WASHINGTONAt a separate summit on 401(k) reform during last weeks General Membership Meeting of the Investment Company Institute, Putnam Investments CEO Robert L. Reynolds called for sweeping retirement reform, beginning with mandatory automatic enrollment in qualified default options, savings escalation, the inclusion of retirement income options and full advice on asset allocation and retirement planning.
Further, Reynolds believes the government should provide tax credits to employers who voluntarily match worker savings contributions since these employers are helping to meet a national savings challenge. Additionally, Reynolds is asking the government to provide additional tax incentives to employees who invest in protected lifetime income products, reasoning that the decision to give up some control of assets should be rewarded.
If we draw the right lessons from the tough markets weve been passing through, Reynolds said, we can create a 21st century workplace savings system that will improve participants results, lower volatility and reliably deliver a major share of income for life.
The multi-trillion dollar wave of wealth destruction that struck America s markets in 2008 inflicted serious losses for retirement savings, Reynolds said. We need to act now to reboot the system and boost retirement savings substantially. If we dont, millions of future retirees could face shortfalls in the income they need for everyday essentials such as food, medicine and housing.
As far as the failure of target-date funds is concerned, Reynolds believes the percentage of stocks these funds hold should be restricted, particularly as target-date funds near retirement expiration.
Reynolds also suggested the creation of a national insurance regulator to guarantee annuity products, much as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. protects bank accounts. While Putnam currently does not sell annuities, it is working with parent Great West Life to develop some.