With the Republican takeover of the Senate Tuesday night, the new top dog on tax legislation -- very likely incoming Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch -- has long made retirement reform a pet project.

Just how successfully Hatch can turn a personal interest into laws affecting the retirement savings and futures of tens of millions of Americans is the most prominent story line the broad financial advisor community will be following in Congress for the next two years.

Employee Benefit Research Institute President and Chief Executive Dallas Salisbury, for one, is expecting that no significant pension legislation will be enacted because the issue is tied too closely to overall tax reform---which he doubts is going to happen.

Proclaiming himself less bearish, American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries Chief Executive Officer Brian Graff said he can foresee piecemeal reforms becoming law.

The pieces got their first airing by Hatch in a bill, the Securities Annuities for Employee (SAFE) Retirement Act, that he sponsored and saw die quickly a year ago last July.

Among the parts of the bill that Graff views as having good prospects of becoming law in the next two years is a provision making it easier for employers to offer longevity insurance.

Another Hatch idea that Graff sees broad Congressional support for is the “Starter 401(k),” which the Senate believes would encourage more small employers to offer retirement savings to their workers by eliminating much of the administrative costs of existing defined-contribution vehicles.

Insured Retirement Institute General Counsel Lee Covington, who met with Hatch staffers on Monday, likes the prospects for SAFE Act language that would make it easier for workers to carry lifetime income savings plans from one employer to the next.

He also looks for Congress to shore up the health of multi employer pension plans as do EBRI’s Salisbury and Asppa’s Graff.

All three doubt a SAFE Act section barring the Department of Labor from imposing a fiduciary duty on advisors to pension plans will get enough support to win approval.

While nominally in charge of retirement legislation as the new chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is expected to play second fiddle to Hatch in this area.

Covington is predicting the next Congress will establish a one-stop national licensing system for financial advisors who sell lifetime income products to clients in multiple states. He said his optimism for this legislation comes in large part because its biggest opponent, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is retiring.

The biggest impact Republican control of the Senate Banking Committee will have on financial advisors is likely to be pressure and legislation from its probable new chairman, Alabama’s Richard Shelby, to stop the Financial Stability Oversight Council from imposing additional costs on large asset -management firms by labeling them as systemically important, said Investment Adviser Association lead lobbyist Neil Simon.

Simon said the chances are improving that Congress will allow the Securities and Exchange Commission to impose user fees on advisors, though up to now the proposal has been blocked by Republicans who have derided it as a new “tax.”

Looking at the states, the Republican landslide could quash what had been a growing (mostly Democratic) interest of state legislators to create state-sponsored retirement plans for employees of private companies that lack them.

In another election development, perhaps the financial advisor running for the highest office, Mike Heffernan, lost in his Republican bid to become Massachusetts state treasurer.

Outspent nearly five to one, Heffernan received 40 percent of the vote.