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View More Press Releases by Insured Retirement Institute [IRI]

Press release:

IRI Recognizes Policymakers for Commitment to Retirement Security

Issued by: Insured Retirement Institute [IRI]

Date: Nov. 17, 2016

Rep. Phil Roe, Rep. John Larson and Mark Iwry of the Treasury Department Recognized for Efforts to Advance Retirement Security

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 15, 2016 – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) today honored Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tennessee), Rep. John Larson (D-Connecticut) and J. Mark Iwry, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Retirement and Health Policy, as 2016 recipients of IRI’s Champion of Retirement Security Awards. The awards are bestowed upon public policymakers who support and advance policies that enhance retirement security in the United States.

“Today we recognize Congressman Phil Roe, Congressman John Larson, and Mark Iwry, a senior Treasury official, for their efforts to ensure all Americans have the opportunity to reach a financially secure and dignified retirement,” IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford said. “These leaders understand the challenges that Americans face in saving and preparing for retirement, and have worked tirelessly to promote sound policies — through legislation and regulation — to help Americans overcome these obstacles and achieve their retirement goals.”

Rep. Roe is Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions. During the 114th Congress, he supported several bills to advance initiatives on IRI’s retirement security agenda, including the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Act (NARAB II) and the Senior$afe Act. Rep. Roe also is a supporter of National Retirement Planning Week®, a nationwide campaign to help Americans focus on their long-term financial needs. The event is organized by the IRI-led National Retirement Planning Coalition.

Rep. Larson is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. He was an original co-sponsor of a 2012 IRI-supported congressional resolution (H.Con.Res.101) recognizing the importance of current tax incentives for retirement savings. Preserving these savings incentives is a central focus of IRI’s retirement security agenda. Rep. Larson also supported the Senior$afe Act as well as legislation to codify the Treasury Department’s myRA savings accounts into the tax code. The myRA accounts are designed for workers who do not have access to a workplace retirement plan.

During the past year, Reps. Roe and Larson co-sponsored the Affordable Retirement Advice Protection Act and the Strengthening Access to Valuable Education and Retirement Support (SAVERS) Act. The bills formed an IRI-supported legislative package to protect retirement savers’ access to financial advice while delivering important consumer protections.  

Mark Iwry has played a leading role in the Obama Administration’s efforts to expand retirement savings and coverage as well as make lifetime income more accessible to American workers. As part of this lifetime income initiative, under Iwry’s leadership, the Treasury Department issued final regulations providing for qualifying longevity annuity contracts (QLAC) in July 2014. These rules effectively opened the nation’s $14 trillion defined contribution plan and IRA market to deeply deferred income annuities by addressing an obstacle — posed by required minimum distribution rules — that had long impeded their use in these plans. IRI applauded the rule for helping “Americans enhance their retirement security at a time when they are most vulnerable to outliving their financial assets or facing reduced standards of living.”

Iwry also led the Treasury Department’s efforts to provide Treasury and IRS guidance making clear that plan sponsors may offer deferred income annuities in target date investment options that are designated as the default investment in 401(k) and other defined contribution plans. Additionally, he directed the Treasury Department’s efforts to issue a final rule making it easier for defined benefit pension plans that offer a lump sum option to allow pension plan participants to receive a portion of their benefits in the form of an annuity. The rule, referred to as the “partial annuitization rule,” facilitates and encourages more choices for defined benefit plan participants, most of whom otherwise would be confronted with an all-or-nothing choice between a lump sum or an annuity. Both efforts were commended by IRI.

Iwry also help champion the Treasury Department’s myRA accounts, and is sometimes referred to as the father of automatic enrollment for his lead role in formulating and directing the government’s strategy to define, approve, and promote auto-enrollment and other automatic features in 401(k) plans beginning in 1998. In addition, he co-authored the President’s automatic-IRA proposal to move toward universal coverage in retirement savings, which is being adopted in an increasing number of states, and is a principal author of the saver’s credit, the SIMPLE plan, the small business new plan startup credit, automatic rollovers to curtail leakage, direct deposit of tax refunds to IRAs and savings bonds, and other efforts to expand retirement savings and security.  

The awards were presented by IRI Chairman of the Board Robert DeChellis, President and CEO of Allianz Life Financial Services, LLC. The IRI Champion of Retirement Security Award was established in 2013 to recognize public policymakers who work to enhance retirement security in the United States. Recipients of this award demonstrate leadership in promoting retirement savings and financial security for all Americans. IRI will host a separate ceremony in December to honor Missouri Insurance Director and National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) President John Huff as the 2016 recipient of IRI’s State Champion of Retirement Security Award.

About the Insured Retirement Institute
The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) is the leading association for the retirement income industry. IRI proudly leads a national consumer coalition of 40 organizations, and is the only association that represents the entire supply chain of insured retirement strategies. IRI members are the major insurers, asset managers, broker-dealers/distributors, and 150,000 financial professionals. As a not-for-profit organization, IRI provides an objective forum for communication and education, and advocates for the sustainable retirement solutions Americans need to help achieve a secure and dignified retirement. Learn more at  


View More Press Releases by Insured Retirement Institute [IRI]

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