As the burden of funding retirement has shifted from employer to employee, defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s, have become the primary source of retirement savings for an increasing number of Americans. Yet, DC plans were originally designed as supplemental retirement savings vehicles and were generally never intended to provide guaranteed lifetime income.

The mission of the Institutional Retirement Income Council (IRIC) is to facilitate the culture shift of defined contribution plans from supplemental savings programs to programs that provide retirement security through institutional income strategies and solutions within our defined contribution system. By providing a forum for insightful, solutions-oriented thought leadership on institutional retirement income, the IRIC is promoting the need for retirement income adequacy for defined contribution plan participants.

A membership-based organization, IRIC is supported by sponsors, and a panel of industry advisors, who are dedicated to sharing best practices, informing about legislative and regulatory issues and facilitating solutions for plan sponsors and their participants.

IRIC is a product agnostic and provider agnostic organization.  IRIC supports guaranteed products, non-guaranteed products, and other drawdown income strategies. Through best practices development, IRIC creates an environment that fosters adoption and utilization of retirement income directly from DC plans that best meets the needs of both sponsors and participants.

Mission

The mission of the IRIC is to facilitate the culture shift of defined contribution plans from supplemental savings plans to programs that provide retirement security through institutional income strategies and solutions within our defined contribution system.


Vision

The vision of the IRIC is to be recognized by plan sponsors, intermediaries, recordkeepers, product manufacturers, and distributors, as the industry’s leading source of information and thought leadership on institutional retirement income solutions.

To accomplish this we will:

  • Establish a forum for unbiased, solutions-oriented thought leadership on institutional retirement income;
  • Identify and overcome barriers that impact the offering of institutional retirement income solutions by plan sponsors and utilization by participants;
  • Develop best practices and tools for how institutional retirement income solutions may be evaluated, selected, implemented, and monitored;
  • Identify and address issues and concerns that will arise as institutional retirement income solutions become more prevalent; and,
  • Promote the need for retirement income security for defined contribution plan participants.
  • Establish the IRIC’s brand and reputation;
  • Develop and create comprehensive best practices and tools;
  • Increase awareness and utilization of best practices and tools among key audiences, and,
  • Facilitate solutions to key industry challenges.

Strategic Initiatives

Establish the IRIC’s brand and reputation

  • Announce the expanded sponsorship of the IRIC to key audiences through initial press release
  • Create a fully integrated marketing/public relations plan
  • Explore the viability of strategic partnership(s) with other industry associations and/or media partners

Develop and create comprehensive best practices and tools

  • Create tools to enable comparison of products
  • Provide information to facilitate plan sponsor decision making and enable the RFP process
  • Define best practices for plan design, implementation, and communication
  • Provide information and a consistent framework on products that are available

Increase awareness and utilization of best practices and tools among key audiences

  • Publish educational information to raise awareness of our leadership position
  • Enhance and expand a robust website
  • Training for Consultant/Advisors share our expertise via hands-on training
  • Participation as speakers at industry conferences
  • Leverage our strategic partnership(s)

Facilitate solutions to key industry challenges

  • Standardization of recordkeeping
  • Strengthening the plan sponsor case for taking action
  • Provide insight into Legislative and Regulatory issues
  • Provide our perspective to product manufacturers
Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain, Executive Director

Kevin Crain is an accomplished and highly respected Retirement Services and Financial Wellness Expert with more than 40 years of experience in roles of progressively more significant influence and impact in the Retirement Services industry, driving strategic growth, enhancing client engagement, and delivering top-tier retirement research solutions. With broad leadership experience across all business areas, he is an influential advisor, board member, thought leader, industry events speaker, and public policy advocate in employee financial wellness, retirement savings, retirement public policy, employee benefits utilization trends, and longevity.

Kevin is currently the Executive Director of the Institutional Retirement Income Council, a Senior Advisor with McKinsey, a Senior Advisor with the Milken Institute, a Council Member with the Global Coalition on Aging Advisory Council, and a Visiting Executive for the Gerontological Society of America. He is also an Honorary Member of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA) and a Member of its Public Policy Committee.

Until August 2023, Kevin was with Bank of America Merrill Lynch for nearly 20 years in senior leadership positions in the Retirement Services sector, culminating in the role of Head of Retirement Research, leading a team of thought leaders and public policy experts focused on retirement and longevity research. The team published many reports, including Workplace Benefits, Participant Pulse, Financial Life Benefits Impact, Caregiving briefs, the Longevity Economy, and Retirement Benefits Gender Lens studies. They also championed diversity and inclusion by publishing highly progressive studies such as Menopause & the Workplace, Women’s Financial Well-Being, Financial Wellness of Caregivers, Mental Health & the Workplace, and Neurodiversity in the Workplace.

Kevin also served three years as Chair of the New York City Age Friendly Commission.

Before this, Kevin was Head of Enterprise Financial Solutions, where he spearheaded a team of Enterprise Specialists focused on delivering Bank of America solutions to corporate plan sponsors and employees, working closely with Bankers, Advisors, and local Bank Market Presidents. Solutions included benefits plans, financial wellness programs, banking products, wealth management services, and employee education programs. As Head of Workplace Solutions, he created and led a new team of Specialists to partner with Commercial Bankers to deliver retirement benefits and financial wellness to companies and their employees.

Previously, Kevin was Head of Institutional Retirement, leading the Institutional Retirement business for corporate retirement services offered including 401(k), Defined Benefit, Equity Compensation, Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation and Healthcare Savings, servicing over 1,500 corporate clients totaling close to 5 million employees. A public speaker and panel moderator at industry conferences, and with significant media visibility, having given numerous media interviews to major outlets, Kevin’s career started as an Analyst at Chase Manhattan Bank and then Client Relationship Management with Bankers Trust, entering the retirement sector with Fidelity Investments before becoming Head of 401(k) Operations with Putnam Investments.

jPickett

John A. Pickett

John joined CAPTRUST Financial Advisors spring of 2010 opening the company’s first Texas office in Dallas. He joins CAPTRUST following a successful career with RBC Wealth Management’s Institutional Consulting Group. At RBC, Pickett created a revered advisory practice, representing $8.5 billion in assets under management, with many of his client relationships spanning 25 years or more. Highly regarded as the consummate educator, Pickett is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and educational symposiums, including TEXPERS, the Investment Management Institute, and Institutional Investors. John graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Baylor University. He completed his Investment Manager Analysis Certification (CIMA) after attending courses at The Wharton School.

mSchmidt

Martin Schmidt

Martin Schmidt is the head of MAS Advisors a retirement plan consulting firm. His areas of concentration include fee benchmarking, investments, plan design, product development, and vendor selection. Martin has over 30 years of experience working with plan sponsors, industry professionals, investment committees, investment managers, and service providers on benefit related issues. Through his knowledge and experience he has developed a thorough understanding of industry trends and fiduciary practices which have allowed him to develop effective solutions for both plan sponsors and service providers.

Martin is a former Principal with Buck Consultants where he managed the Midwest Region of their Retirement Practice. Martin’s experience also includes managing defined benefit and defined contribution teams at Hewitt Associates along with developing third-party relationships to expand Hewitt’s product offering which included developing the first daily trading platform to trade and settle activity with separate investment managers.

Martin has an MBA in Finance from Loyola University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Northern Illinois University.

Founding Member Testimonial:

My interest in IRIC is understanding and being part of the next phase in the evolution of DC plans. My background in product and plan design has helped me better understand the needs of the marketplace and how the Retirement Income products are positioned. As the Retirement Income products continue to evolve I am able to participate in raising awareness of the products and provide input into their overall design. This knowledge provides valuable guidance when working with Plan Sponsors in assessing the products and helps in raising the awareness of retirement income security in the marketplace.

Martha Dec 12 color 3

Martha L. Tejera

Martha L. Tejera is the head of Tejera & Associates, a fee-for service firm that focuses on helping employers meet their fiduciary responsibility in the selection and benchmarking of their retirement plan providers. Martha has consulted with industry leaders for over 25 years. Her knowledge and experience in the industry allow her to help plan sponsors select a provider and build a long-term, successful partnership with that vendor.

Martha works with a variety of individuals and team structures, including HR, finance, retirement plan committees, independent investment consultants, and outside ERISA counsel. This focus on administration allows for a comprehensive assessment of vendor suitability.

A former Principal with Mercer, Martha specialized in helping plan sponsors develop processes to improve their fiduciary oversight, manage vendor service levels and fees, and improve the overall value provided by their defined contribution retirement plans, while simultaneously managing costs. Martha’s experience also includes managing defined contribution recordkeeping teams for Mercer, Watson Wyatt, and in-house for Weyerhaeuser.

Martha is a former Enrolled Actuary under ERISA and a past Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. She is an honors graduate of the University of Washington in economics.

Founding Member Testimonial:

My interest in IRIC is both personal and professional. My actuarial background and extensive consulting experience with 401(k) and other savings plans gives me an appreciation for the trade-offs between defined contribution and defined benefit programs. Unfortunately, the experiences of my aging family members have highlighted what is at stake for individuals, their families, and our society, when market and longevity risks are borne by workers who do not have the capacity self-insure.

Through the collaborative efforts of IRIC, I see a way to positively impact the future security of America’s workforce.

Mark Shemtog HeadshotIMG_0894

Mark Shemtob

Director

Mark Shemtob is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, an Enrolled Actuary under ERISA and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, the Conference of Consulting Actuaries and the American Association of Actuaries and Pension Professionals. He is an active volunteer within the actuarial profession serving on many committees.  Over a four-decade career Mark has provided actuarial and consulting services to employers with respect to the establishment of retirement plans. He served as an adjunct professor in the Rutgers University Business School teaching a course on various aspects of the United States retirement system. Mark is also a Certified Financial Planner specializing in retirement planning.

Effective a decade ago Mark shifted some of his efforts to addressing the challenges posed by the transition from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans and the challenge this posed to retirees in securing lifetime income. He has written and spoken extensively on this topic.  Below are links to three more recently published articles.

https://www.soa.org/4a0e26/globalassets/assets/files/resources/essays-monographs/2020-living-to-100/complete-paper-2b-shemtob.pdf

https://contingencies.org/time-to-take-the-plunge/

https://www.soa.org/sections/retirement/retirement-newsletter/2021/september/ret-2021-09-shemtob/

Laura-Schumann

Laura Schumann

Sr Director, Product Development & Management
NRECA

In her current role as Senior Director, Product Development & Management at NRECA, Laura is responsible for managing the product life cycle and enhancements for NRECA’s multiple employer health care and retirement programs, including both defined benefit and defined contribution plans. NRECA provides employee benefits to over 170,000 individuals at more than 1,000 rural electric cooperatives across America.

Laura previously worked as Director of Investment & Retirement Services at NRECA, managing the Personal Investment Retirement Consulting (PIRC) team to deliver investment education services to the NRECA membership, including live seminars and individual planning. In this role she also assisted with the oversight of investment managers for NRECA’s defined benefit and defined contribution plans.   

Laura holds a BA from the University of Richmond, an MBA from the George Washington University, and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM .

Michael Kreps

Michael Kreps

Principal, Chair Retirement Services
Groom’s Retirement Services Group

Michael Kreps is Chair of Groom’s Retirement Services group and works with a wide variety of clients on complex retirement and health plan issues. His firsthand experience with the legislative and regulatory process gives him a perspective that is often instrumental in helping clients develop and implement effective compliance and advocacy strategies. Kreps advises many of the country’s largest benefit plans and service providers on issues related to plan governance, administration, funding, and restructuring.

AllianceBernstein

AllianceBernstein (AB) is a leading global investment management firm that offers high-quality research and diversified investment services to institutional investors, individuals, and private wealth clients in major world markets. We are one of the largest investment management firms in the world, with more than $665 billion in assets under management as of February 2023. We foster a diverse, connected, collaborative culture that encourages different ways of thinking and differentiated insights. We embrace innovation to address increasingly complex investing challenges. We pursue responsibility throughout our firm—from how we work and act to the solutions we design for clients.

As an innovator in defined contribution (DC), we’re striving to define the future through visionary research and distinctive solutions that provide financial security in retirement. DC plan participants are looking for retirement income security, and workplace retirement plans may be their only savings source. With over a decade of experience in delivering guaranteed income without sacrificing participants’ liquidity or growth potential, we’re fully invested in creating better retirement outcomes.

Empower Retirement / Great West Life & Annuity

At Empower, we imagine a future in which Americans can replace their working income — for life. With a pioneering spirit, we are blazing new trails to help participants pursue their financial independence.

We bring four key values to every partnership:

  • Service excellence
  • Constant innovation
  • Public policy
  • Outstanding people

With a singular focus on monthly income in retirement, we apply our core values and decades of experience to help you create a better retirement experience for your clients’ employees.

For more information please visit: http://www.empower-retirement.com/financial-professionals/

Lincoln Financial Group

Built on Abraham Lincoln’s ideals of courage, strength and optimism, Lincoln Financial Group has been a proven provider of retirement solutions for more than 60 years. We manage thousands of retirement plans that enroll millions of people in organizations of all sizes in the small business, corporate, healthcare, education and non-profit sectors. Lincoln Financial Group champions the commitment of plan sponsors and intermediaries to drive better retirement outcomes by personally engaging and motivating employees to invest in their futures with optimism.

As a leading retirement plan provider, we are committed to offering our partners a broad array of plan solutions to meet their needs including independent, market-driven investments, superior plan design and fiduciary and compliance guidance. We currently provide recordkeeping services to over 1.4 million defined contribution plan participants.

Lincoln Financial Sponsorship Press Release View

Pacific Life

Protect what matters most to you. Relax in retirement. Achieve your life goals. When you’re prepared for anything, you can be confident that more is possible. Pacific Life’s expertise and innovative solutions for retirement and life insurance protection have helped generations of families and businesses continue filling their tomorrows with moments that matter.

SS&C Technologies Holdings

SS&C Technologies Holdings (NASDAQ: SSNC) is the world’s largest hedge fund and private equity administrator, as well as the largest mutual fund transfer agency. SS&C’s unique business model combines end-to-end expertise across financial services operations with software and solutions to service even the most demanding customers in the financial services and healthcare industries. SS&C owns and operates the full technology stack across securities accounting, front-to-back-office operations, performance and risk analytics, regulatory reporting, and healthcare information processes. SS&C’s trusted and proven technology delivers an unparalleled level of scalable capabilities for the most complex portfolios, the most sophisticated strategies, and the highest volumes of transactions. Through a series of carefully selected acquisitions and organic growth, the breadth and depth of SS&C’s expertise in financial services and healthcare technology are unmatched. Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Windsor, Connecticut, the company is home to 22,000+ employees across 150 office locations in 35 countries globally. With 18,000+ clients spanning across the health and financial services industries, our customer’s needs and requirements are always at the forefront of our strategy.

To learn more, please visit: http://www.sstech.com

SSGA

State Street Global Advisors is a global leader in asset management and one of the premier managers for U.S. defined contribution plans.

  • We are entrusted with more than $2.67 trillion* in assets.
  • We have more than 30 years of experience in the DC market.

*Assets under management were $2.67 trillion as of September 30, 2017. AUM reflects approx. $36.00 billion (as of September 30, 2017) with respect to which State Street Global Advisors Funds Distributors, LLC serves as marketing agent; State Street Global Advisors Funds Distributors, LLC and State Street Global Advisors are affiliated.

For more information, please visit: https://www.ssga.com/defined-contribution/us/en/dc-home.html

TIAA

We are committed to helping consultants grow their practices and support their customers. TIAA is a diversified Fortune 100 financial services organization with $1 trillion in assets under management, and investments in more than 50 countries.1

For more information, please visit: https://www.tiaa.org/public/consultants/why-we-partner-with-financial-consultants