Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
February 12th, 2015
Benefits & Administration
Report Shows State Shifts from DB to DC Are Costly
A report from the National Institute on Retirement Security suggests that states that shifted retirement plans from defined benefit (DB) pension plans to defined contribution (DC) plans experienced higher costs. “Case Studies of State Pension Plans that Switched to Defined Contribution Plans” presents summaries of changes in three states—Alaska, Michigan, and West Virginia—that made the switch from a DB pension to DC accounts. The Institute says the case studies indicate that the best way for a state to address any pension underfunding issue is to implement a responsible funding policy with full annual required contributions—and for states to evaluate assumptions and funding policies over time, making any appropriate adjustments.Read more >
Most DC Plan Participants Leave Balances Untouched
A report of defined contribution (DC) plan participant activity from the Investment Company Institute (ICI) shows withdrawal and account transfer activity was low in 2014. Between January and September 2014, 8.1% of DC plan participants changed the asset allocation of their account balances. This level of reallocation activity was slightly lower than the reallocation activity observed during the comparable periods from 2009 through 2013, according to ICI. Reallocation of participants’ contributions also was lower than rates observed in earlier periods. Read more >
Women Have Confidence Gap in Financial Matters
The most surprising result of the Money Fit Women Study from Fidelity was the overwhelming majority of women (92%) who said they want to learn more about financial planning, says ‎Alexandra Taussig, senior vice president for marketing and business strategy at Fidelity Investments. A major finding of the study is that women greatly lack confidence in their own financial ability. They’re concerned they won’t have enough money to live on in retirement, but they want to learn, Taussig says. “They want to take action and start taking control of their finances.” Since most women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives, Taussig notes, their willingness to step up engagement in active learning about finance is positive.Read more >
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Products, Deals & People
More Solutions, Stability Ahead for John Hancock Clients
On the eve of Christmas Eve, two big players in the retirement plan industry made an announcement that seemed to pass quietly amid the hustle of the holidays—John Hancock will acquire New York Life’s Retirement Plan Services (RPS) business. Peter Gordon, SVP and president of John Hancock RPS, tells PLANSPONSOR the acquisition will mean different things for different market segments. “We offer creative plan design for small businesses, but do not offer total outsourcing,” he says. However, with the acquisition of New York Life RPS, which has a strong nonqualified plans business, John Hancock will also promote total outsourcing.Read more >
Sponsored message from Vanguard
Vanguard’s Economic & Investment Outlook
According to Vanguard’s newly released Economic and Investment Outlook, the U.S. economy will likely remain resilient with anticipated growth above trend in the new term, but it won’t be immune to the recessionary and deflationary risks.Read more >
Market Mirror

U.S. stocks closed effectively flat in quiet trading Wednesday as investors waited to see what the outcome would be of an emergency meeting between Greece and the rest of the Eurozone to discuss the country’s finances, according to the Associated Press. The Dow slipped 6.62 points (0.04%) to 17,862.14, the NASDAQ was up 13.54 points (0.28%) at 4,801.18, and the S&P 500 was virtually unchanged at 2,068.53. The Russell 2000 decreased by 1.62 (0.14%) to 1,201.55, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 6.77 points (0.03%) lower at 21,807.21.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares changed hands, with a slight lead for decliners. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares traded, with 1.2 declining issues for every advancing issue.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note decreased 6/32, bringing its yield up to 2.020%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was down 8/32, increasing its yield to 2.589%.

Investing
DC Plan Participant Transfers Up in January
Aon Hewitt’s 401(k) Index shows there were five days of above-normal trading activity among defined contribution (DC) plan participants in the month of January 2015–more days than the previous two months combined. The majority of days (75%) favored equities over fixed-income assets—the highest percentage of days per month favoring equities in two years.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky. In 1879, the first artificial ice rink opened in North America at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded. In 1971, James Cash (J.C.) Penney died at the age of 95. In 1999, the five-week impeachment trial of Bill Clinton came to an end, with the Senate voting to acquit the president on both articles of impeachment: perjury and obstruction of justice.
SURVEY SAYS: Saturday is Valentine’s Day, and with President’s Day on Monday, many of us have a long weekend for celebrating both events. But, I’d like to know, do you have plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day? You may respond to this week’s survey by 6 p.m. Pacific time today.Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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