Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) argued Wednesday that current investment rules preclude many average Americans from having a diversified portfolio, creating a barrier to achieving financial success in retirement.
A recent Gallup poll found that 63 percent of respondents are worried about having enough money for retirement, marking the first time since 2016 that number has exceeded 6 in 10.
Toomey argued for diversifying portfolios and investing in private equity, which could lead more Americans to financial security in retirement, he said at The Hill’s “Securing America’s Retirement” event.
However, the current system often prevents people with defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s, from investing in a variety of asset classes.
Toomey took the opportunity to highlight his Retirement Savings Modernization Act, which the Pennsylvania Republican said he hopes to introduce when he finds a Democratic sponsor. He said the legislation would make it possible for more Americans to take advantage of the high returns that coincide with investing in private equity.
“For most Americans, their wealth is tied up in their home, which that’s not something you trade. But the other big category is retirement savings, so for me this is just a really, really important part of allowing ordinary Americans to have a better life and a comfortable retirement,” Toomey, who serves on the Senate Finance Committee, said at the event.
The bill would ensure that asset managers behind defined contribution plans are not breaking the rules if they invest in other asset classes, such as private equity, which would diversify the average American’s investment portfolio.
“You make it clear that an asset manager would not be violating their fiduciary obligations solely by virtue of investing in alternative asset classes. All the other fiduciary obligations still apply. You still have the diversity requirements, you still have all the prudential requirements there, but you don’t systematically exclude this enormous category,” Toomey said at the event, which was sponsored by American Investment Council.
While other asset classes, like commodities, real estate, and private equity, have been around for a long time, Toomey also called for the inclusion of one newer type of investment: cryptocurrency, a digital currency that is transferred through online networks rather than traditional institutions.
“This should only be a small slice of a retirement portfolio, but I think it would be a big mistake to exclude it. We just don’t know where this is going, and I actually think the underlying technology is very, very powerful,” Toomey said.
Updated at 1:45 p.m.