As spring turns to summer, and the days are getting longer and warmer, NAGDCA staff is hard at work building our summer programming and preparing for another great fall conference. However, as you all know by now, the Board made the difficult decision to hold this year’s event virtually once again.
While restrictions are loosening across the country – with mask mandates lifting and businesses opening their doors – it was apparent to us that hosting a national event of the magnitude we are accustomed would not be feasible, even by September. Instead, we will put our effort into providing you and your teams with the most compelling and thought-provoking content possible in a virtual format. Our speaker roster is superb, and the topics were handpicked by our terrific Annual Conference Committee to deliver the information you need to help you be successful in your role.
In the meantime, we will continue to offer opportunities to connect with your peers and expand your thinking. One project we are particularly proud of is the development of templates for our government members to use when evaluating investment managers. The templates focus on three emerging topics in the industry: cyber security, ESG practices, and diversity and inclusion. They are easily customizable so members can add or subtract questions relevant to their situation. The templates were developed by an outstanding team of industry experts who volunteered their time to help us design a product our members could use immediately. Be on the lookout for a webinar to discuss the templates, and associated practices, later this month.
Furthermore, we continue to hold bi-monthly online NAGDCA Connect discussion forums for our government members. The idea is to offer members an opportunity to have unscripted conversations with friends and colleagues about whatever is most pressing for your plans. The feedback on the sessions has been great so far, and we encourage you to join the conversation.
June is also the last month new plans can authorize their participation in our PRRL database. Several new plans have signed up this year, representing hundreds of thousands of participants from across the country to add to our nearly 2.5 million from the inaugural database. This year, we took the first steps in understanding the landscape of public DC plans and how participants are choosing to invest their money. In the coming months, we will take a deeper look at how DB, DC, and Social Security interact to create a secure retirement for public sector workers. This summer we will also re-introduce our benchmarking portal, so you can see how your plan compares to your peers. It only takes a few minutes to add your plan to the list – join today!
Finally, we want to thank all of you for your support and camaraderie. Your engagement and enthusiasm have kept us motivated to continue to build a better NAGDCA. We miss seeing you all greatly and look forward to a time when we can come together again. Until then, be safe and take care.
All the Best,
By Groom Law Group
As COVID recedes, Washington has spent its spring focused on President Biden’s two-pronged approach to infrastructure: the American Jobs Plan, centered on traditional, physical infrastructure such as bridges and roads, and the American Families Plan, the “social infrastructure” companion that includes paid leave, expanded childcare programs, and free community college, among other priorities. As of this writing, negotiations on the former between Senate Republicans and the White House remain ongoing as President Biden seeks to notch a bipartisan victory.
In the retirement space, of course the big news is the reintroduction of the bills colloquially known as “SECURE 2.0” and “Portman-Cardin.”
- The House Ways and Means Committee unanimously approved R. 2954, the Securing a Strong Retirement Act (nicknamed “SECURE 2.0”), during a May 5 markup. There will likely be changes to the bill before it goes to the House floor, which could occur before the August recess. Importantly, there are a number of provisions relevant to NAGDCA members and that directly address NAGDCA legislative priorities. The Senate is unlikely to consider the legislation before the fall, and the committees of jurisdiction will likely want to make a number of changes. A section-by-section summary is available here.
- On May 20, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) reintroduced a revised version of their Retirement Security & Savings Act (1770). Some key provisions include student loan “matching” contributions, an expanded and refundable Savers Credit, increased flexibility for required minimum distributions, and expanded 401(k) eligibility for part-time workers. The bill is similar to SECURE 2.0 and has similar impacts on governmental plans, but its authors have not released a summary of the bill, though a press release provides some highlights.
The Senate is likely to take the best provisions from SECURE 2.0 and Portman-Cardin whenever it does finally take up retirement legislation. An alert outlining the SECURE 2.0 provisions most relevant to governmental plans will go out on Tuesday, June 8.
Also, this spring on May 13, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (“HELP”) Committee held its first hearing on retirement security in eight years. The witnesses were:
- Lori Lucas, President and CEO, Employee Benefit Research Institute, who spoke on a wide range of retirement policy topics, among them the future of auto-portability;
- Shai Akabas, Director of Economic Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center, who likewise spoke on an assortment of topics and encouraged lawmakers to shore up Social Security;
- Deva Kyle, Counsel, Bredhoff & Kaiser, who spoke on retirement disparities for women and minorities; and
- Dave Gray, Head of Workplace Retirement Products, Fidelity Investments, who was supportive of efforts to expand student loan programs and health savings accounts, also mentioned that his company has processed 1.6 million early withdrawals since the CARES Act authorized such withdrawals last year.
A recording of the hearing and written testimony from the witnesses may be accessed here.
In additional news on the retirement front, President Biden issued an executive order on May 20 addressing climate-related financial risk. The Executive Order states that “the intensifying impacts of climate change present physical risk to assets, publicly traded securities, private investments, and companies” and directs the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) to “protect the life savings and pensions of United States workers and families from the threats of climate-related financial risk.” It further directs the Department to consider rescinding or revising the Trump Administration’s rules related to environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) investing and the proxy voting. The Secretary of Labor has 180 days to provide a status update on these items to the White House. Although governmental plans are not subject to DOL’s ERISA guidance, given the significant focus on ESG in governmental plans, NAGDCA will be paying close attention to the DOL’s next steps.
We look forward to an active summer here in Washington as policymakers tackle the items above and more.
2021 VIRTUAL ANNUAL CONFERENCE REGISTRATION OPEN
NAGDCA’s Annual Conference is the nation’s premier event for public sector defined contribution administrators. While we are all disappointed we can’t be together in person this year, we’re grateful we can still connect virtually.
The virtual conference will offer plan sponsors and industry representatives the opportunity to network with each other, share ideas with peers, learn innovative techniques for improving retirement outcomes, and much more! Click below to learn more and register.
Click here to register today!
CALL FOR EXECUTIVE BOARD NOMINATIONS
Nominations Due – Tuesday, June 29
A seat on the Executive Board is a prestigious opportunity to shape the future of NAGDCA and the public sector defined contribution industry. Board members gain experience and knowledge by working closely with fellow leaders that bring valuable diverse expertise and viewpoints to the organization. Join the Board and make a significant difference as we emerge from the impacts of COVID-19.
Click here to learn more.
2021-2022 COMMITTEE SIGN UPS OPENING SOON
Looking to get more involved with NAGDCA? Committee sign ups will open in later this month and we encourage all those that are interested in participating to submit their name.