Retirement Consultants Share Key Messages Delivered to Legislators on Retirement Plan Policies at NAPA D.C. Fly-In

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Director of Marketing & Communications
August 3, 2020

For the second time, Marsh & McLennan Agency Retirement Consultants and National Association of Plan Advisor (NAPA) Delegates; Craig Reid, Lisa Buffington, Brian Bartkus, Doug Morash and Marc Zimmerman attended NAPA’s 2020 Virtual D.C. Fly-In Forum. The team was able to meet with federal policy makers in Washington D.C. to advocate on important retirement legislation that will significantly improve retirement savings for millions of Americans. 

The team met with Senate and House Representatives’ offices for the states of MA, CT, MO, FL, and KS and emphasized the following messages:

Provide Immediate 401(k) Plan Funding Relief. Pension plans received federal funding relief in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we strongly believe additional funding relief is critical for 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Many small employers have suffered financial hardships in this current environment. Additionally, many employers are having difficulty supporting their 2019 and 2020 employer contribution funding requirements. Our message to Capitol Hill was in support of funding relief that would allow plan sponsors of both safe harbor and non-safe harbor plans to suspend future employer contributions for 2020 while also getting relief from their 2020 plan year compliance obligations. Safe harbor plans would maintain their safe harbor status for the remainder of the plan year, while non-safe harbor plans would be exempt from ADP/ACP testing but would remain subject to top heavy testing. Employers with fewer than 500 employees that have not yet funded their 2019 plan year contribution may delay their employer contribution funding obligation for one year. Another component of the proposed relief would help employers who have had to lay off a significant number of employees avoid a partial plan termination if the active participant count as of March 13, 2021, is 80 percent of the active participant count at the time the national emergency was declared.

The Wall Street Tax Act must be re-written to exclude 401(k) Plans. The proposed tax (also referred to as the Financial Transaction Tax) assumes 0.10% fees on the sale of stocks, bonds and derivatives. This is problematic for 401(k) plans when you consider participants’ ongoing contribution deferral, fund transfer, loan and hardship withdrawal activity. A study published by The Investment Company Institute shared at the Fly-In Forum proved this tax, as currently written, would increase 401(k) plan investment expenses by 31 percent. We believe this is especially problematic knowing over 25 million American workers have income less than $50,000. Additionally, application of this tax on 401(k) plans would require individuals to work 2.5 years longer to recover the lost retirement savings. Bottom line, the Financial Transaction Tax Legislation would be detrimental to retirement plan savings.

Quotes from the team:

 “Marsh & McLennan Agency values the opportunity to discuss the importance of providing relief for Small Business Retirement Plans as a top priority.  The relief could impact over 200,000 retirement plan sponsors who are trying to keep their doors open and hard-working Americans employed.” Craig Reid, National Practice Leader.

“It is our top priority to make sure our clients and their retirement plan participants are taken care of, and it’s our job to advocate on their behalf. I am eager to share what we’ve learned on the Hill with our clients so they feel educated, empowered, and at ease.  I am appreciative of the NAPA and ARA organizations’ efforts to give retirement plan consultants and advisors a voice on these issues that is heard on Capitol Hill.” Lisa Buffington, Managing Consultant- New England.

"As America shifts from the Defined Benefit era towards Defined Contribution plans, the importance of a more transparent, effective, and professionally governed retirement system is paramount for the successful transition of the working class to retirement.  The retirement advisor community within the NAPA and MMA organizations have dedicated their careers to provide companies with the “game plan” to ensure that all employees can reach this goal.   I look forward to working with our elected leaders to ensure the needs of employees are given top priority when future legislation is composed." Marc Zimmerman, Director of Retirement Services, Centurion Group / Marsh & McLennan Agency