Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
December 31st, 2015
Benefits & Administration
Streamlined Investment Menu Could Save Participants Millions
A new research paper by Donald B. Keim, the John B. Neff Professor of Finance at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and Olivia S. Mitchell, professor of insurance, risk management and business economics with Wharton’s Policy Pension Research Council, takes a deep dive into an interesting case study in which a real retirement plan sponsor fundamentally reworked its investment menu. The research clearly shows the reformed menu promoted better decisionmaking by retirement plan participants, and researchers estimate it could lead to millions in savings for plan participants.Read more >
The New Jersey Senate budget committee has approved a bill creating a retirement program for private-sector workers that are not offered employer-sponsored plans. The “New Jersey Secure Choice Savings Program Act” would require employers with 25 or more employees that do not sponsor their own retirement plans to automatically enroll employees into a state-run program.Read more >
2022 Recordkeeping Survey
IRS Updates Life Expectancy Tables for Retirees
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Which are the most northern, southern, eastern and western U.S. States?
Products, Deals and People
ICMA-RC, provider of retirement plans for public-sector employees, recently launched its redesigned website. The enhancements include additional tools to help educate participants about saving for retirement.Read more >
Market Mirror

Oil and gas stocks are leading a decline in major U.S. stock indices after energy prices dropped again, according to the Associated Press. The Dow lost 117.11 points (0.66%) to finish at 17,603.87, the NASDAQ decreased 42.09 points (0.82%) to 5,065.85, and the S&P 500 was down 15.11 points (0.73%) at 2,063.25. The Russell 2000 closed 10.88 points (0.94%) lower at 1,149.64, and the Wilshire 5000 fell 158.07 points (0.74%) to 21,175.07.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares changed hands, and on the NASDAQ, 2.7 billion shares traded, with declining issues outnumbering advancing issues more than 2 to 1 on both exchanges.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 4/32, bringing its yield down to 2.293%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was up 2/32, decreasing its yield to 3.034%.
Sponsored message from MetLife
2015 Stable Value Study
The 2015 Stable Value Study is commissioned to gain insight into the market for this capital preservation option in DC plans.Read more >
Catholic Health Initiatives Wins Church Plan Challenge
U.S. District Judge Robert E. Blackburn with the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado has found that Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) is a “church” for purposes of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s (ERISA’s) church-plan exemption. The plaintiff in the case Medina v. Catholic Health Initiatives argued that the court should use the plain meaning of “church” as simply “a house of worship.” But, Blackburn said reliance on a plain meaning interpretation ignores other plain meanings of the term “church,” which evince richer and more meaningful denotations and connotations of that term.Read more >
Court Refuses to Apply New Test for Top Hat Plans
A former employee of a Pennsylvania non-profit cannot rely on ERISA for benefit protections as the plan in which he participated is a “top hat” plan, a court found. The court rejected the argument that “bargaining power” of participants is a requirement for a plan to be considered a “top hat” plan.Read more >
A court has approved a settlement agreement between Henkel Corp. and its nonqualified retirement plan participants concerning Henkel’s failure to withhold participants’ Federal Income Contributions Act (FICA) taxes at the time contributions were made, as required by the plan.Read more >
Appellate Court Sets Precedent for Church Plan Cases
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed with a district court ruling that because no church established St. Peter’s Healthcare System’s defined benefit retirement plan, it is ineligible for church plan exemption. In three of the six current cases, the courts have found that only churches can establish a church plan exempt from ERISA. The other three courts have found that plans established and maintained by church agencies can qualify for ERISA exemption. The 7th Circuit has heard oral arguments in Stapleton v. Advocate Health Care Network and Subsidiaries, in which a district court found only churches can establish church plans, but the 3rd Circuit is the first appellate court to issue an opinion, setting a precedent for the circuits.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1841, the State of Alabama enacted the first legislation regulating dental practice in the U.S. In 1857, Britain’s Queen Victoria decided to make Ottawa the capital of Canada. In 1862, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union. In 1879, Thomas Edison gave his first public demonstration of incandescent lighting to an audience in Menlo Park, New Jersey. In 1891, New York’s new Immigration Depot was opened at Ellis Island, to provide improved facilities for the massive numbers of arrivals. In 1897, Brooklyn, New York, spent its last day as a separate entity before becoming part of New York City. In 1929, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played “Auld Lang Syne” as a New Year’s Eve song for the first time. In 1946, U.S. President Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II. In 1955, General Motors became the first U.S. corporation to earn more than one billion dollars in a single year. In 1961, in the U.S., the Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid. In 1974, private U.S. citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years. In 1999, Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigned. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was designated acting president. In 1999, Sarah Knauss died at the age of 119 years. She was the world’s oldest person at the time. She was born September 24, 1880.


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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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