Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
December 28th, 2018

Editor’s Note: In this edition of NewsDash, we highlight our proprietary research which helps plan sponsors better understand the market for providers, as well as benchmark their plans and providers.
PLANSPONSOR Research: Surveys
2018 DC Survey: Plan Benchmarking
The findings of the 2018 PLANSPONSOR Defined Contribution (DC) Survey: Plan Benchmarking show improved use of plan design. Roth provisions are on the rise, effective match levels are similar to what they have been, fees seem to be trending downward slowly, automatic features are somewhat more prevalent, and overall participation rates are ticking up. Whether alone, or through partnership with recordkeeping plan providers and/or advisers and consultants, plan sponsors are working to make sure their employees take advantage of all of the features a defined contribution plan has to offer, and it appears those employees are benefitting. Most years, the survey results indicate few surprises, but this year a couple of data points are worth noting. Read more >
2018 Defined Benefit Administration Survey
According to our 2018 Defined Benefit (DB) Administration Survey, more than half (56.5%) of clients bundle administration services with other offerings, such as defined contribution (DC) plan recordkeeping, and exactly half (50.0%) of clients rely on their plan administrator to assist with actuarial valuations vs. internally staffed or third-party/third-party administrator (TPA) solutions. From a competitive standpoint, technology and service quality/innovation continue to be areas of differentiation, with some providers moving more and more participant interaction online while others tend to rely more heavily on traditional channels—i.e., phone, print, meetings, etc. Read more >
MOST READ ARTICLES
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The Senate Math That Could Block SECURE Act
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Open MEPs Not for Every Plan Sponsor
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Driving Financial Wellness at Work
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2018 Participant Survey
To gain insight into the drivers behind participant retirement plan decisions, the PLANSPONSOR Participant Survey, now in its fifth year, delves into participant behaviors and preferences to see how attitudes have evolved. Plan sponsors received a few affirmations in the results: Defined contribution (DC) plans continue to be viewed as a major benefit. Fifty-nine percent of respondents would rather work for a company that has a DC plan but pays 10% less than for a company that does not have a DC plan but pays 10% more. Read more >
2018 Recordkeeping Survey
Within the 401(k) market, smaller plans may seek out adviser-centric service providers, and larger plans may want a vendor that can customize their platform. Annuity-based 403(b) providers have evolved their offerings to resemble their financial industry competitors’, and governmental 457(b) plans provide some benefits of 401(k) plans along with others uniquely their own. Nongovernmental 457 plans are limited in whom they serve, their market dominated by four service providers. The NQDC plan market, once serviced by two distinct types of providers, is now more blended. Read more >
Sponsored message from John Hancock Retirement Plan Services
Connecting wealth to health in the wellness equation
Financial wellness is a bit of a conundrum. Its roots are in a person’s wallet, but when things go wrong, it can impact their health. As a result, employee benefit programs that don’t include a financial component may not be addressing a critical impediment to wellness. Read more >
Economic Events

In the week ending December 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 216,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 217,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 218,000, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 222,750.

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow climbed 260.37 points (1.14%) to 23,138.82, the NASDAQ increased 25.14 points (0.38%) to 6,579.49, and the S&P 500 closed 21.10 points (0.86%) higher at 2,488.80. The Russell 2000 was up 2.01 points (0.15%) at 1,331.82, and the Wilshire 5000 gained 184.88 points (0.73%) to finish at 25,551.73.

 

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 7/32, decreasing its yield to 2.783%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was down 2/32, increasing its yield to 3.068%.

PLANSPONSOR Research: Buyer’s Guides
2018 403(b) Buyer’s Guide
By the end of 2017, more than 17 million participants had invested over $1 trillion in 403(b) plans, making 403(b) plans the 2nd-largest defined contribution market behind 401(k) plans. While sharing similar objectives and designs, 403(b) and 401(k) plans have key differences that may demand unique recordkeeping and service strategies from plan providers. This guide is intended to assist plan sponsors with understanding the differences in experience and capabilities among select 403(b) plan recordkeepers. Read more >
2018 Managed Account Buyer’s Guide
The PLANSPONSOR Managed Account Buyer’s Guide, which was last published in 2015, uses a narrow definition of “managed account,” concentrating on providers of the technology-driven products that run on participant-level accounts. Three points carve out our definition. For the more traditional managed account providers, much of their development over the last few years has focused on improving the personalization of asset allocation for participants—especially if the participants neglect to engage with the managed account solution. Read more >
2018 Stock Plan Administration Buyer’s Guide
PLANSPONSOR looks at the various stock plan administrator’s available to sponsors. The profiles included in this guide highlight where providers deliver key tax/reporting/compliance services via “in-house” resources while others may offer similar services through a third party (or a choice or either option). Read more >
2018 Health Saving’s Account Buyer’s Guide
Adoption of health savings accounts (HSAs)—pre-tax savings accounts available to those enrolled in high-deductible health plans (HDHP)s—has grown exponentially, with America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) reporting 20.2 million HDHP/HSA enrollees in its 2016 Survey of Health Savings Account—High Deductible Health Plans. The continued adoption of HSAs reflects how many employees, in the face of rising health care costs, have taken on greater decisionmaking roles in how their health care dollars are spent. Employers are increasingly looking to HSA custodians and administrators to provide additional capabilities and tools. Fortunately, employers have many choices when selecting an HSA partner. Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1832, John C. Calhoun became the first vice president of the United States to resign, stepping down over differences with President Andrew Jackson. In 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union. In 1869, William E. Semple, of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, patented an acceptable chewing gum. In 1912, the first municipally-owned street cars were used on the streets of San Francisco. In 1945, Congress officially recognized the “Pledge of Allegiance.” In 1981, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American test-tube baby, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

 

 

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

If you lack a backup camera in your car, perhaps you can enlist a friend’s help. Read more >
A very graceful slip on the ice. Read more >
Dog cheating on a treadmill. Read more >

In Waterboro, Maine, a man came home one day to find an intruder watching television and wearing some of his clothes. The trespasser also helped himself to the homeowner’s food and took a shower, according to News Center Maine. The alleged burglar somehow convinced the homeowner that he had mistaken the home for his friend’s house and asked the homeowner to drive him to another home in Hollis. The homeowner agreed. When he returned, he noticed that his back door had been forced open and there were various items missing. Deputies soon learned from Maine State Police that the intruder had allegedly stolen a vehicle in Portland and then ran out of gas in Hollis. He later stole another vehicle and drove it until he crashed it in the woods. That is when the alleged burglar went to the man’s home to shower, eat and watch TV. A tip from one of the intruder’s relatives led investigators to him, and he was arrested without incident.

 

Also in Santa Monica, California, a man returned from Christmas shopping to find two men in filthy clothes cooking dinner. They asked if they could hang out for a while, and the homeowner played along, saying he was going to take his dog out then calling 911 while he was out. The two intruders were arrested on charges of burglary.

 

And, in an apparent trend during the holidays, in Uniontown, Ohio, a relative of a homeowner confronted a homeless couple that had broken into the house. Authorities say the couple had washed their clothes, took a shower and made some coffee. They also say they found jewelry, a computer and credit cards from the home in the couple’s truck.

 

In New York City, a man and his pregnant wife, who was in labor, were headed east on the Long Island Expressway to Bellevue Hospital when they realized time was running out. They pulled over by the Queens Midtown Tunnel and asked Metropolitan Transportation Authority officers for help. The parents had planned to name the baby Aurora, but after the baby was born in their minivan, they named her Alie because the nickname for the Long Island Expressway is L.I.E.

 

Have a great 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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