America’s 401(k) system, long plagued by friction, produces $92.4 billion of excessive cash-out leakage annually. In recent years and culminating in 2021, the private sector has finally “cracked the code” and is delivering innovative fintech solutions, combined with education and personal assistance to reduce friction and to enable true 401(k) portability.
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.
When research performed 8 years ago reveals that your 401(k) plan, by turning on portability and consolidation for all participants, has halved cashout leakage and dramatically reduced its small account problem, what do you do for an encore?
401(k) Plan Sponsors: How would you like to radically boost your participants’ financial wellness, increase your plan’s assets, reduce your plan’s costs, and prevent missing participants?
Adopting this one simple and proven trick – retirement savings portability – delivers all this and more!
The problem of missing participants in employer-sponsored retirement plans is one of the most important, yet perplexing issues facing plan sponsors, and for good reason.
Ensuring that participants (or their beneficiaries) receive their benefits is the essence of an employer’s fiduciary responsibility – and missing or unresponsive participants who become separated from those benefits can generate significant risks for plan fiduciaries.
In January, Alight Solutions released 2020 Hot Topics in Retirement & Financial Wellbeing, a survey of 130 plan sponsors employing 5.5 million workers and highlighting key trends among plan sponsors, including expanding financial wellbeing programs, increasing efforts to help participants bridge the gap between working and retiring, and strengthening programs to locate missing participants.
It’s no secret that interest rates have been at historically low levels for quite some time, but the recent announcement by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicates that rates will stay near zero for the foreseeable future. Chairman Powell stated in his address last month that the Fed would tolerate above-2% inflation instead of attempting to preemptively control inflation by raising interest rates.
It’s bad enough that more than 50 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment benefits since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. But in addition to the disruption, financial hardship, and uncertainty that unemployed Americans (and their families) are experiencing right now, this crisis also threatens their financial security during retirement.
The COVID-19 crisis has created a situation where tens of millions of American workers are in danger of seeing their retirement savings depleted. In addition to the awful death toll, the COVID-19 outbreak has led to extreme disruption in daily life, financial markets, and the economy—especially employment. As of May 28, more than 40 million Americans filed claims for unemployment benefits in the previous 10 weeks. This deadly combination of 1) levels of unemployment not seen since the Great Depression, 2) a significant market downturn, and 3) the ongoing plan-to-plan portability gap, has serious implications for these Americans’ retirement outcomes.
Sponsors of active retirement plans are increasingly challenged by the problem of missing participants, and the difficulties they face in performing diligent searches. After all, ensuring that plan participants (or their beneficiaries) receive the benefits they’re owed is a sponsor’s primary fiduciary responsibility.
When Ben Franklin coined the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” he wasn’t considering the problem of missing participants, but 401(k) plan sponsors would be wise to heed Ben’s sage advice.
Today, plan sponsors face an explosion of missing participants, driven by the ongoing adoption of auto enrollment and increasing workforce mobility. Their problems are further compounded by the administrative burden required to locate them, combined with a regulatory minefield that offers little guidance and is prone to taking inconsistent enforcement actions.