Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
August 27th, 2014
Benefit Briefs
Retirement Specialist Advisers Do More for Plan Sponsors
Professional retirement plan advisers are central to the strategic direction, administration and overall performance of the retirement plans they serve, says new research from Transamerica. More than six in 10 (61%) retirement plan sponsors with plan assets between $5 million and $500 million work with a financial adviser or consultant who is exclusively or primarily focused on retirement plans, according to a study produced by EACH Enterprise and co-sponsored by Transamerica Retirement Solutions. These sponsors consistently cite their professional retirement plan advisers as being central to the success of the plans they manage, Transamerica says.
DC Sponsors Hesitant to Make Distribution Recommendations
Defined contribution (DC) retirement plan sponsors are hesitant to make distribution recommendations to retiring employees, although many have a preference for what retirees do with their plan balances. All but 16% of plan sponsors polled for the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute (SRI) “DC Plan Sponsor Perspectives” study indicated someone meets with retiring employees to discuss their distribution options. Among those, 49% said someone from the plan sponsor firm, such as a human resources (HR) manager, meets with retiring participants. Forty percent indicated a representative from their plan provider does so, while 15% said the plan adviser does. Small employers—and those who do not work with plan advisers or consultants for matters of investment management, plan design or compliance—are the least likely to meet with retiring plan participants. Only three in 10 plan sponsors that meet with retirees—or arrange for such meetings with plan provider representatives or plan advisers—recommend a particular course of action.
The 2014 PLANSPONSOR National Conference (PSNC), held in Chicago in June, was three jam-packed days of information-sharing via speakers and panel discussions, all aimed at helping attendees set goals for their retirement plan and their participants. Here are highlights from some of the thought-provoking sessions.  
Special Report
2014 PLANSPONSOR National Conference Live Polling Results
Throughout the three days of this year’s PLANSPONSOR National Conference (PSNC), we captured the pulse of today’s plan sponsor and retirement plan adviser community through our interactive live polling. We created a special report that outlines the answers to those questions and provides significant insight into the views and opinions of our conference attendees.
Buyer's Market
Michael Wright has joined investment services firm Segal Rogerscasey as senior vice president and senior consultant, with a focus on pension risk and defined contribution (DC) plan consulting. Segal says it hopes to leverage Wright’s experience working with a variety of institutional investors, from corporations and governments to endowments and multiemployer defined benefit (DB) pension plans.
Industry Voices
Industry Voice: The Best Solution for Uncashed Checks
Uncashed checks are a real and growing problem faced by retirement plan sponsors. Anecdotally, the industry believes this issue to be in the neighborhood of billions of dollars. Uncashed checks can also cause a problem for plan recordkeepers or other service providers if a plan is audited, as the rules under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) call for plan sponsors to do their best to make sure participants receive these funds. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines and even lawsuits. Additionally, uncashed checks can raise issues with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other agencies regarding taxes, escheatment and unclaimed property. However, there is an effective solution: automatic rollover individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
Economic Events
New orders for manufactured durable goods in July increased $55.3 billion, or 22.6%, to $300.1 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced. This increase, up five of the last six months, was at the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992, and followed a 2.7% June increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.8%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 24.9%. Transportation equipment, also up five of the last six months, drove the increase of $56.6 billion, or 74.2%, to $133.0 billion.   The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in July, improved further in August. The Index now stands at 92.4 (1985=100), up from 90.3 in July. The Present Situation Index increased to 94.6 from 87.9, while the Expectations Index edged down to 90.9 from 91.9 in July.
Market Mirror
Tuesday, the Dow ticked up 29.83 points (0.17%) to 17,106.70, the NASDAQ closed 13.29 points (0.29%) higher at 4,570.64, and the S&P 500 increased 2.10 points (0.11%) to 2,000.02. The Russell 2000 climbed 9.95 points (0.85%) to 1,175.17, and the Wilshire 5000 finished at 21,193.54, up 40.37 points (0.19%).   On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares changed hands, and on the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares traded, with advancing issues outnumbering declining issues nearly 2 to 1 on both exchanges.   The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 3/32, bringing its yield up to 2.394%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond decreased 16/32, increasing its yield to 3.158%.
Small Talk
The Whole Untruth
Telling lies is part of many Americans’ everyday interactions with those closest to them, a survey suggests. The Harris Poll of 2,097 adults, surveyed online between July 17 and 21, asked which, from a list of topics, respondents had lied about to each of a selection of people. Overall, the highest percentages of Americans have lied about at least one thing to a parent (43%) or a significant other (41%). The lowest percentage (32%) have lied to a sibling or siblings, and in between fall Americans’ likelihood to have lied to a doctor (38%) or a best friend (36%). The same topic tops the lists of lies told to parents, spouses/significant others and siblings: spending/purchases, at 15%, 21% and 9%, respectively. At the doctor’s office, exercise (15%) and eating habits (14%) are the most commonly fibbed-about topics, followed by physical health (10%). Fifty percent of respondents can be honest about some things with their spouse or significant other, but not their family, while 31% say there are things they can be honest about with their family but not their spouse or significant other.
ON THIS DATE:  In 1859, the first oil well was successfully drilled in the U.S. by Colonel Edwin L. Drake near Titusville, Pennsylvania. In 1889, Charles G. Conn received a patent for the metal clarinet. In 1908, future President Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on a farm near Stonewall, Texas. In 1962, Mariner 2 was launched by the United States. In December of the same year, the spacecraft flew past Venus. It was the first space probe to reach the vicinity of another planet. In 1998, James Brolin received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
WEDNESDAY WISDOM: “Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” —P. J. O’Rourke, American political satirist
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