Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
April 27th, 2015
Benefits & Administration
Public Plans Data Website Launched
A consortium of public retirement system research and advocacy groups announced the launch of an enhanced public plans data website. Available on the site are “Quick Facts” publications, covering asset allocations and funded ratios at the national, state and plan levels, among other topics.Read more >
Updating Communications to Retirement Plan Participants
Retirement plan sponsors should revisit their communications strategies to keep up with participants’ needs and advancing technology. With each effort to engage retirement plan participants, plan sponsors should ask, “What is it we’re trying to communicate; do we have a clear call to action; what do we want to measure; and to what end?” says Elizabeth A. Piper, participant experience manager at Wells Fargo Institutional. Plan sponsors have access to all kinds of participant data to help them see where they stand, Piper told attendees of the 44th Annual Retirement & Benefits Management Seminar, hosted by the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, and co-sponsored by PLANSPONSOR. She said communications should include a next best step for participants, and plan sponsors should track participant actions.Read more >
Economic Events
New orders for manufactured durable goods in March increased $9.3 billion or 4.0% to $240.2 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced. This increase, up two of the last three months, followed a 1.4% February decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.2%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 2.6%. Transportation equipment, also up two of the last three months, drove the increase, up $9.5 billion or 13.5% to $80.3 billion. THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Tomorrow, the Conference Board will issue its Consumer Confidence Index for April. Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report. Friday, the Census Bureau will report about construction spending in March.
MOST READ ARTICLES
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TRIVIAL PURSUITS: What do the M’s stand for in M&Ms?
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2020 Recordkeeping Survey
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TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
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John Hancock Agrees to Procedural Changes in ERISA Suit Settlement
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2021 Defined Benefit Administration Survey
Market Mirror

Earnings reports from three large tech companies mostly boosted major U.S. stock indices Friday. the Dow was up 21.45 points (0.12%) at 18,080.14, the NASDAQ climbed 36.02 points (0.71%) to 5,092.08, and the S&P 500 closed 4.76 points (0.23%) higher at 2,117.69. The Russell 2000 was down 4.00 points (0.31%) at 1,267.54, and the Wilshire 5000 increased 34.99 points (0.16%) to 22,431.18.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares changed hands, with a nearly even split between advancers and decliners. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares traded, with 1.2 declining issues for every advancing issue.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 13/32, bringing its yield down to 1.911%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond climbed 27/32, decreasing its yield to 2.613%.

WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending April 24, the Dow increased 1.42%, the NASDAQ climbed 3.25%, and the S&P 500 gained 1.76%. The Russell 2000 was up 1.25%, and the Wilshire 5000 finished 1.68% higher.

Compliance
Groups Ask for More Time to Comment on Fiduciary Rule
Citing “a voluminous amount of information” in the fiduciary re-proposal from the Department of Labor (DOL), 16 groups wrote the DOL asking for a 45-day extension of the 75-day public comment period. “If adopted, the proposal would represent a watershed event touching many facets of the financial services industry,” the letter said.Read more >
Investing
Lowest-Cost Funds Dominate Fund Flows
A new Morningstar study shows fund expense ratios declined again in 2014 as investors across individual and institutional channels sought low-cost investment products. The research shows the asset-weighted expense ratio taken across all funds tracked by Morningstar stood at 0.64% at the end of 2014—down slightly from 0.65% in 2013 and significantly lower than 0.76% observed five years ago.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1822, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War leader and 18th president of the United States, was born. In 1861, West Virginia seceded from Virginia after Virginia seceded from the Union during the American Civil War. In 1880, Francis Clarke and M.G. Foster patented the electrical hearing aid. In 1963, Margaret Annemarie Battavio’s very first single, “I Will Follow Him,” reached No. 1 on the U.S. pop charts. With her 15th birthday only six weeks behind her, the singer better known as Little Peggy March became the youngest female performer ever to top the Billboard Hot 100. In 1965, “Pampers” diapers were patented by R.C. Duncan. In 1983, Nolan Ryan of the Houston Astros broke a 55-year-old major league baseball (MLB) record when he struck out the 3,509th batter of his career. In 2006, in New York City, construction began on the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower on the site of former World Trade Center.
SURVEY SAYS: Peer Influence on Savings Behavior
Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, would knowing the practices of your peers have an influence on you? Four in 10 responding readers indicated that if given information about the savings rate and investment choices of those in their age group that are on track for a secure retirement, that would probably not have any influence on their savings rate and investment choices because they already feel they are on track for a secure retirement. However, 17.9% said that information would influence their savings rate and investment choices. Responding readers were nearly evenly split on whether they would like the opportunity to discuss ideas for addressing their savings challenges with others in their age group—48% said yes and 52% said no. Several readers shared why peer influence is helpful, and one reader told a personal story about peer influence. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “I listen to my financial planner more than my peers.” Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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