Beyond Ideology: Are Individual Social Security Accounts Feasible?

An EBRI-ERF Policy Forum, December 2, 1998
Arnold and Porter Conference Center, 555 12th Street, NW Washington, DC
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Introduction—Dallas L. Salisbury, President and CEO, EBRI

Session I: Sensitivity of Individual Account Performance to Administrative Costs

Jack VanDerhei, Faculty Member at Temple University's School of Business and Management (Department of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management) and Research Director, EBRI Fellow's Program, will present estimates on the effects of different administrative cost assumptions.

Session II: Basic Administrative Tasks and Theoretical Constructs

Girard Miller, President and CEO of the ICMA Retirement Corporation, will discuss basic administrative and regulatory tasks involved with administering defined contribution plans as well as delineate general approaches to administering and regulating individual Social Security accounts.

Session III: Employer and Government Roles in Collecting Contributions and Crediting Social Security Accounts

1. Can We Use the Current Payroll Tax Collection and Crediting Process and At What Cost?

Jane Ross, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Policy, Social Security Administration, will provide an overview of the current wage collection and crediting process and costs under Social Security today as background for evaluating how the current system could be used to administer individual Social Security accounts.

Kelly Olsen, Research Associate, EBRI, will discuss implementation, regulation, and political issues arising from proposals to apply the current tax collection and wage crediting process in administering individual Social Security accounts.

Discussant: Lou Enoff, Principal, Enoff Associates Ltd.

2. Could We Increase Employers' Role in Administering Social Security and At What Cost?

Janice Gregory, Vice President, ERISA Industry Committee, will provide an overview of the issues surrounding increased employer roles in administering Social Security. Issues include political viability in terms of: employer support, employer costs, feasibility and time constraints in setting up such a system, and the magnitude of additional costs and their effect on account balances.

Discussant: Brian Reardon, Manager of Legislative Affairs, National Federation of Independent Business

Matt Greenwald, President, Mathew Greenwald and Associates, will discuss political viability and employer cost implications learned through the EBRI Small Employer Survey on Individual Social Security Account Administration.

Nora Daly, CPP, Senior Legislative Analyst, Oracle Corporation, representing the American Payroll Association, and Stephanie Ward, Manager, Government Relations and HR Policy, the Ceridian Corporation, present separate presentations on issues of feasibility, time constraints, and costs in setting up individual Social Security accounts for those employers using second-party payroll administrators.

Carol Sears, President-Elect, American Society of Pension Actuaries, will discuss the differences and drivers of administrative costs in employment-based defined contribution plans, relating this research to the current Social Security individual account debate.

Jack VanDerhei, Faculty Member at Temple University's School of Business and Management (Department of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management) and Research Director, EBRI Fellow's Program, will discuss the inherent demographic differences between the population covered by employer-based defined contribution plans (focusing in part on the Thrift Savings Plan population) and the total work force covered by Social Security. These differences will be discussed in terms of their implications for a universal Social Security defined contribution program.

Session IV: Lessons From Abroad

Larry Thompson, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, will present results of a paper, created through contract with EBRI, on administrative designs and issues in countries with individual Social Security account systems.

Session V: Defined Contribution Plan Administrators

Greg Ahern, Director of Industry Affairs and Public Relations, State Street Bank and Trust Company; Fred Goldberg, Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom; and John Kimpel, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Fidelity Investments will offer their opinions concerning the administrative and regulatory framework that persons involved with individual Social Security account administration would prefer and the kind of individual account features that could be expected, how soon, over what time frame, and at what cost.

Session VI: Panel Discussion

Synthesizing the information, experts will discuss whether individual Social Security accounts are administratively feasible, and if so, what implementation schedule should be set by Congress to ensure that promises made will be kept. Confirmed participants on this panel are policy forum presenters and others, including:

Robert Ball, member, 1994-96 Advisory Council on Social Security and former Commissioner of Social Security

Frank Cavanaugh, first Executive Director of the Federal Thrift Investment Board (1986-1994)

Ann Combs, member, 1994-96 Advisory Council on Social Security and Principal, Washington Resource Group, William M. Mercer, Incorporated

Nora Daly, CPP, Senior Legislative Analyst, Oracle Corporation, representing the American Payroll Association

Stanford G. Ross, Senior Partner, Arnold and Porter, former Commissioner of Social Security, and former Chairman of the American Bar Association Tax Section Committee on Social Security and Payroll Tax Problems

Dick Schreitmueller, self-employed consulting actuary and retired Vice President, Aon Consulting

Carol Sears, President-Elect, American Society of Pension Actuaries

Joe Theissen, Director, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Stephanie Ward, Manager, Government Relations and HR Policy. the Ceridian Corporation


Contacting EBRI | Copyright & Disclaimer