The Department of Labor’s much-anticipated Fiduciary Rule is ushering in many changes across the retirement services landscape, and the new rules governing the “what, how and why” for advice at the time of a participant’s job change will undoubtedly transform the rollover-to-IRA market. However, a closer reading of the Fiduciary Rule sends a clear, if unstated, signal to plan sponsors, financial advisors and record-keepers—absent a compelling reason to roll over to an IRA, keep participants invested in a qualified defined contribution plan throughout their working lives.
Consolidation Corner Blog
Consolidation Corner is the Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) blog, and features the latest articles and bylines from our executives, addressing important retirement savings portability topics.
In virtually any area of specialty, a unique jargon evolves that’s highly-specific to that field. To insiders using the lingo every day, it seems familiar and perfectly normal. To outside observers, it can feel like a foreign language -- with words, terms and acronyms that make no sense.
As we observe the 46th annual Earth Day this April 22nd, we appreciate the awareness that this event has brought to the need to protect our environment, the urgency that it’s instilled in all of us, and the tangible results that have been achieved in so many important areas. Although we have much work to do, we’ve clearly come a long way since the “throwaway” culture that emerged following World War II.
Automatic rollover programs allow plan sponsors to force out of their plan separated participants with balances less than $5,000 into a Safe Harbor IRA. These programs can be quite effective at helping sponsors resolve many of the problems associated with housing small-balance accounts in-plan, such as:
As has happened so many times before, the Baby Boomer generation is once again drawing attention to an unmet need: a seamless way to consolidate their collection of retirement accounts into a single account, which is a necessary step to creating a sturdy retirement plan. Much has been written about how sponsors can improve both their plans’ overall health and their participants’ retirement outcomes by embracing roll-ins; nonetheless, the account-consolidation process remains time-consuming and expensive for most participants.
Any day now, the Department of Labor will issue the final version of the long-awaited “Fiduciary Rule” which will redefine the term “fiduciary” under ERISA. Much has been written about the impact on advisors and broker-dealers, given their service models to retirement plans.
In a previous blog post, we asked, “Why dump mandatory distributions in a landfill when you can recycle?” As we wrote then, sponsors exercising their authority to automatically roll over separated participants’ small balances into safe harbor IRAs—without encouraging participants to take their retirement account savings with them at the point of job change, or facilitating “auto portability” to make plan-to-plan asset transfers a seamless process—are doing themselves and their participants a disservice in the long run.
In his March 3rd column in MarketWatch, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams establishes an important link between the board games we played as children (ex. – Candy Land, Trivial Pursuit and Snakes & Ladders) and the “games” we can play in adulthood, while managing our retirement savings. The children’s games are harmless, fun and instructive, but the adult retirement games (ex. – Cashing Out, Stranding Accounts, and Not Updating Your Address) are anything but.
In a previous post, Tales from the Roll-In Front Lines, Part I, we described a roll-in transaction gone awry: a comedy of errors that occurs all too often when service providers are unfamiliar with consolidating retirement savings from one plan into another.