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Fink Says U.S. Workers Need Mandatory Retirement Savings

BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Laurence D. Fink said a mandatory retirement savings system would have to be phased in gradually and would relieve pressure on the federal budget. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg
BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Laurence D. Fink said a mandatory retirement savings system would have to be phased in gradually and would relieve pressure on the federal budget. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

May 7 (Bloomberg) -- BlackRock Inc.’s Laurence D. Fink, head of the world’s largest asset manager, said U.S. employers should be required to put money aside for their employees’ retirement, similar to Australia’s superannuation system.

“The current system is not working and we need a comprehensive approach that includes some form of mandatory savings in addition to Social Security,” Fink, chief executive officer of New York-based BlackRock, said today at New York University’s Stern School of Business. “The longer we wait to fix it, the tougher the task becomes.”

In Australia, employers must contribute at least 9 percent of part-time and full-time employees’ income into accounts that belong to workers. In the U.S., Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat and chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, plans to introduce legislation this year to require businesses that don’t offer a pension or 401(k) plan with a company match to automatically enroll workers in a so-called USA Retirement Fund.

BlackRock, which manages $3.94 trillion in assets, started a five-year branding campaign last year urging investors to buy higher-yielding assets such as stocks. Fink and other BlackRock executives have said that clients need to diversify and can be harmed by staying in cash-like products.

A mandatory retirement savings system would have to be phased in gradually and would relieve pressure on the federal budget, Fink said today.

DOL Proposal

The U.S. Department of Labor said today it’s seeking comments on a proposed rule that would require 401(k) plan sponsors to include in workers’ quarterly or annual statements an estimate of what their current or projected savings looks like as a monthly stream of payments. The government is trying to keep people from outliving their savings as employers have shifted to 401(k)-type plans, where workers are responsible for investing their contributions, from traditional pension plans, which guarantee income after retirement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexis Leondis in New York at aleondis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net

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