Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
December 29th, 2017
Benefits & Administration
How Plan Sponsors Can Use Research and Surveys
Data and research from providers and industry groups can help plan sponsors make more informed decisions.Read more >
Interest in Retirement Advice Increases Wtih Age, Account Balance, Contributions
TIAA Institute analyzed the use of advice in 23 plans for which it was the sole recordkeeper between 2009 and 2014 and found that a mere 13% of participants seek out advice. However, interest in advice increases with age, account balance and annual contribution level, according to TIAA’s report, “New Evidence on the Demand for Advice Within Retirement Plans.” TIAA also discovered that participants with web access are twice as likely to seek out advice as those without web access.Read more >
Reducing PBGC Premiums by Splitting Up a DB Plan
Splitting up a defined benefit (DB) plan into a plan that covers participants subject to the variable-rate premium headcount cap and a plan that covers all other participants may reduce the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) variable-rate premiums in two ways, according to an article penned by Brian Donohue, partner at October Three Consulting, based in Chicago.Read more >
2022 Plan Sponsor of the Year
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
The Growing Interest in Guaranteed Income Options
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
Economic Events

In the week ending December 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 245,000, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised level of 245,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 237,750, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 236,000.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.99%, up from 3.94% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.44%, up from 3.38%.

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow gained 63.21 points (0.26%) to finish at 24,837.51, the NASDAQ was up 10.82 points (0.16%) at 6,950.16, and the S&P 500 increased 4.92 points (0.18%) to 2,687.54. The Russell 2000 climbed 4.99 points (0.32%) to 1,548.93, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 56.36 points (0.20%) higher at 27,920.95.

The prices of the 10-year Treasury note and the 30-year Treasury bond were both down 5/32, increasing their yields to 2.429% and 2.754%, respectively.

Great-West Wins Suit Over Key Guaranteed Portfolio Fund
A judge ultimately found that Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company was not a fiduciary with respect to the fund and the plaintiff did not show that, as a party-in-interest, the company knew its actions violated ERISA.Read more >
Reports Suggest Massive Fraud in DOL Fiduciary Rule Commentary Process
Wall Street Journal reporter James Grimaldi is publicly suggesting that his paper has conducted an analysis clearly showing at least five governmental agencies have received fake comments speaking negatively of the agencies’ rulemaking. Talking with a variety of mainstream news outlets, the Journal reporter says the Department of Labor (DOL) was among the targets—and he says there is evidence that the DOL fiduciary rulemaking has been a “direct target of trolls.” Overall, the Journal found that 40% of the thousands of individuals surveyed by its reporters said they did not write the comments attributed to them on the Labor Department’s public website.Read more >
Court Finds Divorce Decree Qualifies as QDRO
Although the case involves an employer-provided life insurance plan, it has lessons for what constitutes a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) for all Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plans.Read more >
Princeton University Lawsuit Stayed While 3rd Circuit Deliberates
On the motion for reconsideration of its previous choice to rule against summary dismissal, the court is quite skeptical. It has agreed, on the other hand, to stay the proceedings ahead of a 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision.Read more >
From the Magazine
Plan Analysis
An employer has the option to choose its recordkeepers’ proprietary mutual funds, collective investment trusts (CITs) or separate accounts for the company plan’s investment lineup. In 2014, according to data from BrightScope—like PLANSPONSOR, a Strategic Insight company—65.4% of 401(k) plans included proprietary funds in their investment lineup, and the assets in those funds accounted for 26.1% of all plan assets.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1813, the British burned Buffalo, New York, during the War of 1812. In 1845, U.S. President James Polk signed legislation making Texas the 28th state of the United States. In 1851, the first American Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was organized, in Boston. In 1890, the U.S. Seventh Cavalry massacred over 400 men, women and children at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota. This was the last major conflict between Indians and U.S. troops. In 1934, the first regular-season, college basketball game was played at Madison Square Garden in New York City. New York University defeated Notre Dame 25-18. In 1945, Sheb Wooley recorded the first commercial record made in Nashville. In 1949, KC2XAK of Bridgeport, Connecticut, became the first ultrahigh frequency (UHF) television station to begin operating on a regular daily schedule. In 1952, the first transistorized hearing aid was offered for sale by Sonotone Corporation. In 1972, following 36 years of publication, the last weekly issue of “LIFE” magazine hit the newsstands. The magazine later became a monthly publication. In 1997, Hong Kong began killing 1.25 million chickens, the entire population, for fear of the spread of the “bird flu.”

No FRIDAY FILES this week. Wishing a very happy New Year to everyone! NewsDash will return to your inbox Tuesday.

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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