Retirement policy discussion in early 2017 will likely largely be driven by the U.S. Congress rather than the new president, said Michael P. Kreps, principal at Groom Law Group.
In a keynote address at Pensions & Investments' West Coast Defined Contribution Conference in San Diego, Mr. Kreps said he does not believe retirement policy will be the focus of the next president in the first 100 days of his or her presidency, despite retirement security being a "bread and butter" issue for Americans.
So far, the majority of retirement policy discussion by Republicans has been on the broader issue of tax reform, while the primary concern for Democrats has been Social Security, Mr. Kreps said.
One issue Congress will “absolutely be forced to reckon with” is multiemployer pension plan underfunding and limited Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. resources, Mr. Kreps said.
Mr. Kreps also addressed the Department of Labor's new fiduciary rule, noting that its implementation has been challenging, and predicting it will continue to be challenging. If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, Mr. Kreps predicts the fiduciary rule will persist. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has been less positive on the rule and could do something to scale it back, Mr. Kreps said.
Regarding the rollout of automatic IRAs and state-run retirement programs, Mr. Kreps noted that both Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton's campaigns have supported states' efforts to improve retirement security, and said efforts by the next administration to block these reforms are unlikely. However, if states are unable to implement these proposed plans properly, it wouldn't be surprising to see the U.S. government step in, Mr. Kreps said.