WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Following is the statement of NCPERS Executive Director and Counsel Hank Kim, Esq. on the introduction of the Universal, Secure and Adaptable (USA) Retirement Funds Act of 2014 by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee:
“We applaud Sen. Harkin for focusing national attention on America’s retirement security crisis and the vital role defined pension benefits must play if we are to effectively address that crisis. His bold proposal for establishing USA Retirement Funds would help restore defined benefit pensions to the private sector, which is facing a retirement savings deficit in the trillions of dollars. His legislation would also make it far easier for private sector employers – especially small businesses – to offer retirement savings plans for their workers, since it would eliminate the investment risks and substantial administrative burdens involved with establishing those plans.
“The need for action has never been greater. More than half of private sector workers have no access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. The vast majority of those who do have 401(k)-style defined contribution plans, which were designed as savings vehicles to supplement traditional pensions, not replace them. So a crucial leg of the three-legged retirement stool – pensions, personal savings and Social Security – has all but disappeared.
“Allowing millions of Americans to age into retirement without sufficient financial assets will put additional burdens on state and local government services and on our economy as a whole – which is why a number of states are investigating options for establishing their own public-private partnerships to encourage growth in private sector retirement savings.
“NCPERS has been working with those states with its own Secure Choice Pension (SCP) proposal, which closely resembles the solution that Sen. Harkin has crafted in the legislation he is introducing today. NCPERS looks forward to working with Sen. Harkin and other policymakers who share our goal – to make retirement security a reality for all Americans.”
The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) is the largest trade association for public sector pension funds, representing more than 550 funds throughout the United States and Canada. It is a unique non-profit network of public trustees, administrators, public officials and investment professionals who collectively manage more than $3 trillion in pension assets. Founded in 1941, NCPERS is the principal trade association working to promote and protect pensions by focusing on advocacy, research and education for the benefit of public sector pension stakeholders.