Today's DC Plans

In-Plan Income: Debunking Portability Myths

Institutional Retirement Income Council Releases Issue Brief on Portability Solutions for In-Plan Guaranteed Lifetime Income Benefits

ISELIN, NJ–(Marketwired – Apr 04, 2016) – The Institutional Retirement Income Council (IRIC), a non-profit think tank for the retirement income planning community, has released a new issue brief on portability solutions and options for guaranteed lifetime income benefits in defined contribution retirement plans.

The paper, “In-Plan Guaranteed Lifetime Income: Debunking Portability Myths,” comes at a time when a growing number of plan sponsors are evaluating guaranteed lifetime income options for their defined contribution plans.

With the ongoing shift away from traditional pension plans to 401(k) and other defined contribution plans, guaranteed lifetime income options are capturing the attention of plan sponsors.

Defined contribution plan assets are now recognized as a primary source of income for future retirees. As plan sponsors evaluate these options, one critical issue they need to consider is portability — the transferability of a participant’s guaranteed lifetime income benefit if a plan changes recordkeepers or a plan participant moves assets to an IRA.

The Portability Obstacle

“Portability is frequently cited as an obstacle to offering a lifetime income product due to both its importance and the widely-held misconception that portability options do not exist or are not feasible,” said Michael Westhoven, business development leader, lifetime income solutions, at DST Retirement Solutions, and an IRIC advisor who co-authored the brief. “The fact is portability is no longer a barrier. Solutions and options are widely available today although they may not be well recognized. Much has changed over the past decade with product designs, industry standards and new technology all working together to help plans and participants keep their guaranteed benefits.”

The IRIC issue brief provides comprehensive answers to a dozen frequently asked questions that plan sponsors often have about portability when evaluating in-plan retirement income solutions.

These include questions such as:

  • Why is portability important and what creates the need for it?
  • What exactly is being “ported” for guaranteed lifetime income products and what is required to accomplish portability?
  • What are a plan sponsor’s options if the recordkeeper they are moving to does not have their income product on the platform?
  • Can IRA rollovers be used for portability? Are there fees associated with moving a guarantee?
Portability is frequently cited as an obstacle to offering a lifetime income product

“As plan sponsors continue down the path of evaluating guaranteed lifetime income options for their plan participants, portability is without question one issue they will want to address. With the number of plans offering in-plan guaranteed lifetime income products now surpassing 33,000, recordkeepers and insurance companies are increasingly willing to expand the capabilities needed to support portability,” said Westhoven.

The issue brief, “In-Plan Guaranteed Lifetime Income: Debunking Portability Myths,” is a must read for plans sponsors considering guaranteed lifetime income solutions for their defined contribution plans. Michael Westhoven led a collaboration of product providers, retirement plan consultants and recordkeepers in creating the brief. To obtain a copy, please visit




About The Institutional Retirement Income Council
The Institutional Retirement Income Council (IRIC) is a non-profit, membership-based organization of industry advisors who are dedicated to sharing best practices, informing about legislative and regulatory issues, and facilitating solutions for plan sponsors and their participants. IRIC’s mission is to facilitate the culture shift of defined contribution plans from supplemental savings programs to programs that provide retirement security. By providing a forum for insightful, solutions-oriented thought leadership on institutional retirement income, the IRIC is promoting the need for retirement income adequacy for defined contribution plan participants.
About DST
DST Systems, Inc. (NYSE: DST) is a leading provider of specialized technology, strategic advisory, and business operations outsourcing to the financial and healthcare industries. Combining unmatched industry knowledge, critical infrastructure and service excellence, DST helps companies master complexity in the world’s most demanding industries to ensure they continually stay ahead of and capitalize on ever-changing customer, business and regulatory requirements. For more information, visit the DST website at