Obama Sets Sights on Increasing Retirement Plan Access

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By Kristen Ricaurte Knebel

Jan. 26 — The Obama administration plans to unveil several retirement-related initiatives in its fiscal year 2017 budget blueprint, including a proposal that would make it easier for unrelated employers to join together to form pooled 401(k)s without running “afoul” of ERISA, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said.

The proposal that will be included in the forthcoming budget blueprint would remove “obstacles” presently in place to employers joining such pooled plans, known as “open multiple employer plans,” Perez said during a Jan. 25 call discussing the proposals.

The obstacles include the requirement that employers have a commonality or nexus to participate in a such a plan and reap the benefits of a single-employer plan, he said. The president's budget proposal will also include “sufficient consumer protections” for participants in these plans, Perez said.

Also to be included in the proposal are items from previous budget blueprints from President Barack Obama such as automatic-enrollment individual retirement accounts and tax credits to encourage small employers to start up retirement plans, Perez said.

The sum of all of these proposals would help “build a retirement system that reflects the 21st century workplace,” he said.

The budget proposal is set to be released Feb. 9.

For More Information

For more information, see Compensation and Benefits Library's Multiple Employer Retirement Plans chapter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristen Ricaurte Knebel in Washington at kknebel@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bna.com