On 12/6/21, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) conducted day 1 of their two-day 90th Annual Public Policy Forum. This forum’s theme was “A Path to a More Equitable Solution: Solving the Retirement Coverage Gap” and it seems to have been highly popular, as it broke EBRI’s previous record for forum attendance.
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.
Traditionally, the anniversary gift for couples celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary is crystal. When the Pension Protection Act of 2006 was signed into law 15 years ago, a crystal ball would have been useful. Although this legislation was (commendably) crafted with the best of intentions, its unintended consequences for defined contribution plan participants and sponsors continue to reverberate.
In a 9/13/21 Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) webinar (The Impact of Proposed Legislative Changes on Retirement Income Adequacy), EBRI Research Director Jack VanDerhei presented an analysis of pending legislative changes, including automatic contribution plans and arrangements (ACPAs), paired with a refundable saver’s credit.
Concurrent with the COVID-19 pandemic, our elected representatives have been grappling with the issue of wealth disparities between America’s white and minority workers. Commendably, there has been bipartisan support in Washington, DC for measures to assist those who are historically under-served or under-saved in our national system for accumulating and incubating retirement savings.
At first glance, some retirement savings public policies can seem like a sure thing, particularly when they’re based solely upon the benefits that would directly result. However, in the real world, these “first order” effects are inevitably followed by “second order” effects, which can sometimes be antithetical to the policy’s original intent.
During testimony in a July 28th hearing held by the Senate Finance Committee (Building on Bipartisan Retirement Legislation: How Can Congress Help?), Aliya Robinson, Senior Vice President of Retirement and Compensation Policy for the ERISA Advisory Committee (ERIC), twice voiced her support for auto portability, the new plan feature that automatically moves small balances to the new employer’s plan when participants change jobs.
The Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021, nicknamed the “SECURE (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) Act 2.0,” was passed unanimously by the House Ways and Means Committee, and many expect the bill to pass the full House of Representatives.
On May 13, 2021, the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held its first hearing on retirement security since 2013. With testimony from a blue-ribbon panel of witnesses, the hearing had a broad focus, but the topic of retirement savings leakage, and its most-promising solution, auto portability, were prominently featured.
Financial wellness has taken on a new urgency over the past year as we have witnessed a series of “once-in-a-lifetime” events that affect how we work and save for retirement. In response, many plan sponsors have adopted new and important tools to strengthen the financial wellbeing of their participants.
The case for auto portability, the new 401(k) plan default feature that automatically transfers small-balance retirement savings when participants change jobs, has always been strong. Now, with the April 22nd release of EBRI’s 31st Annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), the case has grown stronger.