States and large cities can more easily establish their own retirement programs under new rules the Obama administration announced Thursday, aiming to expand the number of Americans with access to tax-advantaged savings accounts.
The rules may also apply new pressure on financial advisors to lower their fees.
"All Americans deserve a secure retirement after a lifetime of hard work," Jeff Zients, director of the White House National Economic Council, said in a conference call. "Too many Americans reach retirement age without enough savings to supplement their Social Security checks."
One-third of U.S. workers currently have no access to an employer-run retirement savings plan, including half of those at firms with fewer than 50 employees and three-quarters of part-time workers, Zients said.
Some state governments have suggested creating savings programs that combine the best features of 401(k)s and pensions to lower costs, provide retirees steadier income and reach workers whose employers don’t offer benefits.
The financial industry, which has already tangled with the Obama administration over a "fiduciary rule" requiring advisors to work in the best interests of clients, has opposed state-run retirement plans. Eight states have already passed laws to establish such plans.
Industry trade groups have argued that state-run plans duplicate services already available in the private sector and that they would burden states with additional costs while creating legal uncertainty.
This article was provided by Bloomberg News.