Auto portability is a new “automatic” plan feature that is rapidly gaining acceptance by large defined contribution recordkeepers serving almost 10 million participants. While the feature is relatively new, it has received a great deal of attention in the media and has also been the beneficiary of definitive regulatory guidance, promulgated by the Department of Labor (DOL).
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.
Most agree – automatic rollover programs can help plan sponsors deal with problems associated with small-balance accounts, including:
- High levels of missing participants
- Increased administrative costs and workload
- Increased recordkeeping fees
- Lower average account balances
When auto portability becomes ubiquitous in America’s 401(k) system, it will herald 100% fully automated, end-to-end portability for all small-balance job-changers.
For consenting 401(k) participants, it seems that “happy endings” are possible.
New, compelling data from an ongoing program of portability for small-balance 401(k) job-changers illustrates the effectiveness and appeal of seamless portability, revealing broader implications for auto portability and for all job-changing 401(k) participants, regardless of balance.
Draft SECURE 2.0 legislation that provides for a PBGC-based Retirement Savings Office of the Lost and Found, along with the May release of a drama-laden white paper, could leave casual observers with the mistaken impression there is a massive problem with “forgotten” 401(k) accounts.
Past proposals for an Office of the Retirement Savings Lost and Found (“Lost & Found”) offered good examples of how the federal government could serve an important, ancillary role alongside the private sector in our nation’s 401(k) system.
As I wrote in a previous article, 401(k) automated portability is an idea whose time has come. To achieve that vision, how will we get from the present state to full automation of the plan-to-plan roll-in process?
This article, as well as the video below, offers readers a roadmap for the progression from ‘tired’ to ‘wired’ and finally, to the ‘inspired’ state that will eventually characterize 401(k) roll-ins.
Researchers realize that long-term retirement planning is not a natural act for most 401(k) plan participants. Consequently, important 401(k) plan features have evolved (ex. – auto enrollment, auto escalation, QDIA funds, etc.) to overcome the mis-match and to promote saving for retirement. Many of these features work spectacularly well – but only for as long as participants are actively participating in that plan.
In this series, I identify five key reasons why an auto portability program serves the best interests of plan participants.
Previously, in Part 1, I examined the dramatically improved participant outcomes that will result from a program of auto portability.
In Part 2, I describe how auto portability, by enhancing and extending automatic rollover programs, represents an enhanced standard of care for participants.