IRI ANNOUNCES 2021 FEDERAL RETIREMENT SECURITY BLUEPRINT

Posted on March 4, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) announced today its 2021 Retirement Security Blueprint to advance policies addressing the challenges and obstacles faced by America's workers and retirees seeking a secure and dignified retirement.

"Each year, we issue our Retirement Security Blueprint to communicate IRI's public policy agenda transparently and to constructively engage with policymakers on important issues for America's workers and retirees," said Wayne Chopus, IRI president and CEO.

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

Following the successful effort to enact the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act in 2019, IRI prepared to advocate for additional retirement security legislation in 2020. However, Congress appropriately focused its attention on the global pandemic and the enactment of measures needed to address the health and economic consequences it caused.

IRI pivoted its federal legislative strategy to propose a five-point plan to help retirement savers who may have been negatively affected by the pandemic's economic fallout. This effort proved to be successful in keeping retirement security on Congress’ agenda, culminating in the introduction of the Securing a Strong Retirement Act in the House and the Improving Access to Retirement Savings Act in the Senate. Both measures included most of the IRI plan proposals. Enacting those bills along with the Retirement Security and Savings Act will be IRI's priority for its 2021 legislative advocacy efforts.

"IRI's 2021 Federal Retirement Security Blueprint contains common sense, bipartisan policies to help our nation's workers and retirees achieve economic equity by strengthening financial security and promoting greater use of protected lifetime income investments that cannot be outlived," Chopus said.

IRI will continue to promote the adoption and uniform implementation of best interest standards of conduct for financial professionals across federal and state regulatory jurisdictions.

"After more than a decade of public debate, federal and state policymakers have seemingly coalesced around a consistent, workable best interest standard of conduct for financial professionals," Chopus said. "The continued adoption and implementation of this regulatory framework will be a significant focus for IRI in 2021."

Another IRI priority is to urge the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to reduce regulatory barriers that inhibit the offering of innovative products such as registered index-linked annuities (RILAs), the fastest-growing segment of the annuity market. IRI believes that the SEC has the authority to act on this issue, but the organization also is pursuing a legislative solution that directs the Commission to address this concern.

RILAs offer a way for investors to bring a 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 also 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.

Since the pandemic halted most in-person business transactions, IRI members needed to accelerate the adoption of digital solutions during the pandemic. However, various laws and rules applicable to the insured retirement industry require individuals to be physically present to conduct business and access the products and services needed to prepare for their retirement. Federal and state regulators responded to the pandemic by authorizing temporary relief measures. IRI believes that making that relief permanent would best serve retirement savers.

IRI has a multi-pronged strategy to achieve greater adoption of digital solutions. IRI is leading the retirement income industry to modernize the annuity transaction process that improves the advisor-client experience across the annuity's lifecycle. The IRI Blueprint identifies legislative and regulatory approaches that can further enable this transition.

"We expect to have a very active year pursuing our advocacy objectives, and we are optimistic about successfully advancing our agenda," Chopus said.

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Contact: Dan Zielinski