Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
April 10th, 2017
Benefits & Administration
Employers Mostly Relieved Health Reform Didn’t Pass
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) was pulled by the House because not enough votes would have been garnered to pass the bill. Although some industry experts noted that the bill would reduce employer costs and administrative burdens, a survey from Mercer finds the majority of employers were relieved it didn’t pass. Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Retirement Industry People Moves
Segal names Public Sector Market director; Securian expands retirement business; Lockton opens new office; and more. Read more >
MOST READ ARTICLES
1
The Senate Math That Could Block SECURE Act
2
House Committee Advances Bill to Establish Union Pension Lifeline Program
3
Open MEPs Not for Every Plan Sponsor
4
Driving Financial Wellness at Work
5
Pension Participants Claim ERISA Breaches in Dow DuPont Pension Transfer
Economic Events

The unemployment rate declined to 4.5% in March, and total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 98,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment increased in professional and business services and in mining, while retail trade lost jobs.

February sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $464.9 billion, up 0.6% from the revised January level and up 9.9% from the February 2016 level. The December 2016 to January 2017 percent change was revised from down 0.1% to up 0.3%.

THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal the Producer Price Index for March.

Market Mirror

Friday, the Dow was down 6.85 points (0.03%) at 20,656.10, the NASDAQ decreased by 1.14 (0.025) to 5,877.81, and the S&P 500 decreased by 1.95 (0.08%) to 2,355.54. The Russell 2000 was virtually unchanged at 1,364.56, and the Wilshire 5000 was down 14.25 points (0.06%) at 24,535.23.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares changed hands, with a slight lead for declining issues. On the NASDAQ, 2.9 billion shares traded, with a nearly even split between advancers and decliners.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 12/32, increasing its yield to 2.383%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond decreased 13/32, bringing its yield up to 3.008%.

WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending April 7, the Dow was down 0.03%, the NASDAQ lost 0.57%, and the S&P 500 decreased 0.30%. The Russell 2000 fell 1.54%, and the Wilshire 5000 finished 0.36% lower.

Compliance
BlackRock Faces 401(k) Excessive Fee Case
Charles Baird, an employee of Barclays from 2000 until 2009, when Barclays was acquired by BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, and an employee of BlackRock from 2009 until July 2016, has filed suit against the firm, claiming the use of proprietary funds in its 401(k) plan caused the plan participants to incur excessive fees. The complaint specifically calls out the use of BlackRock target-date funds (TDFs) which it says use excessive fund layering, subjecting participants to higher fees. Read more >
Judge Deals Blow to Vanguard Fund Comparison in Self-Dealing Case
U.S. District Judge William Young of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, ultimately agreed with Putnam Investments that prohibited transactions claims against its retirement plan fiduciaries are time-barred under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s (ERISA)’s three-year statute of limitations, saying the plaintiffs “were well aware that the parties involved were all Putnam entities.” However, Young’s discussion on two points could impress findings of other court’s addressing pending ERISA excessive-fee or self-dealing cases. Read more >
Lifetime Income Disclosure Act Reaches Congress
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are looking at the Lifetime Income Disclosure Act. This bi-partisan legislation would require employer-sponsored retirement plans to provide participants with an estimate of how much monthly income they could generate if they were to take all their retirement savings and purchase an annuity. Read more >
DATAIR Gets Approval of 403b Pre-Approved Plan
The plan uses a volume submitter format and is designed to accommodate both ERISA and non-ERISA plans as well as church plans and plans for governmental entities. Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1790, the U.S. patent system was established when U.S. President George Washington signed the Patent Act of 1790 into law. In 1849, Walter Hunt patented the safety pin. He sold the rights for $100. In 1862, Union forces began the bombardment of Fort Pulaski in Georgia along the Tybee River. In 1865, during the American Civil War, at Appomattox, General Robert E. Lee issued his last order. In 1866, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was incorporated. In 1912, the Titanic set sail from Southampton, England. In 1916, the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) held its first championship tournament. In 1922, the Genoa Conference opened. The meeting was used to discuss the reconstruction of Europe after World War I. In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald published “The Great Gatsby” for the first time. In 1941, in World War II, U.S. troops occupied Greenland to prevent Nazi infiltration. In 1941, Ford Motor Co. became the last major automaker to recognize the United Auto Workers as the representative for its workers. In 1960, the U.S. Senate passed the Civil Rights Bill. In 1972, the U.S. and the Soviet Union joined with 70 other nations in signing an agreement banning biological warfare. In 1997, Rod Steiger received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2000, Ken Griffey Jr. became the youngest player in baseball history to reach 400 home runs. He was 30 years, 141 days old. In 2001, Jane Swift took office as the first female governor of Massachusetts.

SURVEY SAYS RESPONSES: Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Which meteorological term best describes the atmosphere in your work environment?” More than three in ten (30.5%) described their work environment as partly sunny, while 18.6% said it was cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms. “Sunny” was selected by 5.1% of responding readers; 6.8% each chose “partly cloudy” and “cloudy with a chance of rain.” Slightly more than 3% said their work environment was cloudy; 1.7% chose “winter storms”; and 8.5% said it was a combination of meteorological terms listed. Of course there were “Other” responses. In verbatim comments, readers shared that the “weather” in the office is often different in different departments. Also, certain colleagues or events, such as changing computer systems, can change the weather from good to bad. Several lucky readers noted their workplaces are great places to work. Editor’s Choice is a tie this week for the reader who said, “A humorless environment lacks the sunshine needed to live and thrive,” and the one who said, “I try very hard to maintain a sunny attitude. Some days it is easier than others. If you keep smiling, they wonder what you’re up to.” Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey! Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

Advertising: Paul Zampitella paul.zampitella@strategic-i.com

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