Consolidation Corner

Thomas Hawkins

As Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Tom Hawkins oversees all key operational aspects of sales and marketing, including RCH's web presence, digital marketing and plan sponsor proposals. In other roles for RCH, Hawkins has performed product development, helped lead the company's re-branding, evaluated & organized industry data and made significant contributions to RCH thought leadership positions. Hawkins has had a long & successful career in both the consulting & financial services sectors. Prior to joining Retirement Clearinghouse, Hawkins led Firm Resolve, LLC, a consultancy serving independent businesses. For MassMutual, Hawkins played a variety of roles, including the CEO of MassMutual Japan, Regional Executive / Latin America & Europe, and Division Head, Structured Settlements. Hawkins was also Senior Vice President, First Union National Bank and leader of their International Product Services group. Finally, Hawkins served as senior consulting manager for Accenture. Hawkins holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of North Carolina - Charlotte, and a master's in business administration from the Babcock Graduate School (Wake Forest University).
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Recent Posts

Why America’s Retirement Savings Needs Recycling

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Apr 24, 2017 10:58:04 AM

 

As we marked the 47th annual Earth Day on April 22nd, we were once again reminded of the need to protect our environment. This heightened awareness is testament to how far Americans have come in both recognizing and curbing the wasteful, destructive behaviors that emerged in the decades following World War II. Those excesses have given rise to conservation and environmentalism, and were heralded by the first Earth Day in 1970. 

 

Today’s Wasteful Behavior: Cash Out Leakage

 

While we may be more environmentally-conscious these days, we don’t apply the same principles financially. There is a highly-wasteful and harmful behavior that silently robs millions of the prospect for a comfortable or timely retirement. Every year, millions of Americans will needlessly cash out their retirement savings after changing jobs, converting these savings into wasted consumption and avoidable tax penalties.


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Topics: Auto Portability, Safe Harbor IRA, Automatic Rollovers, Cash Outs, America's Mobile Workforce, Automatic Rollover, auto portability simulation, National Retirement Savings Cash Out Clock

The African-American Retirement Crisis: How Auto Portability Can Help

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Mar 30, 2017 4:11:40 PM


Today, many Americans are hard-pressed to set aside enough savings for a timely or comfortable retirement.   The factors most-often cited as driving the coming “retirement crisis” include longer life expectancies, rising healthcare costs and stagnant incomes. 

 

The African-American community faces these same challenges plus other economic headwinds, but with larger hurdles to overcome to secure a comfortable retirement.   Nowhere is this more apparent than in America’s defined contribution system, where African-Americans are confronted by: 

  1. Lower overall use of employer-sponsored plans. In 2013, only 41% of African-American families had retirement savings accounts, vs. 65% of white, non-Hispanic families. 
  1. Lower levels of plan enrollment and contribution rates, including:

-  68% average plan enrollment, vs. 79% for white participants

-  2% lower contribution rates, vs. white participants

  1. Unfavorable demographic, economic and work-related factors. Compared against their white counterparts, the average African-American plan participant is 14% younger, has 10% less job tenure, earns 30% lower average salary and has 28.4% higher job turnover.
Read More

Topics: Auto Portability, Safe Harbor IRA, Automatic Rollovers, Cash Outs, America's Mobile Workforce, Automatic Rollover, auto portability simulation

The Fundamentals of Locating Missing Participants

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Mar 8, 2017 10:41:38 AM

This video presentation is designed to give the viewer a basic understanding of the principles of locating missing participants in 401(k) plans.

 

The video addresses the following key questions that plan sponsors have regarding the issue of locating missing participants:

  • What is a missing participant?
  • What causes missing participants?
  • Why is it important to locate missing participants?
  • What are the best practices for locating missing participants?
  • What should I look for in a missing participant locator service?

 

Read More

Topics: Missing Participants, Lost Participants

Big Changes Coming for Small 401(k) Accounts

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Feb 27, 2017 10:27:59 AM

 

The pace of change in today’s world is faster than ever -- and accelerating.  Consider the vast change witnessed by today’s centenarians over the course of their lives – moving from the horse-and-buggy to aviation, moon landings, the Internet and smartphones.

 

However, changes to America’s retirement system seem to unfold more slowly – sometimes moving at “the speed of retirement” – a glacial process driven by the moribund pace of legislation, further establishment of rules by regulatory agencies, the delivery of new features by service providers, eventual adoption by the plan sponsor community, and finally – by the individual actions of participants over the course of their working lives. 

 

Even truly transformative change, such as automatic enrollment and default investments such as target-date funds, took years to germinate before legislative action, in the form of the Pension Protection Act, provided the clarity that gave their adoption a needed jump start.

Read More

Topics: Auto Portability, Safe Harbor IRA, Automatic Rollovers, Cash Outs, America's Mobile Workforce, Boston Research Technologies, Automatic Rollover, auto portability simulation

Uncashed Distribution Checks: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Feb 9, 2017 2:17:10 PM

 

Now that we’re in the thick of flu season, we’re reminded of Ben Franklin’s famous axiom: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  A yearly flu shot is perhaps the best example of an effective, preventative action you can take to minimize your odds of catching the flu, and keep you breathing more easily than those who haven’t.

 

Similarly, retirement plan sponsors can take preventative steps to minimize the incidence of uncashed distribution checks, as well as to resolve the situations that inevitably occur.

Read More

Topics: Uncashed Check Services, Stale Dated Checks, Uncashed Distribution Checks

How to Remove 'Friction' from the 401(k) System

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Jan 24, 2017 8:10:00 AM



In consolidated testimony before the ERISA Advisory Council  on the topic of Participant Plan Transfers and Account Consolidation for the Advancement of Lifetime Plan Participation, EBRI’s Craig Copeland and Retirement Clearinghouse’s Tom Johnson presented “Auto Portability Research & Simulation: Automating Plan-to-Plan Transfers for Small Accounts” – providing the Council with the latest information & research on Auto Portability, as well as describing the present state of plan-to-plan transfers (“roll-ins”).

Read More

Topics: Auto Portability, 401(k) Consolidation, Managed Portability, Roll-In, Retirement Savings Portability

The ABCs of Auto Portability

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Jan 19, 2017 3:53:20 PM

 

 

This video presentation is designed to give the viewer a basic understanding of Auto Portability.

 

What is Auto Portability?

Auto Portability is:

  • The routine, standardized and automated movement of an inactive participant’s retirement account from a former employer’s retirement plan to their active account in a new employer’s plan. 
  • Serves the needs of participants subject to mandatory distribution provisions of their employer-sponsored plan (separated participants with account balances less than $5,000) to curb excessive cash out leakage occurring as participants change jobs.
  • Could be adapted to larger account balances, should public policy dictate a higher mandatory distribution limit.

 

Why is Auto Portability needed?


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Topics: Auto Portability, Managed Portability, Roll-In, Lifetime Plan Participation, Retirement Savings Portability, Thought Leadership, PSCA, Participant transition management

How Auto Portability Will Bridge the Minority 401(k) Participation Gap

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Dec 27, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Under-participation by minorities in America’s 401(k) system represents a significant economic disparity that requires creative, private-sector solutions.

Auto portability – an emerging plan feature that automatically moves small balance accounts forward when participants change jobs – could play a critical role in helping to bridge the participation gap.

Read More

Topics: Auto Portability, 401(k) Consolidation, Leakage, Auto Enrollment

Preventing retirement plan leakage: An infrastructure project that saves trillions

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Nov 30, 2016 10:08:25 AM

The recent U.S. Presidential election brought renewed focus upon large infrastructure projects: massive, capital-intensive efforts required to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, railways and airports. Desperately needed, these projects could cost taxpayers hundreds of billions, perhaps even trillions of dollars. 

However, there’s another vitally-needed, national infrastructure project that has negligible cost – but could generate trillions in savings, placed directly into the pockets of hard-working Americans. Finally, it can be delivered by the private sector, at no cost to American taxpayers. 


Sound too good to be true?  It’s not.

 

Read More

Topics: 401(k) Consolidation, Cash Outs, Leakage, BenefitsPro

The ABCs of Uncashed 401(k) Distribution Checks

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Nov 21, 2016 10:22:04 AM

 
 
 
 
 
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This video presentation is designed to give the viewer a basic understanding of the problem of uncashed 401(k) distribution checks.

What are uncashed distribution checks, and why should I care?

Uncashed distribution checks occur when retirement plan participants fail to cash or deposit a distribution from their qualified retirement savings account, for a variety of reasons, including:

  • an incorrect mailing address
  • a lost or misplaced physical check
  • a distribution check that was not anticipated 
  • as the result of inaction on the part of the participant  

Uncashed distribution checks are a growing problem for plan sponsors, as the numbers of small-balance accounts and separated participants grow. For qualified plans, uncashed distribution checks can represent a fiduciary liability, since the amounts must be considered plan assets until the check is cashed or otherwise resolved. Over time, the numbers of uncashed checks can mount, along with the administrative burden and fiduciary risk.

Plans can take steps to minimize the incidence of uncashed distribution checks, as well as to resolve the situations that inevitably occur.

Why do uncashed distribution checks occur?

Read More

Topics: Managed Portability, Roll-In, Retirement Savings Portability, Participant transition management, Stale Dated Checks

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