Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
December 24th, 2015
Editor’s Note
Data analytics has become increasingly important for companies to use in order to improve their decisionmaking and better understand their options. It is for this reason that, in just about every issue of PLANSPONSOR magazine, we include a proprietary research report or a buyer’s guide geared to the various types of plan sponsors. This body of research can help sponsors establish priorities for changes and enhancements they may want to consider for 2016, and which providers can assist them. This edition of NewsDash provides a roundup of our proprietary research in 2015.
TDF Buyer’s Guide
Two significant themes can be inferred from the 2015 PLANSPONSOR Target-Date Fund (TDF) Buyer’s Guide: 1) Asset managers are deeply committed to TDF solutions, as indicated by an exceptionally high survey participation rate, and 2) at this point in their evolution, TDF solutions have moved far past any predicted 2.0 stage.Read more >
Deals and People
Voya Keeps Building Government Markets Team With Rehire
Housing Expenses Drive Spending Volatility in Retirement
Data and Research
Unplanned Financial Challenges Continue to Plague US Workers’ Retirement Savings
Participant Survey
A theme that emerged from the 2014 PLANSPONSOR Participant Survey was the importance of employer contributions in influencing participant behavior. In our 2015 participant survey, we increased our focus on that data, examining savings behaviors associated with different match rates. When match levels were 100% of the first 3% of salary, 87% of respondents indicated they were willing to save enough to receive the maximum match. However, when the match level was stretched to 50% of the first 6% of salary or 25% of the first 12% of salary, the number of respondents willing to contribute enough to maximize the match decreased—to 59% and 10%, respectively.Read more >
Managed Account Buyer’s Guide
PLANSPONSOR’s Managed Accounts Buyer’s Guide found that, to differentiate their products from target-date funds, managed account providers are making services more personalized, relevant and engaging to plan participants. Common areas of improvement included new or enhanced processes/tools to assist with retirement income planning and additions to the online experience.Read more >
Recordkeeping Survey
Over the past 40 years, defined contribution (DC) plans have grown to be the cornerstone of retirement saving for millions of Americans. Over the past 17 years, our annual PLANSPONSOR Recordkeeping Survey has chronicled the market’s impressive growth. Yet, despite having more assets, more plans and more participants than at any time in history, there is one measure of the market that continues to decline: the number of recordkeeping service providers. The good news for plan sponsors and participants is that a market dominated by fewer, stronger competitors has created an environment where recordkeepers are racing to deliver more value for less cost, which is inspiring the next generation of product and service offerings.Read more >
Defined Benefit Administration Survey
Like our Recordkeeping Survey on the defined contribution side of the market, the DB Administration Survey showcases providers in the defined benefit (DB) plan market—who the major players are, who they serve, what services they provide. Also included is information about overall market sizing.Read more >
Sponsored message from BlackRock
DC Fixed Income: The World Has Changed. It’s Time to Catch Up
Learn how DC plans should respond to a fixed income environment that is more complicated than anything we’ve seen in decades.Read more >
Defined Contribution Survey
In our 2015 PLANSPONSOR Defined Contribution Survey, not one of the participant or sponsor service categories saw increased satisfaction scores, reversing a two-year trend. In fact, a few categories showed significant declines in “top box” satisfaction—“Enrollment assistance” is down 19.6% from its 2014 score; “Loan/Withdrawal processing” fell 13.6%; and “Participant fee disclosure” dropped 10.2%, while “Form 5500 processing” is down 14%, and “Legislative/Regulatory updates” slipped 10.9%. While some variation in scores is to be expected year to year, the seemingly universal decline in scores raises questions about what might be driving scores lower. Brian O’Keefe, director of research and surveys for PLANSPONSOR, in Boston, who has managed the DC Survey for five years analyzed the data in search of clues.Read more >
NQDC Buyer’s Guide
For companies that want to offer additional savings opportunities to certain participants who may not be able to save as much as they want within the statutory limits of qualified retirement plans, a nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plan may be an option. Our NQDC/457(f) Buyer’s Guide includes information about 27 providers to these types of plans.Read more >
403(b)/457 Buyer’s Guide
With all the nuances of the 403(b) retirement plan market, plan sponsors can be at a loss for how best to operate their plans, and many must lean on providers, advisers and/or legal counsel to navigate the landscape. Our 403(b)/457 Buyer’s Guide offers a series of provider profiles for plan sponsors to use as a resource.Read more >
Economic Events

Sales of new single-family houses in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 490,000, according to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 4.3% above the revised October rate of 470,000 and is 9.1% above the November 2014 estimate of 449,000.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in November increased $0.1 billion or virtually unchanged to $238.8 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced. This increase, up two consecutive months, followed a 2.9% October increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.1%. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 1.5%. Transportation equipment, also up two consecutive months, drove the increase, up $0.3 billion or 0.4% to $82.2 billion.
Market Mirror

Stocks advanced for a third straight day on Wednesday, once again helped by higher oil prices, which lifted shares in oil and gas companies, according to the Associated Press. The Dow gained 185.34 points (1.06%) to finish at 17,602.61, the NASDAQ closed 44.82 points (0.90%) higher at 5,045.93, and the S&P 500 increased 25.32 points (1.24%) to 2,064.29. The Russell 2000 was up 15.13 points (1.33%) at 1,152.81, and the Wilshire 5000 climbed 267.34 points (1.28%) to 21,192.35.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with advancing issues outnumbering declining issues more than 6 to 1. On the NASDAQ, 2.7 billion shares changed hands, with a more than 2 to 1 lead for advancers.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note decreased 6/32, bringing its yield up to 2.257%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 18/32, increasing its yield to 2.986%.
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1814, the War of 1812 between the U.S. and Britain was ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium. In 1818, Franz Gruber of Oberndorf, Germany, composed the music for “Silent Night” to words written by Josef Mohr. In 1851, a fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroying about 35,000 volumes. In 1943, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt appointed General Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces as part of Operation Overlord. In 1948, the first completely solar-heated house became occupied in Dover, Massachusetts. In 1966, Luna 13 landed on the moon. In 1992, U.S. President George H.W. Bush pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and five others in the Iran-Contra scandal.

No SURVEY SAYS this week. PLANSPONSOR wishes a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and a happy weekend for everyone. NewsDash will be back in your inbox Monday.
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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