Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
December 15th, 2017
Benefits & Administration
Kroger Withdraws From Troubled Central States Multiemployer Plan
The Kroger Co. and International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) announced the ratification of a new labor agreement that provides for Kroger’s withdrawal from the Central States Pension Fund. Kroger and IBT have established a new fund, called the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Consolidated Pension Fund that is designed to provide Kroger associates with a secure pension. The Central States Pension Fund projects it will go insolvent in 2025. The Treasury Department rejected Central States’ application for a suspension of benefits. Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Investment Products and Services Launches
Hartford Funds adds ETF seeking tax-exempt income, and Wilmington Trust releases Margin Management solution with AcadiaSoft Services. Read more >
Vanguard Launches Retirement Plan Comparison Tool
Vanguard just launched a new interactive Retirement Plan Comparison Tool, powered by Vanguard’s How America Saves data. It allows users to instantly benchmark their own plan metrics against Vanguard’s nearly 2,000 recordkept plans—and identify opportunities for changes and improvements. Read more >
MOST READ ARTICLES
1
Retirement Industry People Moves
2
HSA Amendment Bills Moved to U.S. House
3
2017 Recordkeeping Survey
4
Proposed Bill Would Allow Employers to Provide Side-Car Emergency Savings Accounts
5
Missing Inaction
Economic Events

The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for October, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,400.8 billion, up 0.6% from September and up 6.5% from October 2016, the Census Bureau announced.

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for November, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $492.7 billion, an increase of 0.8% from the previous month and 5.8% above November 2016. Total sales for the September through November period were up 5.2% from the same period a year ago. Retail trade sales were up 0.8% from October, and were up 6.3% from last year. Gasoline Stations were up 12.2% from November 2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 10.7% from last year.

In the week ending December 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 225,000, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 236,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 234,750, a decrease of 6,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 241,500.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.93%, down from 3.94% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is unchanged at 3.36%.

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Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow decreased 76.77 points (0.31%) to 24,508.66, the NASDAQ was down 19.27 points (0.28%) at 6,856.53, and the S&P 500 closed 10.84 points (0.41%) lower at 2,652.01. The Russell 2000 fell 17.50 points (1.15%) to 1,506.95, and the Wilshire 5000 lost 123.72 points (0.45%) to finish at 27,503.09.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 3/32, increasing its yield up to 2.352%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was up 10/32, decreasing its yield to 2.708%.

Compliance
Mercer Expects Retirement Plans to Fare Well in Tax Reform
However, employers will likely have some difficulty in knowing how to handle the January 1, 2018, effective date that has been assigned for many provisions in the House and Senate tax reform proposals, especially for the purposes of income tax withholding. Read more >
Congressmen Introduce SAVE Act
The bill would facilitate lifetime income disclosure, clarify the current annuity selection safe harbor and expand access to multiple employer plans. Read more >
Multiemployer Plan Fund Manager Sentenced for Fund Theft
In addition to being barred as serving as a fiduciary for five years, the fund manager is ordered to make more than $45,000 in restitution to the plan, according to a Department of Labor news release. Read more >
Bill Would Require Employers To Automatically Enroll Workers
Representative Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, recently introduced the Automatic Retirement Plan Act of 2017, which would require employers to have a retirement plan, either a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, and automatically enroll participants into the plan. Read more >
EBSA Nominee Rutledge Advances Through Senate Help Committee
Preston Rutledge seems to be enjoying relatively little opposition as he moves closer to becoming the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)—a key position in the federal government tasked with enforcing the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1654, a meteorological office established in Tuscany began recording daily temperature readings. In 1791, in the U.S., the first ten amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, went into effect following ratification by the state of Virginia. In 1854, in Philadelphia, the first street cleaning machine was put into use. In 1877, Thomas Edison patented the phonograph. In 1890, American Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull and 11 other tribe members were killed in Grand River, South Dakota, during an incident with Indian police working for the U.S. government. In 1938, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt presided over the ground-breaking ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. In 1939, “Gone With the Wind,” produced by David O. Selznick based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell, premiered at Loew’s Grand Theater in Atlanta. In 1961, the U.N. General Assembly voted against a Soviet proposal to admit Communist China as a member. In 1966, Walter Elias “Walt” Disney died in Los Angeles at the age of 65. In 1978, U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced he would grant diplomatic recognition to Communist China on New Year’s Day and sever official relations with Taiwan. In 1996, Boeing Co. announced plans to pay $13.3 billion to acquire rival aircraft manufacturer McDonnell Douglas Corp. In 1997, the San Francisco 49ers retired Joe Montana’s number 16 during halftime of a game against the Denver Broncos.

SURVEY SAYS: Come on, folks, I know many more of you have had embarrassing moments at work. I promise the survey is anonymous, so please respond. The survey is open for one more day. Read more >

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

A very impressive Christmas lights show. Read more >
This little girl has a simple request from Santa Claus for Christmas. Read more >
In Berlin, Germany, a pilot was doing a test flight with an Airbus A380, when he, engineers on the flight and air traffic control decided to trace a Christmas tree pattern with the plane. According to the Associated Press, the plane turned several corners and loops during its flight to produce a pattern in the shape of a tree complete with baubles. [pic] Read more >

In Wolverhampton, England, a not so bright YouTuber’s friends ended up calling police when their video stunt went terribly wrong. According to the BBC, a man had his friends cement his head, which was protected by a plastic bag, inside a microwave. The mixture set quickly and the man’s friends tried for an hour and a half to free him. They did manage to get a tube into his mouth to help him breathe. After calling firefighters, it took the rescuers about an hour to get him free.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when officers tried to pull over a man in a minivan, he fled, starting a chase that reached 100 mph. The chase ended when the driver crashed his minivan down an embankment. According to the Associated Press, the driver told officers he crashed his vehicle because he was checking his cell phone.

In Edmond, Oklahoma, parents were confounded about why their baby’s pacifiers kept going missing. Then, one of the baby’s grandmothers saw the family’s dog take one off a counter. The Associated Press reports that a trip to the veterinarian and resulting surgery revealed the dog had 21 pacifiers lodged in her stomach.

In Plymouth, England, a 38-year-old man takes pride in the fact that his Christmas tree lights are a decade older than he is. The man says his mom bought the lights back in 1969 for 3 pounds―the equivalent of around $58 in 2017. Although the lights came with a spare set of bulbs, the man says he’s never needed to replace them, according to the British news agency South West News Service.

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

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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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