Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
December 10th, 2018
Benefits & Administration
403(b) Core Menus Offer Variety of Investments
The average large 403(b) plan subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) offered 27 core investment options in 2015, according to a new report from the Investment Company Institute (ICI) and BrightScope. “The “Brightscope/ICI Defined Contribution Plan Profile: A Close Look at ERISA 403(b) Plans, 2015” also identified that total ERISA 403(b) plan costs in 2015 averaged 71 basis points, down from 82 basis points in 2009. Fifty-four percent of plan assets were invested in mutual funds, 34% in variable annuities and 22% in fixed annuities. Read more >
Wellness Programs That Combine Health and Finance Seen as Essential
When workers are both financially and physically fit, human resource (HR) executives believe this can boost workplace productivity, job satisfaction and employee retention, benefits consulting firm Buck learned in a survey. The HR executives said that the most mature offering their companies have been presenting to workers is help with physical wellness. However, in the last five years, many have added financial education, specifically on money management and budgeting (66%), financial health assessments (66%), retirement calculators (63%) and financial literacy education (59%). Read more >
Small Plans Can See Big Results
Sponsors of small defined contribution (DC) plans are adopting creative strategies similar to larger plans. Read more >
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Products, Deals and People
Retirement Industry People Moves
DWC – The 401(k) Experts brings in industry veteran as first in-house actuary; Ascensus adds two executives to retirement division; Willis Towers Watson announces leader of expat benefits solutions; and more. Read more >
Economic Events

October sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $510.1 billion, down 0.2% from the revised September level, but up 6.8% from the October 2017 level, the Census Bureau reported. The August to September percent change was revised from the preliminary estimate of up 0.2% to up 0.1%.

 

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 155,000 in November, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job gains occurred in health care, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing.

 

THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Tomorrow, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal the producer price index for November. Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal the consumer price index for November. Thursday, the Labor Department will release its initial claims report. Friday, the Census Bureau will report about retail sales for November and business trade for October.

Sponsored message from Vanguard
Vanguard TDFs-Well-designed in any weather
A look at how Vanguard(r) Target Retirement Funds are designed to help investors endure both good markets and bad. Read more >
Market Mirror

Friday, the Dow was down 558.72 points (2.24%) to 24,388.95. The NASDAQ lost 219.01 points (3.05%) to finish at 6,969.25, and the S&P 500 was down by 62.87 points (2.33%) to close at 2,633.08. The Russell 2000 declined by 29.32 points (1.98%) to 1,448.09. The Wilshire 5000 lost 631.92 points (2.28%) to finish at 27,143.86.

 

The price of the 10-year Treasury note rose 8/32, decreasing its yield to 2.857%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond rose 7/32, decreasing its yield to 3.148%.

 

WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ended December 7, the Dow lost 4.50%, the S&P 500 declined by 4.60%, and the NASDAQ lost 4.93%. The Russell 2000 declined by 5.56%, and the Wilshire 5000 was down 4.72%.

Investing
Economists Remain Optimistic Despite Volatility
The top economists at J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Vanguard remind investors that volatility is normal, and that long-term thinking is a solution to short-term stress about equity prices. Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1520, Martin Luther publicly burned the papal edict. In 1817, Mississippi was admitted to the Union as the 20th American state. In 1869, women were granted the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory. In 1898, a treaty was signed in Paris that officially ended the Spanish-American War. Also, Cuba became independent of Spain. In 1901, the first Nobel prizes were awarded. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt became the first American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for helping mediate an end to the Russo-Japanese War. In 1931, Jane Addams became the first American woman co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted its Universal Declaration on Human Rights. 1950, Dr. Ralph J. Bunche became the first African-American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Bunche was awarded the prize for his efforts in mediation between Israel and neighboring Arab states. In 1958, the first domestic passenger jet flight took place in the U.S. when 111 passengers flew from New York to Miami on a National Airlines Boeing 707. In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the youngest person to receive the award. In 1984, South African Bishop Desmond Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1996, South Africa’s President Mandela signed into law a new democratic constitution, completing the country’s transition from white-minority rule to a non-racial democracy.

SURVEY SAYS RESPONSES: Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Do you think it is fair for employers to impose higher premiums for health care benefits on tobacco users?” More than two-thirds (68.3%) of responding readers reported that their company does not impose higher health benefit premiums for tobacco users. More than two-in-10 (21.7%) said their company does if the employee does not participate in a smoking cessation program, 3.3% said their company does with no alternative offered and 6.7% said their company does and they are not sure if an alternative is offered. Asked whether they think it is fair for employers to impose higher premiums for health care benefits on tobacco users, 41.7% said no, 36.7% said yes, if they are offered a chance to participate in a smoking cessation program, and the remained said yes, whether a smoking cessation program is offered or not. In comments left by readers, there were some who felt strongly for a higher premium for tobacco users, but they were definitely in the minority. Many people said this was just the first step in employers meddling, judging and discriminating. Some pointed out that there are people who don’t smoke—or even engage in other bad habits—that get sick or have diseases. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “I’m just glad this is a bad habit I never picked up. Now, if I could just lose the extra weight . . . and hopefully before they assess higher premiums for that!” Thank you to all who participated in the survey! Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

Advertising: Paul Zampitella paul.zampitella@strategic-i.com

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