Retirement income (1 - 10 of 27 items)
401(K) Plans: Clearer Regulations Could Help Plan Sponsors Choose Investments for Participants
GAO-15-578: Published: Aug 25, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 4, 2015.
Employers who sponsor 401(k) plans report using a range of default investment types to automatically enroll employees in their plans based on each type's design and other attributes. From 2009 through 2013, the majority of employers who sponsored 401(k) plans reported using a target-date fund as their default, according to data from three annual industry surveys that GAO reviewed. A target-date fu...
401(K) Plans: Greater Protections Needed for Forced Transfers and Inactive Accounts
GAO-15-73: Published: Nov 21, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 2014.
When a participant has saved less than $5,000 in a 401(k) plan and changes jobs without indicating what should be done with the money, the plan can transfer the account savings—a forced transfer—into an individual retirement account (IRA). Savings in these IRAs are intended to be preserved by the conservative investments allowed under Department of Labor (DOL) regulations. However, GAO found t...
Defined Benefit Pension Plans: Plans Face Challenges When Investing in Hedge Funds and Private Equity
GAO-11-901SP: Published: Aug 31, 2011. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 2011.
Millions of Americans rely on retirement savings plans for their financial well-being in retirement. Plan sponsors are increasingly investing in assets such as hedge funds (privately administered pooled investment vehicles that typically engage in active trading strategies) and private equity funds (privately managed investment pools that typically make long-term investments in private companies)...
401(k) Plans: Issues Involving Securities Lending in Plan Investments
GAO-11-359T: Published: Mar 16, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 2011.
Securities lending can be a relatively straightforward way for plan sponsors and participants to increase their return on 401(k) investments. However, securities lending can also present a number of challenges to plan participants and plan sponsors. GAO was asked to explain how securities lending with cash collateral reinvestment works in relation to 401(k) plan investments, who bears the risks, a...
401(K) Plans: Improved Regulation Could Better Protect Participants from Conflicts of Interest
GAO-11-119: Published: Jan 28, 2011. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 2011.
Recent volatility in financial markets highlights the need for prudent investment decisions if 401(k) plans are to provide an adequate source of retirement income. While plan sponsors and participants may receive help in assessing their investment choices, concerns have been raised about the impartiality of the advice provided. GAO was asked to describe circumstances where service providers may ha...
Private Pensions: Changes Needed to Better Protect Multiemployer Pension Benefits
GAO-11-79: Published: Oct 18, 2010. Publicly Released: Nov 16, 2010.
Thirty years ago Congress enacted protections to ensure that participants in multiemployer pension plans received their promised benefits. These defined benefit plans are created by collective bargaining agreements covering more than one employer. Today, these plans provide pension coverage to over 10.4 million participants in approximately 1,500 multiemployer plans insured by the Pension Benefit...
State and Local Government Pension Plans: Governance Practices and Long-term Investment Strategies Have Evolved Gradually as Plans Take On Increased Investment Risk
GAO-10-754: Published: Aug 24, 2010. Publicly Released: Sep 20, 2010.
Recent market declines have significantly diminished the asset value of state and local pension plans. Reported unfunded liabilities for these plans are estimated in the hundreds of billions of dollars. As a result, in the long term, these governments may need to make significant fiscal adjustments such as modifying employee benefits, or increasing contributions to plans. They may also alter inves...
401(k) Plans: Several Factors Can Diminish Retirement Savings, but Automatic Enrollment Shows Promise for Increasing Participation and Savings
GAO-10-153T: Published: Oct 28, 2009. Publicly Released: Oct 28, 2009.
Over the past 25 years, the number of defined benefit (DB) plans has declined while the number of defined contribution (DC) plans has increased. Today, DC plans are the dominant type of employer-sponsored retirement plans, with more than 49 million U.S. workers participating in them. 401(k) plans currently cover over 85 percent of active DC plan participants and are the fastest growing type of emp...
401(k) Plans: Policy Changes Could Reduce the Long-term Effects of Leakage on Workers' Retirement Savings
GAO-09-715: Published: Aug 28, 2009. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 2009.
Under federal regulations, 401(k) participants may tap into their accrued retirement savings before retirement under certain circumstances, including hardship. This "leakage" from 401(k) accounts can result in a permanent loss of retirement savings. GAO was asked to analyze (1) the incidence, amount, and relative significance of the different forms of 401(k) leakage; (2) how plans inform participa...
Private Pensions: Conflicts of Interest Can Affect Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans
GAO-09-503T: Published: Mar 24, 2009. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 2009.
Conflicts of interest typically exist when someone in a position of trust, such as a pension consultant, has competing professional or personal issues. Such competing interests can make it difficult for pension plan fiduciaries and others, in general, to fulfill their duties impartially and could cause them to breach their duty to act solely in the interest of plan participants and beneficiaries....