Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
April 14th, 2017
Benefits & Administration
Many Admit They Could Improve Savings Habits
Survey results suggest men and women are broadly concerned about affording unexpected expenses, affording health care costs and being able to take desired vacations.  Read more >
Factors Aligning to Accelerate Pension Activity
While combined pre‑funding and risk transfer actions have typically been economically positive, many plan sponsors have stayed on the sidelines or managed pension risk tentatively, Mercer notes in a report. However, Mercer says, pension sponsors are growing tired of market and regulatory volatility and are contemplating bolder action. Potential tax changes that will drive accelerated pre‑funding make a tipping point imminent. “We have seen many iterations of de‑risking actions over the past decade, and we see full plan terminations as the next wave, as many frozen plan sponsors convert from gradual steps to a Big Bang,” Mercer concludes.  Read more >
2022 Plan Sponsor of the Year
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
The Growing Interest in Guaranteed Income Options
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
Industry Voices
The Role of Families in Lifetime Financial Security
Some who step up to help family members when needed will have adequate resources, creating no impact on their retirement security, but for some others, family help may drain their resources and leave them in a worse or difficult situation for retirement, notes Anna Rappaport, a Fellow with the Society of Actuaries. Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Investment Products and Services Launches
American Century releases new alternative investments fund, and Thornburg Investment Management adds R6 share classes.  Read more >
Economic Events
In the week ending April 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 234,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 235,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 247,250, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 250,250.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.08%, down from 4.10% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.34%, down from 3.36%.

The Producer Price Index for final demand declined 0.1% in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Final demand prices advanced 0.3% in February and 0.6% in January. In March, the indexes for both final demand services and goods fell 0.1%.

Market Mirror
Thursday, the Dow closed 138.61 points (0.67%) lower at 20,453.25, the NASDAQ was down 31.01 points (0.53%) at 5,805.15, and the S&P 500 decreased 15.98 points (0.68%) to 2,328.95. The Russell 2000 fell 13.95 points (1.03%) to 1,345.24, and the Wilshire 5000 lost 162.90 points (0.67%) to close at 24,262.59.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares traded, and on the NASDAQ, 3.0 billion shares changed hands, with a more than 2 to 1 lead for declining issues on both exchanges.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 1/32, decreasing its yield to 2.236%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was down 2/32, increasing its yield to 2.892%.

The Aon Hewitt 401(k) Index shows that March ended an “overall light quarter of trading activity” among 401(k) investors. Results from the monthly index show the first quarter of 2017 saw no days with above-normal trading activity. Aon Hewitt says this is the first time this has happened in a quarter since the index was established in 1997.  Read more >
Institutional Investors Turning to Private Funds for Returns
“The wide range of private fund strategies can generate strong returns, provide diversification, reduce volatility, act as an inflation hedge, and/or deliver reliable income,” Cerulli researchers explain.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1775, the first abolitionist society in U.S. was organized in Philadelphia with Ben Franklin as president. In 1828, the first edition of Noah Webster’s dictionary was published under the name “American Dictionary of the English Language.” In 1889, the first international Conference of American States began in Washington, D.C. In 1894, the first public showing of Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope took place. In 1902, James Cash (J.C.) Penney opened his first retail store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. It was called the Golden Rule Store. In 1912, the Atlantic passenger liner Titanic, on its maiden voyage, hit an iceberg and began to sink; 1,517 people lost their lives and more than 700 survived. In 1939, the John Steinbeck novel “The Grapes of Wrath” was first published. In 1956, Ampex Corporation of Redwood City, California, demonstrated the first commercial magnetic tape recorder for sound and picture. In 1959, the Taft Memorial Bell Tower was dedicated in Washington, D.C. In 1981, America’s first space shuttle, Columbia, returned to Earth after a three-day test flight. The shuttle orbited the Earth 36 times during the mission. In 1984, the Texas Board of Education began requiring that the state’s public school textbooks describe the evolution of human beings as “theory rather than fact.” In 1990, Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles began a streak of 95 errorless games and 431 total chances by a shortstop. In 2000, after five years of deadlock, Russia approved the START II treaty that called for the scrapping of U.S. and Russian nuclear warheads.


And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

A combination of juggling and pool make for some very cool trick shots.  Read more >
This cat may be a little chubby, but it is determined to get under the door.  Read more >
Funny how this Dad tricks his son into walking instead of taking the car.  Read more >
In Wuhan, China, a university student found a bird’s nest in his pants. The student at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology’s School of Automotive Engineering told Chutian Metropolis Daily that he was in the habit of simply throwing off his clothes after arriving back in his dorm room after going to the gym, and then waiting until the weekend to do the laundry. However, before he did the laundry, the pants he had hung up on the balcony had a new occupant. After the story spread around campus, students said they felt sorry for the birds who were now out of a home, and called on fellow classmates to leave their dirty laundry outside, in order to help out nature.


In Bristol, England, police saw what they thought was a collapsed man and rushed to his aid. However, when they got closer, they realized it was a 4-foot-long alligator. According to the Huffington Post, the owner of a local reptile store was taking the alligator out for a walk when officers mistook it for a prostrate person.


In Stafford, Virginia, a crafty dog escaped an animal hospital. According to news reports, surveillance footage captured the dog opening the door to his cage then turning another door’s handle with his mouth. Video next shows him exiting the building and strolling around the parking lot. Fortunately, he was later found resting in a nearby yard and an animal control officer returned him to the animal hospital.


In Lynn, Massachusetts, a 79-year-old man received a check for two cents from the U.S. Treasury Department. News reports say he has already received his tax refunds and his monthly pension. He doesn’t know why he received it, and doesn’t plan on asking. He also doesn’t plan on cashing the check; he paid more than $82 to have a custom frame made for it.


In East Palestine, Ohio, an 8-year-old boy drove his 4-year-old sister to McDonald’s in their father’s van. They snuck out of their home after their parents went to sleep. According to the Huffington Post, during the mile-and-a-half long journey to the restaurant, the boy successfully navigated railroad tracks and multiple intersections. Concerned witnesses called the police, despite the fact that the boy had remained under the speed limit and obeyed all other traffic laws. The boy said he learned to drive by watching a YouTube video. The police say no neglect was involved and no charges would be filed.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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