Original post benefitspro.com

The Institutional Retirement Income Council has announced the top four retirement industry trends to watch in 2016.

  1. Financial wellness plans.

According to IRIC, financial wellness will be a big one.

Employers are expected to significantly expand wellness programs that currently focus on physical wellbeing so that they also include features focusing on financial wellbeing.

With all the financial challenges faced by employees—including medical expenses, credit card debt, college expenses, and retirement planning—financial wellness programs have been growing increasingly popular, with that trend expected to continue in the year ahead.

A 2014 Society for Human Resource Management survey reported that 70 percent of HR professionals predicted that baby boomers would likely participate in a financial wellness program if their employer offered one.

Such programs will likely include not just ways to manage debt and better save for retirement, but also how to calculate a spend-down plan once in retirement and how to incorporate Social Security into one’s overall strategy.

  1. Out of plan or in plan?

Next is the trend that pits out-of-plan income solutions against in-plan solutions.

In their quest to be sure that retirement savings will provide a regular source of income throughout retirement, participants have been looking outside of their retirement plans to find ways to translate a lump sum into a monthly check.

However, the Department of Labor’s expected implementation of a fiduciary rule will have a major effect on out-of-plan advisors, as well as in-plan options.

The release of a Center for Retirement Research study that showed IRAs’ rate of return a poor substitute for that of defined benefit plans will, according to IRIC, “make it all the more difficult for advisors to recommend moving out of a defined contribution plan to those eligible to keep their assets in the plan.”

As a result, it expects that participants will be more likely to leave their assets in a retirement plan rather than rolling them over.

  1. In-plan retirement income solutions.

The move to keeping assets inside retirement plans, IRIC said, “should cause an increase in participant interest in investment vehicles that provide solutions to the draw-down, rather than accumulation, of retirement assets.”

As a result, revisiting in-plan retirement income solutions will become a major focus for plan sponsors in 2016.

IRIC said that plans that have not considered this will be under pressure from participants to “consider new solutions to address the risks of retirement income sustainability, longevity risk, market timing risk and in-plan distribution options.”

  1. In-plan distribution flexibility.

Plan sponsors will have to consider the question of which distribution options will be available to terminated participants.

If a plan only offers two options—complete lump-sum distribution or keeping the entire balance in the plan—it’s likely that sponsors will want to explore the possibility of offering periodic withdrawal opportunities, so that they can encourage terminated participants to keep their assets in the plan—which can provide benefits not only to the participants, but also to the plan itself in the form of reduced administration and fee costs.