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Do you remember the Pension Protection Act (PPA)? More than 900 pages of legislation touching seemingly every part of the retirement system. It presented challenges for defined benefits plans. Defined contribution (DC) plans instead saw beneficial provisions, including the permanence of certain provisions of the 2001 Economic Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) and the creation of safe harbors for using target date funds as defaults and for implementing automatic enrollment.
The PPA heralded a new era for DC plans with the potential to greatly increase workers’ access to retirement income security. But looking at the PPA’s report card, we do not see “straight As” over the last decade.
Many of the provisions took years to enact, and plan sponsors still seem to struggle with them. As the PPA celebrates 10 years, we ask: Was it successful? Did it transform DC plans in the way the industry had hoped? How can we do better?
Callan gives a grade to the performance of nine key PPA provisions over the past decade. We start with the least effective.