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IRI Offers Proposals for U.S. Treasury Financial Inclusion Strategy

The Insured Retirement Institute recently responded to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Request for Information for Financial Inclusion. It offered several proposals to assist in developing a national strategy to “broaden access to financial services among underserved communities and improve the ability of such communities to use and benefit from financial tools and services.”

The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2023 directed the Treasury Department to develop a strategy. The department RFI sought information and recommendations from interested parties to advance financial inclusion through policy, government programs, financial products and services, technology, and other tools and market infrastructure.

IRI recommended several “common-sense, bipartisan policies” to help all workers and retirees achieve economic equity, strengthen their financial security, and protect their income to sustain them throughout their retirement years.

As part of these recommendations, IRI doubled down on its request that the U.S. Department of Labor withdraw a proposed retirement security rule about investment advice, saying that it would significantly limit access to professional financial guidance and choice of protected lifetime income products for millions of retirement savers, particularly lower- and middle-income retirement savers, and “would represent a significant step backward in pursuing a more inclusive financial system.”

IRI’s recommendations include:

  • Require employers with 10 or more employees to offer retirement plans to employees;
  • Allow catch-up contributions for qualified caregivers – who are disproportionately women – for a period equal to the time they spent as caregivers before reaching age 50;
  • Decrease the age for participation in workplace retirement plans to 18 years of age to enable more young workers to access employer-sponsored retirement savings plans;
  • Streamline how consumers choose how they want to receive and access their financial information, supporting non-native English speakers and those who are blind or have other disabilities to take advantage of modern technologies;
  • Permit electronic delivery of reports for registered investment companies, supporting non-native English speakers and those who are blind or have other disabilities to take advantage of modern technologies; and
  • Organizations are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission to file annual reports disclosing the gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and veteran status of their board of directors, nominees to their boards, and senior executive officers, such that transparency and diversity, equity, and inclusion practices are advanced.


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