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Maine, Colorado Enter Partnership in Offering Automatic Retirement Coverage

Government Affairs

They may be on almost completely opposite ends of the country, but Colorado and Maine are cooperating in offering retirement plan coverage to their citizens. 

Colorado Secure Savings program and the Maine Retirement Investment Trust (MERIT) on Aug. 11 established a partnership to provide retirement plan coverage to private-sector employees whose employers do not. Under the agreement, the Maine Retirement Investment Trust (MERIT) will join with the Colorado SecureSavings program in offering coverage; they will operate independently, but share governance. 

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) on June 24, 2021 signed into law a measure creating MERIT. It requires each covered employer to allow its covered employees to decide whether or not to contribute to a payroll deduction Roth IRA by automatically enrolling them but with the opportunity to opt out. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) on July 14, 2020 signed the measure creating the Colorado Secure Savings program into law. The measure creates an IRA-based program and a retirement plan coverage requirement for employers with five or more employees.

“We are excited to be working with Colorado SecureSavings to deliver a proven automatic savings program that follows employees throughout their careers while being easy and free for participating Maine employers,” said MERIT Executive Director Beth Bordowitz in a press release. Maine Treasurer Henry Beck has hailed the agreement as “a model for multistate efforts” that offers an opportunity to “reduce fixed costs and focus on results.” 

Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young, also in a press release, said of the agreement, "I'm proud to see Colorado leading the nation on this. Partnerships increase the number of Americans saving for retirement, while decreasing fees for Coloradan and American savers alike, helping states with smaller populations offer a cost-friendly, state-run retirement program option for workers who don’t have access to one at work." 

Not the First

This is not the first time that Colorado has entered into such an agreement. 

On Nov. 9, 2021, The Colorado Department of the Treasury announced that the Colorado Secure Savings program and the New Mexico Work and $ave program signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to pursue a formalized partnership agreement for their auto-enroll IRA programs. It was the first such arrangement between states, and created the first auto-enroll IRA multi-state program in the United States. 

Vendor Selected

Vestwell, in partnership with BNY Mellon, will serve as the program administrator of the Colorado-Maine partnership; it will provide recordkeeping, custodial, and administrative services to employers and employees in both states. 

Vestwell also serves as the vendor that administering Colorado Secure Savings program and New Mexico Work and $ave. The firm announced on April 28, 2022 that it won a competitive bid process to serve as the administrator of the plans. Also in partnership with BNY Mellon, it serve as the program administrator and furnishes recordkeeping, custodial and administrative services to employers and employees in both states. Vestwell already administers state-run retirement plans in Oregon, Maryland and Connecticut.