Retirement is Possible

Washington’s Small Business Retirement Marketplace, operated by the Department of Commerce, is a virtual marketplace where qualified financial services firms will offer low-cost retirement savings plans to businesses with fewer than 100 employees, including sole proprietors and self-employed individuals.

Our Vision

The Marketplace is an informational hub, bringing together financial services firms, employers and employees to help make retirement possible for everyone. The Marketplace strives to simplify retirement savings options by providing helpful information and promoting affordable products. The guiding principles enable individuals to make informed decisions about their retirement and start building savings for their future.

What we know

There’s a retirement savings gap.Experts recommend that workers in their 40s should have two or three times their salary in retirement savings. However, studies show Washingtonians in this age group have an average of $35,344 in retirement account balance – less than half of the $71,332 average annual earnings of Washington workers.

  • Fewer than half of Washington workers participate in a retirement plan at work.
  • More than 1.5 million Washingtonians have no access to retirement savings in the workplace.
  • About 90,000 Washington small businesses offer NO retirement arrangement.

Being Able to Save at Work Matters

We know that people are more likely to set aside money for retirement when they can do it through payroll deductions. Unfortunately, it’s hard for small businesses to sort out the options and afford to provide retirement plans to their employees. Our goal is to increase Washingtonians’ retirement savings by making it easier and less costly for smaller employers to provide retirement savings options to their workforce.

The Marketplace can help

Options at your fingertips. 

Users – both businesses and individuals – can comparison shop for retirement savings plans on the website. Information on the site will allow users to connect with plan administrators to sign up for and contribute to plans. Participation in the Marketplace by financial services firms, employers and employees is voluntary. Funds are portable, so when employees switch jobs, they can take their retirement savings with them.

Click to subscribe and stay tuned for news and events about the Marketplace launch!

Learn More Here!
The Marketplace was created through the 2015 Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5826, as passed by the Washington State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee.
The Department of Commerce manages the Marketplace and will approve financial services firms and retirement plans for inclusion, provided that:

  • The Washington Department of Financial Institutions has verified that the retirement plan and the financial services firm offering it meet the requirements in RCW 43.330.732(7) and RCW 43.330.735.
  • The firms and plans meet an application protocol determined by Commerce.
  • Statute (law) establishing the program: Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 43.330.730-750
    Administrative rules (code) for the program: WAC 365-65
  • Rules adopted by the Washington Department of Financial Institutions to establish a verification process for financial services firms intending to offer plans on the Marketplace.
  • Office of Insurance Commissioner instructions for insurance carriers intending to offer plans on the Marketplace to become verified.

Financial Services Providers: Act Now!

Getting your retirement savings plans listed on the Marketplace is a two-step process:

  1. Get verified by a Washington State-based regulatory agency.

Go to the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) for products offered by firms that are regulated by DFI or a federal agency with authority over banking, securities or broker-dealer firms.

Go to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) for carriers offering insurance-based products.

Note: OIC may request that DFI conduct the plan review, as provided for by SSB 5675 Sec. 1 (6)(b) (2017). Life insurance and annuity products offered by insurance carriers should still initiate the verification process with OIC.

2. Complete the Washington State Department of Commerce Retirement Marketplace Application.

Once your product is verified by DFI and/or OIC, Commerce will send an application directly to your firm's primary contact.
Request a copy of Commerce's Marketplace application, terms and conditions.

Stay up to date

Follow the conversation #WashSBRM Click to subscribe and stay tuned for news and events about the Marketplace launch! Marketplace Director Updates

Need help?

Carolyn McKinnon
Marketplace Director & Policy Advisor
Phone: 360-725-3121