WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan discussed the need to keep Americans’ retirement savings safe from cyber threats during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing yesterday. The Senator also raised concerns about how COVID-19 has exacerbated the retirement savings gap for women and what Congress can do to address this disparity.
To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here.
Protecting Retirement Savings from Cyber Attacks
Senator Hassan highlighted efforts that she led with her colleagues, including Chair of the HELP Committee, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), to request that the Government Accountability Office look into the risk cybersecurity threats pose to retirement plans.
“The report confirmed that cyber threats put private defined contribution retirement plans like 401(k)s, which are held by more than 100 million Americans, at risk and recommends that the Department of Labor take action to address this issue,” Senator Hassan said.
Dave Gray, Head of Workplace Retirement Offerings and Platforms at Fidelity Investments, discussed the steps that Fidelity is taking to protect its customers from cyber threats, including active measure like two-factor authentication and working directly with its customers to strengthen their cyber standards.
Addressing the Retirement Savings Gap for Women
“As has been discussed here today – women often struggle to save enough for retirement, lagging behind their male counterparts due to a number of factors, including lower earnings, spending time away from the workplace to meet caregiving responsibilities as well,” said Senator Hassan. “Many of those issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic, with nearly 3 million women temporarily leaving the workforce.”
Senator Hassan asked the witnesses what they think Congress can do to help address this retirement gap. The witnesses recommended a range of policies including paid family leave and programs that would make it easier for individuals to enroll in retirement programs.
The 2019 government funding bill included the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act to help address the retirement savings gap. The bill also included bipartisan provisions introduced by Senator Hassan to help small businesses offer retirement programs to their employees. Senator Hassan also recently joined her colleagues in introducing the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would create a permanent, national paid family and medical leave program. Senator Hassan and a bipartisan group of her colleagues also introduced the Military Spouses Retirement Security Act, a bipartisan bill that would help spouses of active duty service members save for retirement by expanding access to employer-sponsored retirement plans.