Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
February 18th, 2016
Benefits & Administration
Pension Plans Focused on Improvement
Pension funds’ mission to deliver optimal outcomes over the long term continues to be tested by historically low interest rates, booming retiree populations and increased life expectancies, as well as unprecedented market volatility, State Street Corporation notes in a new research report. The report, “Pensions with Purpose: Meeting the Retirement Challenge,” reveals pension plan sponsors are taking action in governance, efficiency, long-term investing, risk management and talent development to ensure successful outcomes for retirement plan participants over the next three years.Read more >
HSAs Are Growing Savings Vehicles
The number of health savings account (HSA) accounts rose to 16.7 million, holding nearly $30.2 billion in assets, a year-over-year increase of 25% for HSA assets and 22% for the number of accounts for the period of December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2015, according to data from Devenir.Read more >
2022 Recordkeeping Survey
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
Defined Benefit Plans May Have New Life
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Which are the most northern, southern, eastern and western U.S. States?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
Products, Deals and People
Ameritas Launches New Retirement Plan Platform
The retirement plans division of Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. announced the launch of Ameritas GPS, a “fully transparent mutual-fund based retirement platform.”Read more >
Economic Events

The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.1% in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Final demand prices decreased 0.2% in December and rose 0.4% in November. In January, prices for final demand services advanced 0.5% and the index for final demand goods declined 0.7%.

Privately-owned housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,099,000, the Census Bureau reported. This is 3.8% below the revised December estimate of 1,143,000, but is 1.8% above the January 2015 rate of 1,080,000. Single-family housing starts in January were at a rate of 731,000; this is 3.9% below the revised December figure of 761,000. The January rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 354,000.
Market Mirror

Major U.S. stock indices were buoyed Wednesday by a sharp increase in the price of oil and strong factory output, according to the Associated Press. The Dow closed 257.42 points (1.59%) higher at 16,453.83, the NASDAQ gained 98.11 points (2.21%) to finish at 4,534.06, and the S&P 500 increased 31.15 points (1.64%) to 1,926.73. The Russell 2000 was up 15.33 points (1.54%) at 1,011.13, and the Wilshire 5000 climbed 317.08 points (1.64%) to 19,630.00.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares traded, with a nearly 5 to 1 lead for advancers. On the NASDAQ, 2.7 billion shares changed hands, with advancing issues outnumbering declining issues more than 2 to 1.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 9/32, increasing its yield to 1.808%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond decreased 22/32, bringing its yield up to 2.676%.
President Again Proposes Cap on Retirement Savings
There is a familiar proposal in President Obama’s Fiscal 2017 Budget that seems to crop up every year—aimed at placing a cap on amounts that can be accumulated in tax-deferred retirement savings plans. According to an Internal Revenue Service document explaining the proposals in the budget, Obama believes the current limitations on retirement contributions and benefits for each plan in which a taxpayer may participate do not adequately limit the extent to which a taxpayer can accumulate amounts in a tax-favored arrangement through the use of multiple plans. “Such accumulations can be considerably in excess of amounts needed to fund reasonable levels of consumption in retirement and are well beyond the level of accumulation that justifies tax-advantaged treatment of retirement savings accounts,” the document says.Read more >
From the Magazine
Insights: Don’t Operate in Fear
It seems that lately it’s been, another day, another lawsuit against retirement plan sponsors. A quick scan of the compliance section on shows the quantity of these cases and brings a number of new attorney names into the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) litigation world. Sadly, the pace is unlikely to slow either. Earlier this month, during our PLANSPONSOR of the Year finalist process, someone who had nominated a plan sponsor client for our award sent an email concerned that, although this plan sponsor had reduced costs across its plan, both in administration and investment fees by approximately 30%—one of the main reasons for the nomination—perhaps putting such information out in the press or public domain wasn’t a good idea.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1564, the artist Michelanglelo died in Rome. In 1861, in Montgomery, Alabama, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the President of the Confederate States. In 1885, Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was published in the U.S. for the first time. In 1930, the planet Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh. In 1972, the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s death penalty. In 2001, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Sr., was killed in a crash during the Daytona 500 race.
SURVEY SAYS: Most of us spend more time with our co-workers than with family or friends. We can’t all get along all the time, so this week, I’d like to know, what co-worker actions annoy you? You may respond to this week’s survey by 6 p.m. Pacific time today.Read more >
Share the good news with a friend! Pass the NewsDash along – and tell your friends/associates they can sign up for their own copy.Read more >

Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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