the word “save.”

As Williams points out, the worst decision an employee can make is not to “save” in the first place.  If they’ve made the right call to participate in their employer’s qualified plan, then the word “save” can take on a whole new meaning at the point they change jobs, when they may need to be rescued from the second-worst decision:  to cash out their retirement savings.


Citing a recent study by EBRI and ICI, Williams notes that consistent participation in a 401(k) plan is closely-linked to higher levels of job tenure.  Thus, if plan participants can avoid cashing out at job change and roll their balances forward, they create “synthetic tenure” – the unbroken, continuous participation in a qualified plan throughout their working career.

When National Save for Retirement Week begins on October 16, remember to “save” your retirement by never cashing out and by always keeping your savings invested in a defined contribution plan.



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Topics: MarketWatch, 401(k) Consolidation, Managed Portability, Roll-In, Participant transition management, assisted roll-in

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