Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
December 2nd, 2014
Sponsored message from Vanguard
The Washington Connection: Key issues in the run-up to mid-terms What’s the outlook for mid-term elections and what can we expect from Congress in the coming months? Ann Combs, head of Vanguard Government Relations, offers insight on the latest legislative and regulatory issues from our nation’s capital. Read more >
Benefits & Administration
Uncertainty Drives Preference for Income Guarantees
Many retirement savers are focused on income guarantees and establishing a level of protection against market volatility, according to the Allianz Life 2014 Market Perceptions Study. Rising markets for much of 2014 were largely offset by significant downturns in August and October, tempering Americans’ attitudes about risk and investing aggressively for retirement, the study finds. The vast majority of investors polled for the study said they prefer financial products with guarantees (78%) over products with higher growth potential but the possibility of losing value (22%).  Read more >
Pension Funds to More Proactively Manage Assets
Pension funds globally say they intend to adopt a more proactive approach to managing their assets, a report by State Street Corporation found. According to “Pensions Funds DIY: A Hands-On Future for Asset Owners,” driving this change is the challenge of building a holistic view of risk across a multi-asset portfolio while aggregating risk data from multiple managers, aligning interests and managing costs. “Pension funds’ desire to deliver strong investment returns to their participants, coupled with improved oversight and governance, is leading to a need for more in-house accountability for asset and risk management,” says Martin J. Sullivan, head of Asset Owner sector solutions for North America, State Street. “However, this undertaking requires pension funds to carefully evaluate how to achieve a balance of in-house and external talent, tools and technologies.”Read more >
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Special Request from the GAO
If you are a defined contribution (DC) plan fiduciary who has considered adopting or has adopted a qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) for your plan, please consider answering a short questionnaire sponsored by PLANSPONSOR and the U.S. Government Accountability Office(GAO). Please note: GAO is not auditing or analyzing the policies or practices of any individual plan sponsor. All responses provided in this questionnaire will remain confidential. GAO will not attribute any provided information to any individual or company.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
Principal Financial Group Names President and COO
The Principal Financial Group’s board of directors has elected Daniel J. Houston to the role of president and chief operating officer (COO), effective immediately. Houston will oversee all global businesses including Principal Global Investors, Principal International, Retirement and Investor Services, and U.S. Insurance Solutions.  Read more >
The Multi-Asset Income Fund from American Century Investments aims to provide sustainable monthly income from a diversified mix of domestic and foreign fixed-income and equity investments. The fund will dynamically allocate across multiple income-producing asset classes, according to Scott Wittman, chief investment officer (CIO) for asset allocation and disciplined equity.  Read more >
Market Mirror

Yesterday, the Dow was down 51.44 points (0.29%) at 17,776.80, the NASDAQ fell 64.28 points (1.34%) to 4,727.35, and the S&P 500 increased 35.40 points (1.75%) to 2,053.45. The Russell 2000 lost 19.10 points (1.63%) to finish at 1,154.13, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 208.21 points (0.96%) lower at 21,522.97.

 

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, and on the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares changed hands, with declining issues outnumbering advancing issues 3 to 1 on both exchanges.

 

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 15/32, increasing its yield to 2.222%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 1 5/32, with its yield up to 2.951%.

Compliance
401(k) Nondiscrimination Tests Explained
With acronyms like ADP, ACP, NHCEs and HCEs, the technicality of 401(k) plan nondiscrimination testing may seem overwhelming. Even though nondiscrimination testing is likely performed by a plan’s recordkeeper or third-party administrator (TPA), plan sponsors need to understand the basics of the tests, including the types of contributions that are tested, the methods used and the consequences of failing.  Read more >
From the Magazine
Asset Class Focus: Small-Cap Equity
Across all markets in the world, there are about 8,500 publicly traded companies, and 6,000 or so of them are small, according to the All Country World Index (ACWI) of index publisher MSCI Inc. Not only are small capitalization companies small, they are different: They often exist in industries that are more cyclical—industrials and materials, for instance—while large-cap businesses, such as health care or consumer staples, tend to be more defensive. Accordingly, small-caps’ earnings, and their share prices, may respond differently to economic cycles. And over very long periods, the many small have outperformed the large few.  Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1816, the first savings bank in the U.S., the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society, opened for business. In 1823, during his annual address to Congress, President James Monroe proclaimed a new U.S. foreign policy initiative that became known as the “Monroe Doctrine.” Primarily the work of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, the Monroe Doctrine forbade European interference in the American hemisphere but also asserted U.S. neutrality in regard to future European conflicts. In 1901, Gillette patented the KC Gillette Razor. It was first razor to feature a permanent handle and disposable double-edge razor blades. In 1969, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet got its first public preview as 191 people flew from Seattle to New York City. Most of the passengers were reporters and photographers. In 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency began operating under its first director, William Ruckelshaus. In 1972, The Temptations earned their final No. 1 hit with “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.” In 1982, doctors at the University of Utah implanted a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Barney Clark. He lived 112 days with the device. The operation was the first of its kind. In 2001, the Enron Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court, sparking one of the largest corporate scandals in U.S. history.
TUESDAY TRIVIA: The winter holidays—Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza—account for nearly 20% of total annual sales for retailers. In 2013, holiday celebrants spent an average of $730 on gifts, food, decorations and more, according to the National Retail Federation. Holiday sales were $602 billion. 
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: According to the National Retail Federation, what annual events or holidays ranked 2nd and 3rd in holiday spending totals in 2013–2014?  Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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