Washington’s Retirement Marketplace, operated by the Department of Commerce, is a online marketplace where qualified financial services firms offer low-cost retirement savings plans to businesses and individuals, including sole proprietors, “gig” workers and the self-employed. The Retirement Marketplace simplifies the process of finding a retirement savings plan by making it easy to compare state-approved plans.
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. Washingtonians aren’t saving enough for retirement, at the risk of spending their later years with diminishing standards of living and more reliance on public safety net programs.
- 1.3 – 1.6 million working Washingtonians have no access to retirement savings plans at work.
- Over 131,000 Washington businesses offer NO retirement savings arrangements to their employees.
- Small businesses may be reluctant to offer retirement plans because of the perception of potential cost and complexity.
Commerce’s November 2017 report on Retirement Readiness explores the situation in detail.
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 Retirement Marketplace by financial services firms, employers and employees is voluntary. Enrollee contributions are portable, so when employees switch jobs, they can take their retirement savings with them.
Learn More Here
The Retirement 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 Retirement 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:
- 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 by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling or call 360-725-5070 .
Retirement Readiness Infographic
Download and share this infographic to help educate others on how prepared Washingtonians are for retirement.