On September 15, 2010, Pamela Perun, Policy Director of the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security, testified before the Department of Labor and Department of the Treasury on the topic of fiduciary safe harbors for the selection of lifetime income issuers and products. Perun’s testimony was one of approximately 45 that were delivered at the two-day public hearing. The Agencies urged panelists to recommend measures to improve the adoption of lifetime income options, helping more Americans to enjoy financial security throughout retirement.
While many panelists focused on how the Agencies could ease fiduciary burdens to encourage employers to offer lifetime income products, Perun suggested that this was not the big issue to focus on. “The question is really not, ‘How can we get a better fiduciary liability safe harbor for employers?’ The relevant question is, ‘What happens when something goes wrong in a lifetime income product?’” Perun encouraged the Agencies to consider what should be the extent of protection available to participants and who should provide such protections.
Perun also advised the Agencies to be attentive to how the private pension system has evolved and to shape new regulation accordingly. “As we move forward, we have to be mindful to balance the costs and benefits of new regulations under ERISA to secure the promise of lifelong income products.”
Read Perun’s full written testimony
Read Perun’s 2007 paper on this topic titled “Putting Annuities Back in Savings Plans”