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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) released its 2022 Federal Retirement Security Blueprint detailing the association’s federal legislative and regulatory public policy agenda.

“Many workers and retirees are experiencing an unexpected detour on their path to retirement security,” said Wayne Chopus, IRI President & CEO. “As our nation continues to endure an unprecedented health crisis and momentous disruptions to our nation’s and the world’s economies, there is still much more to do. IRI’s 2022 Federal Retirement Security Blueprint includes common-sense, bipartisan policies to help our nation’s workers and retirees achieve economic equity, strengthen their financial security, and protect their income to sustain them throughout their retirement years.”

IRI’s Blueprint is built on five pillars that establish a foundation to strengthen and enhance our nation’s retirement security.

1. Expand opportunities to save for retirement by enhancing access to, and features of, workplace retirement plans
2. Facilitate and expand the use of protected, guaranteed lifetime income to produce sustainable income during retirement
3. Preserve and promote access for retirement savers to professional financial guidance, education, and information
4. Enhance protections to safeguard Americans from financial exploitation and fraud; and
5. Maintain and augment the current tax treatment of retirement savings

One of IRI’s principal 2022 public policy goals is enacting retirement security legislation that builds upon the association’s successful advocacy to enact the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019.

Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee passed H.R. 2954, the Securing a Strong Retirement Act, and the House Education and Labor Committee passed H.R. 5891, the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement Act. Similar bills, the Retirement Security and Savings Act (S. 1770) and the Improving Access to Retirement Savings Act (S.1703), were introduced in the Senate. IRI expects these measures to advance in 2022.

“We are optimistic that Congress will move bipartisan legislation this year,” Chopus said. “Elected leaders from both parties understand that retirement anxiety and insecurity is an issue for many people, and that drives a willingness to find and enact solutions.”

Among key provisions supported by IRI in its Blueprint is a requirement that new employer-provided retirement plans automatically enroll employees. Plan participants would have the ability to opt out of a plan. IRI also calls for measures to help insure against the risk of outliving retirement savings by facilitating the use of protected lifetime income solutions, such as qualifying longevity annuity contracts (QLACs), and authorizing annuities for use as a qualified default investment alternative in retirement plans.

Another IRI priority is to urge the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to reduce regulatory barriers that inhibit innovative products such as registered index-linked annuities (RILAs), the fastest-growing segment of the annuity market. RILAs offer a way for investors to bring balance to their retirement savings portfolio by allowing the purchaser the opportunity to participate in some market growth along with a reduced downside exposure to partially protect the investor from market losses. IRI believes that the SEC has the authority to act on this issue, but the organization is also pursuing a legislative solution that directs the Commission to address this concern.

IRI will continue to pursue regulatory modernization across federal and state jurisdictions to allow greater use of electronic means of transacting business, including document delivery, notarization, and signatures while preserving the option to receive paper upon request.

The association also expects to see final regulations from the Department of Labor requiring retirement plans to provide lifetime income illustrations to help plan participants understand how much monthly income their workplace retirement plans may provide during their golden years.

At the state level, IRI will continue to advocate for adoption of National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ model regulation that holds insurance professionals to a best interest standard of conduct when they recommend annuities to their clients. To date, 20 states have adopted this model.

“We look forward to working with Congress and regulators in the coming weeks and months to build greater support for our proposals,” Chopus added. “We are optimistic that they will help more consumers achieve a financially secure and dignified retirement.”

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Contact: Dan Zielinski

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