State Street Global Advisors' Ronald O'Hanley's proposal for closing the national retirement savings coverage gap sparked spirited discussion and commentary at Pensions & Investments' Global Future of Retirement conference.
At the luncheon keynote address on Tuesday, SSgA's president and CEO provided details of his proposed national framework for retirement.
Mr. O'Hanley explained: “We have a system now, but it leaves half out.” He added: “We feel we're expanding on the current system.”
His proposed framework includes implementing auto enrollment and auto escalation; providing tax credits for small businesses; and eliminating barriers to multiple-employer plans.
“Time is not on our side. We need to act quickly,” Mr. O'Hanley said.
His proposal kicked off a retirement policy-making discussion over lunch, spurring conference attendees to ask such questions as whether retirement savings plans can be linked to the discussion of a $15 an hour minimum wage and if doing so would give the retirement issue more attention.
Another attendee posed the question of how to get small businesses without automated payroll to add auto enrollment and other automatic features for retirement plans.
Another mused on how to create and extend retirement plans to people — largely women — who have to leave the workforce to care for children or elderly family members.
Mr. O'Hanley welcomed the feedback and commentary from attendees, noting his proposal is far from final, but rather a first call to address a growing national problem.
“Let's not make perfect be the enemy of good,” he said.