the retirement plan industry looked very different 40 years ago when the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was implemented, and as the industry has
changed, the law and its standards have had to change as well.
anticipation of the 40th anniversary of ERISA, we asked our readers to share
their thoughts about ERISA and what change over the past 40 years has had the
biggest impact on plan participants (see “SURVEY SAYS: 40 Years of ERISA”). The change to ERISA during the past 40 years
that received the greatest percentage of votes from respondents for being the
one that most helped participant outcomes was the
establishment of Section 401(k) qualified deferred compensation plans, at
44.7%. This was followed by the sanctioning of automatic enrollment subject to
certain requirements in the Pension Protection Act (PPA) of 2006, at 21.3%.
comments, many responding readers questioned whether the shift in the retirement
landscape to employee retirement savings being mostly in defined contribution
(DC) plans still matches ERISA’s intent to protect workers retirement savings.
We wondered how those
who have influenced the industry—through their work within the government, as
an advocate or as a long-time provider to retirement plans—would answer the
same questions. On the pages that follow, several influential industry leaders share