By John Iekel
The Oregon Retirement Savings Board (ORSB), the body that runs OregonSaves – the nation’s first state-sponsored savings program for employees whose employers do not offer retirement benefits – has provided an update on recent activities, implementation and future steps.
Where Things Stand
May 15 was the deadline for employers with 50-99 employees to either register to make it possible for their employees to participate in OregonSaves or certify that they are exempt from the program.
The ORSB reports that as of June 1, 954 employers have registered with OregonSaves, and 73% of their 51,993 employees have enrolled. Further, the ORSB says that the average employee contribution is approximately $100 per month, and OregonSaves now has assets of more than $3.5 million.
The ORSB notes in the recently released minutes of its March 13, 2018 meeting that it is actively seeking to refine procedures, as are the vendors with which it has contracted to assist in administering the program.
By mid-March, Ascensus had begun soliciting feedback from parties involved with implementation to identify areas where improvements could be made. In addition, Duke University and Commonwealth have been looking at notices the ORSB has been sending in order to optimize them and test different versions. The tests are intended to test the effect of different versions of the notices on getting employers to respond in a timely manner to notices by registering with OregonSaves or certifying exemptions from participating in the program.
A Helping Hand
Asencus Vice President for Relationship Management Matt Golden reported to the ORSB that Ascensus’ Client Services provides assistance to employers and employees in a variety of ways:
- sending out early adoption notices;
- adding a fee page to the web sites that serve employers and employees; and
- posting content from employers about their experiences using the system.
The ORSB reports that improvements have been made to the employer portal based on employer comments. They further report that they are making it a standard practice for field representatives to immediately offer personal assistance. And they say that an increasing number of employers are taking advantage of the education sessions they offer about OregonSaves.
The ORSB says that from Jan. 1 to May 31, 2018, OregonSaves representatives answered 2,906 calls from employers and 5,476 calls from employees. They also answered 2,867 emails.
And both Ascencus and OregonSaves representatives are using shared screens to troubleshoot employers’ difficulties in using the system in real time.
The ORSB reports that its staff will begin a third round of permanent rulemaking for OregonSaves this summer, and that it is determining the membership of the Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC). The topics the RAC will discuss in the next round of rulemaking will include:
- an opt-in mechanism for individual employees ineligible for automatic enrollment;
- allowing employees to waive the 30-day period before they can auto-enroll;
- adding a traditional IRA as an option;
- clarifying the definition of the term “number of employees; and
- clarifying whether employers contributing to MEPs are exempt from participating in OregonSaves.
The ORSB plans for the next set of rules to be finalized by mid-October.