Aspen Institute to Host Briefing On Improving Retirement Security in California

September 28, 2015

Contact: David Mitchell
Initiative on Financial Security


Aspen Institute to Host Briefing On Improving Retirement Security in California

Attendees include California Treasurer John Chiang, California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Mark Iwry

WHAT: The Aspen Institute will be hosting a briefing for the California Secure Choice Investment Board on “Investment Products and Program Design: How to Maximize Participation, Contribution Rates, and Financial Security in Retirement.”

In 2012, California created the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board, which was tasked with determining the feasibility of establishing a retirement savings program for the state’s 7.5 million private sector employees who do not currently have access to a retirement savings plan at work. As part of this effort, The Aspen Institute’s Initiative on Financial Security will host a briefing to provide expert opinion on key design elements of the program. The event will open to the public and on the record. 

The event will begin with opening remarks from California State Treasurer and Secure Choice Board Member John Chiang, California State Senator Kevin de León, and Aspen Initiative on Financial Security Executive Director Ida Rademacher, followed by a keynote address from Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Retirement and Health Mark Iwry. Following his remarks, there will be two panel discussions. The first panel – featuring Dr. James Choifrom Yale University, Dr. Geoffrey Sanzenbacher from the Center for Retirement Research, and Dr. Fernando Torres-Gil from UCLA – will explore how the principles of behavioral economics can inform the key elements of sound retirement plan design for California, and also consider how demographics and other factors are likely to impact participation in the program. Topics will include automatic features (enrollment, escalation, and investment), default contribution levels, investment choices, and withdrawal policies. The second panel – featuring David John from the AARP, Bennett Kleinberg from Prudential Retirement, and Judy Miller from the American Retirement Association – will tap into deep expertise in the financial industry and advocacy community as it relates to the product design elements outlined above. The goal of this session will be to identify the most important design features for the target population of Secure Choice and the principal challenges associated with incorporating them into actual plans.

Press and cameras are welcome at the event and a Q&A will follow.


  • John Chiang, California State Treasurer
  • Dr. James Choi, Professor of Finance, Yale School of Management
  • Kevin de León, Senate President pro Tempore, California State Senate 
  • J. Mark Iwry, Senior Advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Retirement and Health Policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • David John, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP
  • Bennett Kleinberg, Vice President for Institutional Investment Solutions, Prudential Retirement
  • Judy Miller, Director of Retirement Policy, American Retirement Association
  • Ida Rademacher, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security
  • Dr. Geoffrey Sanzenbacher, Research Economist, Center for Retirement Research, Boston College
  • Dr. Fernando Torres-Gil, Director, Center for Policy Research on Aging, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs 

WHEN: Monday, September 28, 2015, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM PST

WHERE: California State Teachers’ Retirement SystemWest Sacramento Member Service CenterBoard Room, 100 Waterfront Place, West Sacramento, CA 95605. The event will also be webcast live here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To register, please click here or email 

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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