Mark Iwry ithe Principal to the The Retirement Security Project and Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings until his appointment to the Treasury. He was the Benefits Tax Counsel at the U.S. Treasury Department (1995-2001), serving as the principal Executive Branch official directly responsible for tax policy and regulation relating to the nation's tax-qualified pension and 401(k) plans and other employee benefits. He also practices law with the firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, specializing in pensions, compensation and benefits, is a Research Professor in Public Policy at Georgetown University, and serves as outside counsel to AARP on pensions.
Mr. Iwry has testified before various congressional committees' representing the Treasury and Executive Branch and, since leaving government, testifying as an independent expert. He was previously a partner in the law firm of Covington & Burling, and has chaired the D.C. Bar Employee Benefits Committee, co-authored a volume on 401(k) plans, served on the White House Task Force on Health Care Reform, addressed more than 200 professional, industry and other groups in the US and abroad, and serves on panels of experts advising the General Accounting Office, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and other public- and private-sector organizations on pensions and retirement savings.
A principal architect of the Saver's Credit to expand 401(k) and IRA coverage of middle- and lower-income workers (claimed in 2002 on 5.3 million tax returns) and the "SIMPLE" 401(k)-type plan (covering an estimated 2 million workers), Mr. Iwry was also centrally involved in developing the sweeping Presidential proposals to expand coverage through "Universal Savings Accounts" and related provisions (1999-2000). He also was instrumental in improving oversight of the PBGC by its Board of Directors and the Executive Branch. Mr. Iwry initiated or orchestrated many other major improvements and simplifications of the nation's pension system and benefits law and regulation, such as repeal of the complex section 415(e) combined limit on pension benefits, simplification and liberalization of IRA and employer plan minimum distribution rules, new incentives for immediate 401(k) participation, and development of workable rules for pension portability, anti-cutback relief, 401(k) safe harbor plans, benefits in corporate transactions, new comparability, COBRA, health care portability, Social Security, taxation of deferred compensation, and cafeteria/flexible benefit plans.
While in government, Mr. Iwry was widely recognized for his work with the business, financial, professional and nonprofit communities to expand coverage while simplifying and rationalizing pension and benefits law. In 2001 he received the Secretary of the Treasury's Exceptional Service Award "in 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. His technical acumen and leadership have garnered praise from colleagues within Treasury, the IRS, the Congress, and the employee benefits community at large.
At Treasury, he was credited with promoting an open regulatory process, actively drawing on a wide spectrum of private sector advice and feedback, including town hall meetings with benefits professionals and others around the country. In 2001 Mr. Iwry received a special award from the IRS (Office of Chief Counsel) "[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."
He regularly advises Members of Congress and congressional staff on both sides of the aisle, and his views are frequently reported in the major media and trade press. Mr. Iwry is an honors graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, has a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, and a member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court.more » « less