Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
April 13th, 2015
Benefits & Administration
ACA Could Crimp Competitive Benefit Offerings
Call it the law of unintended consequences. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made it harder for companies to offer competitive medical benefits, according to Nationwide Retirement Institute’s small-business survey. Nearly half of the smaller companies with at least 50 employees (43%) have increased their contributions to their retirement plans since the implementation of key employer and individual mandate provisions that took effect under the ACA at the beginning of 2015. “If the health benefit is less of a competitive benefit package, then retirement moves to the forefront,” John Carter, president of the retirement plans business at Nationwide, says. “It’s a clear sign employers are ready to re-engage with the plan’s features, having discussions with employees so they really see the benefit of the plan.”Read more >
Wilshire Consulting estimates the aggregate funded ratio for U.S. corporate pension plans fell by 0.9 percentage points during March 2014, reaching 81.5% by month’s end. The decrease in funding was the result of a decrease in asset value versus an increase in liability value, says Ned McGuire, vice president and member of the pension risk solutions group of Wilshire Consulting.Read more >
A Plan Sponsor Injects Fun into Employee Wellness
When a new CEO took the helm at Methodist Health Systems, based in Dallas, Texas, in 2007, he was very focused on wellness and health. The health system, which self-funds its health benefits, established an eight-year strategy in 2007 for employee wellness, which included the usual health risk assessment and biometric screenings. “We had always intended on having an outcomes- or achievement-based wellness plan design; employees who show they are healthier pay less in health care premiums,” says Carrie Camin, assistant vice president of wellness at Methodist Health Systems. She adds that this requirement established an obligation for Methodist Health Systems to provide tools and resources for employees to get healthier and focus on lifestyle behaviors and healthy habits. “To do that, you have to have convenient and fun programs,” she tells PLANSPONSOR.Read more >
MOST READ ARTICLES
1
2021 Target-Date Fund Survey
2
The DOL Has Begun Retirement Plan Cybersecurity Audits
3
Rush of Litigation Against Retirement Plans Expected to Continue
4
2020 Recordkeeping Survey
5
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: What do the M’s stand for in M&Ms?
Products, Deals & People
Initiative Seeks to Help Participants Investigate Plans
A former SEC attorney says retirement plan participant lawsuits don’t benefit anyone, and he has launched a new initiative designed to hold plan sponsors accountable for their actions.Read more >
Is Auto-Portability the Next Big Thing?
Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) hopes it newest service innovation will have as big of an impact on retirement plan participant outcomes as the introduction of auto-enrollment. In 2007, one of RCH’s clients asked that a voluntary benefit be put in place for new hires, to help them automatically roll their money into the plan. “That’s when the lightbulb went off,” says Spencer Williams, president and CEO of Retirement Clearinghouse. “Here we are in the business of taking people out of the plan—a mandatory distribution—what if we set up a system with all the recordkeepers, and instead of sticking these small balances in a safe harbor IRA [individual retirement account], what if we went looking for their new 401(k) and automatically rolled them in?”Read more >
Economic Events
THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Tomorrow, the Census Bureau will report about retail sales for March and business inventories for February, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal the producer price index (PPI) for March. Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report, and the Census Bureau will report about housing starts for March. Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal the consumer price index (CPI) for March.
Market Mirror

Friday, the Dow climbed 98.92 points (0.55%) to 18,057.65, the NASDAQ was up 21.41 points (0.43%) at 4,995.98, and the S&P 500 gained 10.88 points (0.52%) to finish at 2,102.06. The Russell 2000 increased 5.66 points (0.45%) to 1,264.77, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 103.51 points (0.47%) higher at 22,274.80.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, and on the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares changed hands, with 1.5 advancing issues for every declining issue on both exchanges.

The price of the 10 year Treasury note was up 5/32, decreasing its yield to 1.948%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased 12/32, bringing its yield down to 2.583%.

WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending April 10, the Dow closed 1.66% higher, the NASDAQ climbed 2.23%, and the S&P 500 gained 1.70%. The Russell 2000 was up 0.73%, and the Wilshire 5000 increased 1.50%.

Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1743, future President Thomas Jefferson, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, was born. In 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in New York City. In 1943, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial. In 1949, Philip S. Hench and associates announced that cortizone was an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. In 1964, Sydney Poitier became the first African American to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, for his role as a construction worker who helps build a chapel in “Lilies of the Field” (1963). In 1970, disaster struck 200,000 miles from Earth when oxygen tank No. 2 blows up on Apollo 13, the third manned lunar landing mission. In 1976, the U.S. Federal Reserve introduced $2 bicentennial notes. In 1997, Tiger Woods became the youngest person to win the Masters Tournament at the age of 21. He also set a record when he finished at 18 under par. In 1998, NationsBank and BankAmerica announced a $62.5 billion merger, creating the country’s first coast-to-coast bank.
SURVEY SAYS: When the Boss Is Away
Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, how does your boss being away affect your work? If you are a boss to some employees, how do you perceive their work productivity when you are out? Forty-two percent of respondents said when their boss is out of the office, their productivity is not affected. More than one-third (33.8%) indicated they get more work done, 21.6% said it could go either way and 2.7% reported they get less work done. Among the bosses responding, half reported that employee productivity is not affected when they are out, and nearly three in ten (28.6%) said it could go either way. Most respondents who chose to leave comments explained that they have more meetings and requests when the boss is in, so they get more done when the boss is away, and quite a few said they work just as hard either way. One respondent offered this logic for the survey results: “Falls into two camps – those who believe they have a ‘job’ and those who have a ‘career’. People with a ‘job’ take advantage; people with a ‘career ‘are not impacted.” Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “I wish my work disappeared as often as my boss!” Thanks to everyone who responded to our survey!Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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