Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
February 1st, 2017
Benefits & Administration
HDHPs Are Not the Answer for Every Employee
For the 2017 plan year, 56% of large employers on the Benefitfocus Platform offered a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) in addition to “traditional” copay-based plans—up from 52% a year ago. However, employee selection behavior analyzed by Benefitfocus indicates HDHPs are not right for every employee. Although employee costs are higher no matter what plan type they choose, employers need to help employees select the best health benefits plan for their financial situation. Read more >
Retirees Have Limited Control Over Health Care Inflation
A new analysis out from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) suggests projected savings targets needed to cover health care in retirement went up last year, after several years of decline. Read more >
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Products, Deals and People
Prudential Investments has launched a new iPad app designed for plan adviser use to help defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors gauge the effectiveness of their plans. Through the interactive interface, plan sponsors can visualize how modifying certain plan design features may enhance participants’ retirement readiness as part of their overall financial wellness. Read more >
Financial Finesse Offers Guide for Financial Wellness Programs
Financial Finesse has issued a report, Workplace Financial Wellness Programs: Best Practices. In the report, Liz Davidson, founder and CEO of Financial Finesse, discusses the official definition of workplace financial wellness, the cost savings of an effective financial wellness program, measuring the return on investment (ROI) of financial wellness programs and best practices for financial wellness programs. Read more >
Mutual of Omaha Retirement Services has launched Imagine Retirement Right, a program designed to motivate employees to take an active interest in their employer-sponsored retirement plan. The firm has also teamed up with Morningstar Investment Management LLC to help increase participant engagement with Morningstar Retirement Manager, an online service that is designed to help participants decide how much to save, when they may be able to retire, and how to potentially invest the savings in their workplace retirement account. Read more >
Betterment, an online investment adviser and recordkeeper, announced that it is moving beyond its single digital product to offer multi-plan advice that includes access to CFP professionals and licensed financial experts. These individuals will monitor clients’ accounts, answer questions, and provide advice. The firm’s three plans are now Betterment Digital, Betterment Plus and Betterment Premium. Read more >
Economic Events

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in December, retreated in January. The Index now stands at 111.8 (1985=100), down from 113.3 in December. The Present Situation Index increased from 123.5 to 129.7, but the Expectations Index decreased from 106.4 last month to 99.8.

Market Mirror

Tuesday, the Dow lost 107.04 points (0.54%) to finish at 19,864.09, the NASDAQ increased by 1.07 (0.02%) to 5,614.79, and the S&P 500 decreased 2.03 points (0.09%) to 2,278.87. The Russell 2000 closed 9.48 points (0.70%) higher at 1,361.82, and the Wilshire 5000 was down 11.61 points (0.05%) at 23,847.21.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares changed hands, and on the NASDAQ, 2.9 billion shares traded, with 3 advancing issues for every 2 declining issues on both exchanges.

The prices of the 10-year Treasury note and 30-year Treasury bond each increased 7/32, bringing their yields down to 2.462% and 3.069%, respectively.

Compliance
Aon Hewitt Targeted in Kickback Lawsuit Filed by Caterpillar Plan
The central claims in the proposed class action lawsuit suggest plaintiffs feel they overpaid significantly for advisory services, with the excess payments essentially amounting to kickbacks returned to the defendants. Read more >
Agencies File Brief in Support of Church Plans
In a brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, several federal agencies argue that their longstanding interpretation of the definition of church plan reflects the natural reading of the statutory text, and their interpretation warrants deference. Read more >
Small Talk
As NFL teams focus on playing their best, a Society of Actuaries analysis shows their pension plan is not doing so well. At the start of April 2015, the National Football League Players’ Pension Plan was 74% funded—up from 55% at April 2014, according to an analysis by the Society of Actuaries (SOA). However, the SOA notes this is largely because benefit changes reduced liabilities by $0.5 billion. Read more >

ON THIS DATE: In 1788, Isaac Briggs and William Longstreet patented the steamboat. In 1790, the U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time in New York City. In 1861, Texas voted to secede from the Union. In 1862, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” by Julia Ward Howe was first published in the “Atlantic Monthly.” In 1865, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed a Joint Resolution submitting the proposed 13th Amendment to the states. In 1884, the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published. In 1893, Thomas A. Edison completed work on the world’s first motion picture studio in West Orange, New Jersey. In 1898, the Travelers Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut, issued the first automobile insurance policy. Dr. Truman Martin of Buffalo, New York, paid $11.25 for the policy, which gave him $5,000 in liability coverage. In 1913, Grand Central Terminal (also known as Grand Central Station) opened in New York City. It was the largest train station in the world. In 1919, the first Miss America was crowned in New York City. In 1930, the New York Times published its first crossword puzzle. In 1957, P.H. Young became the first black pilot on a scheduled passenger airline. In 1960, four black college students began a sit-in protest at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. They had been refused service. In 1996, Visa and Mastercard announced security measures that would make it safe to shop on the Internet. In 2003, NASA’s space shuttle Columbia exploded while re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. All seven astronauts on board were killed.

 

WEDNESDAY WISDOM: “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”—Eleanor Roosevelt

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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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