The private sector is showing an uptick in interest in multiple employer retirement plans, according to testimony James Kais, vice president of Transamerica's national retirement practice, gave to a bi-partisan roundtable hosted by the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

That is in spite of a 2012 U.S. Department of Labor advisory opinion that Kais said halted the formation of multiple employer retirement plans, which are known as MEPs, by requiring a shared nexus or commonality, such as membership in a trade association, among sponsors participating in a multiple employer plan.

Over the course of President Obama's administration, several legislative proposals, reams of industry research and even findings from the ERISA Advisory Council have singled out multiple employer plans as necessary to address the savings shortfall of millions of Americans employed by small businesses that don't offer retirement plans. According to the Labor Department, about 3 million businesses with less than 100 employees don't offer a retirement plan.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.