Robert Pozen Discussing “Creating a Third Type of Retirement Plan”

Guest Speaker

Robert Pozen

Creating a Third Type of Retirement Plan

Friday, April 7th, 2017

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.


601 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20049

Featured Guest:

Robert Pozen is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has extensive experience in business, government and journalism. Bob was executive chairman of MFS Investment Management from 2004 to 2011; during this period, the assets of MFS more than doubled from a starting point of $130 billion. From 1987 through 2001, he served in various positions at Fidelity Investment. During his tenure as President of Fidelity Management and Research, from 1997 thru 2001, the assets of the Fidelity Funds rose from $500 billlion to $900 billion. Bob served as Associate General Counsel of the SEC in the late 1970s, and Chairman of the SEC’s Advisory Committee on Financial Reporting in 2007-2008. He was a member of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security, and served as Secretary of Economic Affairs under Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Bob has taught at Georgetown and NYU as well as Harvard and MIT. He has published seven books, mainly on financial issues. His latest book, Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, was #3 on Fast Company’s list of best business books for 2012. In addition, he often writes editorials for the Financial Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Peter Brady on ​”Using Tax Panel Data to Examine the Transition to Retirement”​

Guest Speaker

Peter Brady

​”Using Tax Panel Data to Examine   the Transition to Retirement”​

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Tax Foundation
1325 G St. NW
Washington, DC 20005

Featured Guest:

Peter Brady is is a Senior Economist in the Retirement and Investor Research Division at the Investment Company Institute (ICI). At the Institute, Mr. Brady focuses on pensions, retirement savings, and the taxation of capital income. Peter’s current research is focused on measuring changes in income in retirement and the tax treatment of retirement savings. His prior research includes work on retirement adequacy, replacement rates, pension coverage, and trends in pension income. Mr. Brady is currently President of the National Tax Association and is a member of the SOI Consultants Panel (for the Internal Revenue Service, Statistics of Income Division). Prior to joining the Institute, Mr. Brady worked as a financial economist in the Office of Tax Analysis at the U.S. Department of Treasury and, prior to working at the Treasury Department, as a staff economist in the Research Division at the Federal Reserve Board. Mr. Brady is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin.

Gary Burtless Discussing “What growing life expectancy gaps mean for the promise of Social Security”

Wednesday, February 22nd
with Gary Burtless, Senior Fellow at Brookings Institute discussing “The Growing Longevity Gap between Rich and Poor and Its Impact on Redistribution through Social Security”
Wednesday, February 22nd
Noon – 1:00 p.m.
1201 F St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

Gary Burtless is a senior fellow and holds the John C. and Nancy D. Whitehead Chair in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He does research on issues connected with the income distribution and poverty, public finance, aging, labor markets, social insurance, and the behavioral effects of government tax and transfer policy.

Nadia Karamcheva Discussing “Trends in Family Wealth, 1989 to 2013”

Join us on Wednesday, January 18th at Noon
with Nadia Karamcheva of CBO discussing “Trends in Family Wealth, 1989 to 2013” in the United States”
Wednesday, January 18th
Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Location:  Cato Institute
Washington, D.C. 20005

Nadia Karamcheva is an economist at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in Washington DC. Prior to joining CBO, she worked as a research associate at the Urban Institute. Her research interests span a broad range of topics in labor economics and applied econometrics, with emphasis on retirement and the economics of aging. Her current work explores policy relevant topics related to Social Security, private pension plans, and labor force participation and savings behavior of older adults.

She has a Ph.D. in Economics from Boston College, an M.A. in Economics from the same university and a B.A. in Economics and Business Administration from the American University in Bulgaria.

Early enthusiasts of 401(k) plans regret what the retirement plan has become

Timothy W. Martin has an article in The Wall Street Journal where he writes about how the early backers of 401(k) plans regret their support of this type of retirement plan. Martin writes:

Many early backers of the 401(k) now say they have regrets about how their creation turned out despite its emergence as the dominant way most Americans save. Some say it wasn’t designed to be a primary retirement tool and acknowledge they used forecasts that were too optimistic to sell the plan in its early days. Others say the proliferation of 401(k) plans has exposed workers to big drops in the stock market and high fees from Wall Street money managers while making it easier for companies to shed guaranteed retiree payouts.

“The great lie is that the 401(k) was capable of replacing the old system of pensions,” says former American Society of Pension Actuaries head Gerald Facciani, who helped turn back a 1986 Reagan administration push to kill the 401(k). “It was oversold.” Misgivings about 401(k) plans are part of a larger debate over how best to boost the savings of all Americans. Some early 401(k) backers are now calling for changes that either force employees to save more or require companies to funnel additional money into their workers’ retirement plans. Current regulations provide incentives to set up voluntary plans but don’t require employees or companies to take any specific action.

Alaska and California top states with highest market pension debt per household

At the website US Pension Tracker, they rank the states by Market Pension Debt per Household (for 2015). Here are the top 5 and bottom 5 states:

1. Alaska        $110,538

2. California    $92,748

3. Illinois        $84,353

4. Connecticut    $81,273

5. Hawaii        $67,638


46. Nebraska    $24,992

47. Vermont    $24,326

48. North Carolina $22,066

49. Indiana        $19,686

50. Tennessee    $19,586




Reforming the GSEs and Injecting Private Actors into the Market

Guest Speakers

Ron Haynie,
Landon Parsons,
and James Glassman
“Reforming the GSEs and Injecting Private Actors into the Market”

Moderated by: Ike Brannon

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2226

Featured Guests:

Ron Haynie is vice president of mortgage finance policy for the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA). He provides leadership and guidance on all mortgage finance-related legislative and regulatory issues that impact community banks: government-sponsored enterprises, Federal Home Loan Banks, FHFA, HUD and mortgage rulemakings from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other banking regulators.

Landon Parsons is an Advisor, Banker, and Investor with in-depth experience in specialty finance, asset-backed securities, asset-based lending, capital markets solutions, treasury management, mortgage-backed securities, and secured debt issuance. He is also an analyst, commentator, and published author on US housing policy and reform.

James Glassman is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on Internet and communications policy in the new AEI Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy. He was also the founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute, a public policy development institution.

California and Illinois among states looking to make saving for retirement mandatory

Ben Steverman writes in Bloomberg that five states have plans over the next couple of years to introduce legislation which will require its citizens to save for retirement. He writes:

Now five states, where one in five Americans lives, are attempting a similar feat, this time with retirement. The goal in California, Oregon, Illinois, Maryland, and Connecticut over the next few years is to give nearly every worker the chance to save for retirement at work. Currently, 36 percent of U.S. private-sector workers don’t have access to a pension or 401(k)-style plan on the job, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. Even those who have a plan at work don’t always find it easy to sign up. As a result, 55 percent of workers aren’t saving for retirement at work. Young workers and Latinos are the least likely to have access to workplace retirement options. The states are trying to get more workers saving for retirement by requiring employers either to offer a plan to workers or to connect them to a portable, state-run retirement option. “It is an ambitious step that is part of a growing national movement aimed at protecting millions of Americans who are on track to retire into poverty,” California State Controller Betty Yee said in a speech earlier this month.

No new SEC regulations expected before the Trump administration takes office

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Jo White stated in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee that she did not believe the SEC will attempt to rush through regulations before Donald Trump is inaugurated in January. Ms. White said: “I don’t see any last-minute rushes. I intend to carry out the agenda I released in February 2016 as much as I can. I don’t think there’s consensus to move forward on the current commission.” This means new rules on investment advice standards will have to wait until the new administration is in office.

How Same Sex Marriage Affect Retirement Income and Government Budgets

Guest speakers

Stephen Rose
Karen E. Smith
“How Same Sex Marriage Affect Retirement Income and Government Budgets”

They will discuss their new paper on using DYNASIM to estimate the impact of legal same-sex marriage on retirement income and government budgets.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Noon-1:00 p.m.

Tax Foundation
1350 G Street #950
Washington D.C.

Dr. Stephen J. Rose is a Research Professor at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy and a nationally-recognized labor economist who has been doing innovative research and writing about the interactions between formal education, training, career movements, incomes, and earnings for the last 35 years.

Karen Smith is a senior fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where she is an internationally recognized expert in microsimulation. Over the past 30 years, she has developed microsimulation models for evaluating Social Security, pensions, taxation, wealth and savings, labor supply, charitable giving, health expenditure, student aid, and welfare reform.

Low interest rates hurting pensions throughout the world

The Wall Street Journal
article looks at the problems facing pension funds due to the extended period of low interest rates.

“Interest rates have never been so low,” said Corien Wortmann-Kool, chairwoman of the Netherlands-based Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, Europe’s largest pension fund. It manages assets worth €381 billion, or $414 billion. “That has put the whole system under pressure.” Only about 40% of ABP’s 2.8 million members are active employees paying into the fund. Pension funds around the world pay benefits through a combination of investment gains and contributions from employers and workers. To ensure enough is saved, plans adopt long-term annual return assumptions to project how much of their costs will be paid from earnings. They range from as low as a government bond yield in much of Europe and Asia to 8% or more in the U.S. The problem is that investment-grade bonds that once churned out 7.5% a year are now barely yielding anything. Global pensions on average have roughly 30% of their money in bonds. Low rates helped pull down assets of the world’s 300 largest pension funds by $530 billion in 2015, the first decline since the financial crisis, according to a recent Pensions & Investments and Willis Towers Watson report. Funding gaps for the two biggest funds in Europe and the U.S. have ballooned by $300 billion since 2008, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.


A Trump presidency brings uncertainty to DOL’s new fiduciary rules

Timothy Weatherhead writes in The Hill that the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rules for financial advisors may be terminated when Donald Trump takes over presidency on January 20th. He writes:

Jill Hoffman, vice president of government affairs for Financial Services Roundtable, told The Hill Extra she expects the Trump administration to initially suspend the rule upon taking office, given his campaign platform. “The Trump campaign made very clear that any new regulations from the Obama administration that were not compelled by Congress or for public safety there’s a plan to put a temporary hold on any of those regulations,” Hoffman said. “We can reasonably assume that there’s going to be some kind of freeze on, not just the DOL rule, but any other rules not compelled by Congress or for public safety reasons.” Brian Gardner, managing director of financial services firm KBW, told The Hill Extra the length of the suspension is entirely up to the new administration. Following the suspension, the administration has to determine how to proceed, he said. 


Small business owners unprepared for retirement

Rodney Brooks writes in The Washington Post
of a recent survey which shows small business owners are unprepared for retirement. He writes:

According to a new report from BMO Wealth Management, only a fraction of the nation’s 28 million small business owners are prepared for retirement. BMO called the report “startling.” According to the survey:

  • 75 percent of small business owners have saved less than $100,000 in retirement funds. In the upper age bracket (ages 45-64) the entrepreneurs were only slightly more prepared — 68 percent have saved less than $100,000.
  • Only 8 percent had saved more than $500,000, which is still not considered enough for retirement for many people.

Jason Miller, national head of wealth planning at BMO Wealth Management, says they weren’t surprised by the results. “Unfortunately, the results bear out what we see in practice,” he says. “I don’t know that there were any surprises.”