Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
April 7th, 2017
Benefits & Administration
U.S. Pensions Adopting Best Practices of Canadian Counterparts
Given the rising Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) premiums and persistently low interest rates, many U.S. pension plans have been adapting some of the practices of what Cerulli Associates call The Canadian Model. The Model is centered around three attributes, according to Cerulli: cost mitigation, a well-diversified investment portfolio across several asset classes and geographies, and a large appetite for illiquid investments. Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Fidelity Investments released its Fidelity Financial Wellness Score. This assessment helps people measure their financial health, while identifying their most pressing financial flaws and how to address them. Fidelity says this tool goes beyond gauging the key aspects of money management, but it also takes people’s emotions into account. Read more >
Data and Research
The Growing Interest in Guaranteed Income Options
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
Data and Research
Employers Feel the Strain of Rising Labor Costs
The team at JMM CPA has introduced a new approach to auditing retirement plans, designed to drive efficiency and quality into the process. The new approach to auditing a retirement plan is to perform testing on a quarterly basis. Read more >
Investment Products and Services Launches
Nationwide adds 3(21) fiduciary service from IRON Financial; Delaware Investments rebrands; Trust Company of America launches ETF Custody Advantage; and more. Read more >
AXA Offers New Solution for DC Marketplace
AXA has launched a new solution for the defined contribution (DC) marketplace: AXA Retirement 360, an open architecture DC mutual fund program designed for 401(k), 403(b), 457(b) and 401(a) plans. AXA Retirement 360 features access to the broad mutual fund marketplace as well as a non-mutual fund option for retirement certainty with the AXA Fixed Account through a group fixed annuity from AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, which offers principal protection, liquidity and a guaranteed minimum interest rate on savings. Read more >
Sponsored message from Natixis
Changing the Climate of Target Date Funds    Introducing the world’s first ESG target date fund: Natixis Sustainable Future Funds. By combining sophisticated methodology with sustainable ideology, you can now invest in the future without compromise. Target Date. Sustainable Focus.  Read more >
Economic Events

In the week ending April 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 234,000, a decrease of 25,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 259,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 250,000, a decrease of 4,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 254,500.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.10%, down from 4.14% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.36%, down from 3.39%. 

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow ticked up 14.80 points (0.07%) to 20,662.95, the NASDAQ increased 14.47 points (0.25%) to 5,878.95, and the S&P 500 was up 4.54 points (0.19%) at 2,357.49. The Russell 2000 closed 12.28 points (0.91%) higher at 1,264.42, and the Wilshire 5000 gained 73.42 points (0.30%) to finish at 24,549.49.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares changed hands, with advancing issues outnumbering declining issues more than 3 to 1. On the NASDAQ, 2.9 billion shares traded, with a more than 2 to 1 lead for advancers.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was 2.337%. The price of the 30-year Treasury note was up 1/32, decreasing its yield to 2.986%. 

Lawmakers introduced updated legislation —The Retirement Security Preservation Act of 2017 (RSPA)—amending the nondiscrimination rules that apply to defined benefit (DB) plans that have been closed or frozen. Read more >
EEOC, Orion Reach Agreement on Wellness Program Challenge
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has resolved its suit against Orion Energy Systems challenging a wellness program under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and alleging that the employer retaliated against an employee who objected to the program by terminating her. Under the consent decree settling the suit, Orion agreed to pay $100,000 to the employee the EEOC claimed it retaliated against. The company further agreed it won’t maintain any wellness program in the future that poses disability-related inquiries or seeks a medical examination that is not voluntary within the meaning of the ADA and its regulations. Read more >
American Airlines Fails to Get Affiliated Funds Claims Dismissed
A federal district court judge has denied most motions to dismiss filed by American Airlines in a case accusing the firm of including affiliated funds in its retirement plan investment lineup though they were more expensive and lower-performing than other funds. The core of the plaintiffs’ claims relate to the use of American Beacon Funds in the plan, which were created by AMR Corp., American Airlines’ parent company and were managed by another subsidiary of AMR Corp. Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1798, the territory of Mississippi was organized. In 1862, Union General Ulysses S. Grant defeated Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee. In 1888, P.F. Collier published a weekly periodical for the first time under the name “Collier’s.” In 1927, the first long-distance TV transmission was sent from Washington, D.C., to New York City. The audience saw an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover. In 1930, the first steel columns were set for the Empire State Building. In 1933, prohibition ended in the United States. In 1940, Booker T. Washington became the first black person to be pictured on a U.S. postage stamp. In 1948, the musical “South Pacific” by Rogers and Hammerstein debuted on Broadway. In 1948, the United Nations’ World Health Organization began operations. In 1963, at the age of 23, Jack Nicklaus became the youngest golfer to win the Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament. In 1970, John Wayne won his first and only Oscar for his role in “True Grit.” In 1980, the U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Iran and imposed economic sanctions in response to the taking of hostages on November 4, 1979. In 1983, Specialist Story Musgrave and Don Peterson made the first Space Shuttle spacewalk. In 2000, U.S. President Clinton signed the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act of 2000. The bill reversed a Depression-era law and allows senior citizens to earn money without losing Social Security retirement benefits.


And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES

The most chill cat ever. Read more >
In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a woman found the longest Cheeto ever. [pic]Read more >

In Kent, Ohio, a woman went into a clothing store fitting room and started stuffing clothes in her purse. She heard store closing announcements, but wanted to finish her deed. When she came out, she realized she was locked in the store, so she called 911. According to the Associated Press, police found the stolen items in her purse and arrested her.

In Leesburg, Florida, when a nurse heard a couple had named their newborn baby Juliette, she told the parents a baby named Romeo was born that same day. Due to privacy laws, she couldn’t tell them where Romeo’s mother’s room was, but Juliette’s parents found them. According to the Orlando Sentinel, hospital staff dressed Romeo in a tuxedo and Juliette in a dress for pictures.


Have a wonderful weekend!  

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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