Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
February 15th, 2019

2019 Best in Class 401(k) Plans

PLANSPONSOR is pleased to announce the fifth “class” of companies winning the Best in Class 401(k) Plan designation. Recipients of the 2019 designation were selected from the 3,495 401(k) plan sponsors that responded to the 2018 PLANSPONSOR Defined Contribution (DC) Survey. There are 34 winners this year. Read more >
Benefits & Administration
Ensuring a Clean Recordkeeper Conversion
There are steps retirement plan sponsors can take before converting to a new recordkeeper to minimize any “clean up” afterwards; however, there is always follow up to do. Read more >
Equity Compensation Increasingly Used for Financial Wellness and Retirement
Company stock plan participants surveyed by Fidelity Investments reported they have used or will use proceeds for things such as reinvesting in retirement accounts or paying bills and debt. Read more >
Public Pension Plan Sponsors Struggle to Contribute Sufficiently to Plans
Employer contributions to public pensions fell below certain benchmarks for improving plan funded status, and the Society of Actuaries suggests a couple of reasons this may be so. Read more >
MOST READ ARTICLES
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2019 Plan Sponsors of the Year
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401(k) Nondiscrimination Tests Explained
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Newport Group Picks Up Recordkeeping Business of PNC Bank
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Why Plan Sponsors Should Consider Adding an ‘In-Retirement’ Tier in 2019
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AAA Subsidiary Announces Student Loan Repayment Benefit for Its Employees
Products, Deals and People
Investment Product and Service Launches
FTSE Russell creates index series for asset allocation strategies; Legg Mason reveals short-duration ETF; and Schwab announces additions to ETF OneSource. Read more >
Economic Events

The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for November, adjusted for seasonal and trading day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,462.5 billion, down 0.3% from October 2018, but up 4.2 from November 2017, the Census Bureau reported.

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $505.8billion, a decrease of 1.2% from the previous month, but 2.3% above December2017.Total sales for the 12 months of 2018 were up 5.0% from 2017.Total sales for the October 2018 through December 2018 period were up 3.7% from the same period a year ago. Retail trade sales were down 1.3% from November 2018, but 2.1% above last year. Clothing and clothing accessories stores were up 4.7% from December 2017, while food services and drinking places were up 4.0% from last year.

The Producer Price Index for final demand edged down 0.1% in January, as prices for final demand goods decreased 0.8%, and the index for final demand services increased 0.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices for final demand advanced 2.0% for the 12 months ended in January.

In the week ending February 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 239,000, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 235,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 231,750, an increase of 6,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 225,000. This is the highest level for this average since January 27, 2018 when it was 234,000.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.37%, down from 4.41% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.81%, down from 3.84%.

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow lost 103.88 points (0.41%) to finish at 25,439.39, the NASDAQ was up 6.58 points (0.09%) at 7,426.96, and the S&P 500 decreased 7.30 points (0.27%) to 2,745.73. The Russell 2000 increased 2.16 points (0.14%) to 1,545.11, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 55.20 points (0.19%) lower at 28,493.33.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 14/32, bringing its yield down to 2.655%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond climbed 21/32, decreasing its yield to 2.998%.

Investing
LDI Strategies and Preparing DB Plans for Recessions
Speakers on a PGIM Fixed Income webcast offered practical steps pension plan sponsors can take today and over time to protect funding levels; they suggested liability-driven investing is a smart way to “get off the funded-status rollercoaster.” Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1879, President Rutherford Hayes signed a bill that allowed female attorneys to argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1903, Morris and Rose Michtom, Russian immigrants, introduced the first teddy bear in America. In 1933, President-elect Franklin Roosevelt escaped an assassination attempt in Miami. Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak was killed in the attack. In 1946, Edith Houghton was signed as a baseball scout by the Philadelphia Phillies, becoming the first female scout in the major leagues. In 1953, the first American to win the women’s world figure skating championship was 17-year-old Tenley Albright. In 1961, the entire 18-member U.S. figure skating team was killed in a plane crash in Berg-Kampenhout, Belgium. The team was on its way to the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia. In 1998, after 20 years of trying, racing great Dale Earnhardt Sr. finally won his first Daytona 500, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) season opener.

 

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

This ineb.riated man is very polite—to himself. Read more >
I don’t even know what to say about this woman watering the lawn. Just shaking my head. Read more >
The negatives of exercising. Read more >

In Baysville, Ontario, Sybil Marie Hicks’ children wrote a very amusing obituary for her. “Mom was never boring,” Hicks’ daughter told Yahoo Lifestyle, explaining the obituary. “Mom lived large. She would do anything for anyone. It was rare for Mom not to have a smile on her face. Mom was always ready for a laugh.” Written in first person, among other things, the obituary says, “I finally have the smoking hot body I have always wanted… having been cremated.” A link to the full obituary may be found here.

In Phoenix, Arizona, a volunteer was sorting books for a charity book sale when she found $4,000 in a chamber cut inside “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” KPNX-TV reports that the former owner also left a letter and an address label inside the book. The man’s family was contacted and the money returned. The volunteer said she suspects the family went home and opened up every other book in the man’s house.

In Towson, Maryland, a woman in her 50s wearing a multicolored scarf approached students in two campus buildings at Towson University last week, showing them a picture on her cellphone and asking if they would date her son. After receiving multiple complaints from the mother’s picks, campus police issued an “incident advisory” that included a link to pictures of the woman so that she might be identified, according to the Baltimore Sun. University officials say the woman isn’t being sought for a criminal investigation, but they do want her activity to stop.

In Houston, Texas, a group of people looking for a place to hang out entered an abandoned house and found a big surprise. The Houston Chronicle reports animal rescue workers arrived to see a well-fed animal resting on a bed of hay inside a cage they said could be easily opened. Authorities say the animal weighs 350 pounds. Investigators have leads into who owned the tiger but say it may not be the person who owns the property. The tiger has been moved to an animal sanctuary.

 

Have a great weekend! NewsDash will be back in your inbox Tuesday.

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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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