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Chief Evaluation Office (CEO)
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Chief Evaluation Office

Current Study

Portable Retirement Benefits and Investments Study


  • The purpose of this study is to gather information and advance the knowledge on (1) current and potential models for providing or expanding portability of retirement benefits and (2) tools available to guide individual investments that include Economic, Social, and Governance factors (ESG investments).

Research Questions:

  • To what extent is there portability within the current 401(k) system, and what explains lack of portability?
  • To what extent is there a gap in retirement coverage, who (what are the demographic? work history? characterizes) does it affect, and what explains it?
  • What retirement model options exist and could they provide coverage and portability to all (or more?) workers?
  • What types of information and methodologies have been utilized to create current ESG investment tools? How are the tools similar? How are they different?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the current methods of assessing ESG investments? How can these methods be improved or more widely implemented?

Key Components:

  • Assessment of the current approaches to implementing portable retirement benefits; assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach; and options for improving the portability of retirement benefits.
  • Environmental scan of the field of ESG investment tools.
  • Catalogue of the available ESG investment tools and the quality of information provided by these tools.

Project Duration: 17 months

Contract End Date: December 2017

Contractor: Summit Consulting, LLC, with Dr. Alicia Munnell, Center for Retirement Research and Dr. Meir Statman, Santa Clara University