Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
April 11th, 2016
Benefits & Administration
Pension Funding Status Down in Q1 2016
“March was a great reminder of how much influence interest rates have over the funded status of pension plans,” says Jim Ritchie, a partner in Mercer’s retirement business.Read more >
2016 HSA Buyer’s Guide
PLANSPONSOR has published its first-ever health savings account (HSA) Buyer’s guide. Based on data from Devenir, the nine HSA providers that took the time to participate in the Buyer’s Guide represent about one-seventh of the market.Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Retirement Industry People Moves
Pentegra Retirement Services names regional director for upper Midwest territory; Northern Trust Asset Management boosts OCIO team.Read more >
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: What do the M’s stand for in M&Ms?
2022 Recordkeeping Survey
Maximum Benefit and Contribution Limits Table 2023
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
Economic Events

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that 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 $427.6 billion, down 0.2% from the revised January level and down 3.1% from the February 2015 level. February sales of durable goods were up 1.2% from January and were up 0.2% from a year ago. Sales of electrical and electronic goods were up 3.1% from January and sales of lumber and other construction materials were up 2.9%. Sales of nondurable goods were down 1.6% from January and were down 6.2% from last February. Sales of petroleum and petroleum products were down 10.1% from last month and sales of farm product raw materials were down 2%.

THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal the producer price index (PPI) for March, and the Census Bureau will report about retail sales for March and business inventories for February. Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal the consumer price index (CPI) for March, and the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report.
Sponsored message from Fidelity Brokerage Services, LLC NYSE, SIPC.
Investing can be bumpy, especially for those investing on their own.Read more >
Market Mirror

Friday, the Dow increased 35.00 points (0.20%) to 17,576.96, the NASDAQ was up 2.32 points (0.05%) at 4,850.69, and the S&P 500 gained 5.69 points (0.28%) to finish at 2,047.60. The Russell 2000 climbed 4.53 points (0.41%) to 1,097.31, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 56.64 points (0.27%) higher at 21,071.24.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with advancing issues outnumbering declining issues 3 to 1. On the NASDAQ, 2.7 billion shares traded, with a 1.2 to 1 ratio of advancers to decliners.

The price of the 10-year Treasury bond was down 9/32, increasing its yield to 1.719%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond decreased 25/32, bringing its yield up to 2.552%.

WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending April 8, the Dow finished 1.21% lower, the NASDAQ lost 1.30%, and the S&P 500 decreased 1.21%. The Russell 2000 fell 1.82%, and the Wilshire 5000 was down 0.17%.
Partial Settlement Reached in RadioShack Stock Drop Case
A partial settlement has been reached for $900,000 between the plaintiffs and trustee defendants in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) stock drop challenge involving RadioShack’s retirement plans, while allegations against the plan sponsor defendants are still outstanding.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1876, the stenotype was patented by John C. Zachos. In 1895, Anaheim, California, completed its new electric light system. In 1898, U.S. President William McKinley asked Congress for a declaration of war with Spain. In 1899, the treaty ending the Spanish-American War was declared in effect. In 1901, construction on the Empire State Building was completed. In 1945, during World War II, American soldiers liberated the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald in Germany. In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first black player in major-league history. He played in an exhibition game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1951, U.S. President Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur as head of United Nations forces in Korea. In 1968, U.S. President Johnson signed the 1968 Civil Rights Act. In 1970, Apollo 13 blasted off on a mission to the moon that was disrupted when an explosion crippled the spacecraft. The astronauts did return safely. In 1980, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued regulations specifically prohibiting se.xual harassment of workers by supervisors.
SURVEY SAYS: Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Do you wish to invest in socially conscious investments, and would you rather do so independently or within your employer-sponsored retirement plan? How do you feel in general about retirement plans using ESG screening for investments?” Half of responding readers indicated they do not want to invest in socially conscious investments, 42.9% do, and 7.1% don’t know. Asked whether they would rather invest in socially conscious investments independently or in their employer-sponsored retirement plan, 33.3% said independently, 3.7% said retirement plan, and 26% said both. No respondents reported that their company’s defined contribution plan (DC) offers socially conscious investment options, while the vast majority (96.4%) said their DC plan does not, and 3.6% said they don’t know. Eighty-five percent reported their defined benefit (DB) plan does not use ESG screening for investments, and 15% said they do not know. Readers who left comments were split on whether using ESG screening in retirement plans is a good thing. Several pointed out that socially conscious investments may mean something different for different people. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said, “Retirement plans’ first responsibility is to produce returns or supply investment options that are in the financial best interests of the plan participants. If they happen to be socially responsible, so much the better.”Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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