Bio for Mark Iwry
J. Mark Iwry
Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury and Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax Policy) for Retirement and Health Policy
U.S. Treasury Department
J. Mark Iwry (pronounced “Eevry”) is Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury and is the Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax Policy) for Retirement and Health Policy at the U.S. Treasury Department. Mr. Iwry was previously a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Research Professor at Georgetown University, Of Counsel to the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, and a Principal of the Retirement Security Project. He was the Treasury Department's Benefits Tax Counsel from 1995 to 2001, serving as the principal official directly responsible for tax policy and regulation relating to the Nation’s qualified pension and 401(k) plans, employer-sponsored health plans, deferred compensation, and other employee benefits. Previously, he was a partner in the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP.
Mr. Iwry has often testified before congressional committees – representing the Treasury and Executive Branch or, while in the private sector, testifying as an independent expert -- and State legislatures. He has advised numerous Senators, Members of Congress and their staffs on both sides of the aisle, as well as five Presidential campaigns (in 2004 and 2008). In recent years has been recognized as one of the “30 top financial players” (Smart Money magazine), “100 Most Influential People in Finance” (Treasury and Risk magazine) (one of 5 in the field of Retirement and Benefits), “100 Most Influential People in the 401(k) Industry” (401(k) Wire), “Investment News 20” (20 individuals expected to have a major influence on the financial services industry), etc.
Formerly a chair of the D.C. Bar Employee Benefits Committee, and a member of the White House Task Force on Health Care Reform (1993-94), Mr. Iwry’s books and articles include the co-edited volume (with William Gale and Peter Orszag), Aging Gracefully: Ideas to Improve Retirement Security in America (Century Fdn. Press, 2006).
A principal architect of the Saver’s Credit to expand 401(k) and IRA coverage (claimed annually on some 6 million tax returns) and the “SIMPLE” 401(k)-type plan (covering an estimated 3 to 4 million workers), Mr. Iwry co-authored President Obama’s legislative proposal to expand coverage through automatic IRAs. In the 1990s, he formulated and directed Treasury’s strategy to increase retirement saving by defining, approving and promoting 401(k) automatic enrollment (as well as automatic rollover to curtail pension leakage). He also has been centrally involved in developing or orchestrating many other significant improvements and simplifications of the nation’s pension and benefits systems, including IRS direct deposit of split income tax refunds into IRAs and US saving bonds, the “Universal Savings Accounts” proposal (1999-2000), payroll deduction IRAs, the small employer new plan tax credit, and the repeal of Code section 415(e).
While at Treasury under former Secretaries Rubin and Summers, Mr. Iwry was widely recognized for his work to expand coverage while simplifying and rationalizing benefits law and regulation. In 2001 he received the Secretary of the Treasury’s Exceptional Service Award “[i]n recognition of his outstanding leadership and accomplishments ….Widely respected as Treasury’s benefits and pension expert, Mr. Iwry excelled at building coalitions of diverse interests….” At Treasury, he worked closely with the private sector, Congress, and the IRS, held town hall meetings around the country, and received a special award from the IRS “[i]n recognition of the collegial working relationship you have fostered between [Treasury] and the IRS Office of Chief Counsel and of your many contributions to our nation’s tax system.”
Mr. Iwry is an honors graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, received a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School, is listed in Who’s Who, Best Lawyers in America, Washington DC Super Lawyers, etc., and is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.
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A 401(k) plan is a retirement savings plan in which the benefit is based on contributions to an individual account and the investment return on those contributions. Typically, employees make contributions to the plan and, in many cases, employers match the employees' contributions. These plans are called defined contribution plans. In most 401(k) and other retirement savings plans, the employee is responsible for choosing among the investments offered by the plan. Other types of retirement savings plans are 403(b) and 457 plans.