Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
February 2nd, 2015
Benefits & Administration
Panel Suggests Military Retirement Benefit Changes
The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission issued a report of recommendations for changing retirement and health benefits for military personnel. The panel says the Uniformed Services retirement system should be modified to provide retirement benefits to many more service members and maintain the value of retirement benefits for current members. It notes that 83% of personnel will not be eligible to receive the pension for which 20 years of service is required. It recommends that Uniformed Services implement a blended retirement system that offers both defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) elements.Read more >
Fidelity finds the year-end average 401(k) balance was $91,300 for plans in its recordkeeping network—a record high for 401(k) accounts. The average 401(k) balance is up 3% from the end of the third quarter and 2% year-over-year.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
SVIA Launches Stable Value Education Series
A video series from the Stable Value Investment Association (SVIA) is designed to educate investors and financial professionals about stable value funds. This month, the nonprofit organization began posting informational videos each week featuring its members from major financial institutions discussing a range of topics. The first focuses on defining stable value funds; other topics include the benefits of stable value funds, their performance history, and comparisons to other conservative investment options.Read more >
Economic Events
THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Today, the Census Bureau will report about construction spending for December. Tomorrow, it will report about factory orders for December. Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report. Friday, we’ll learn the unemployment rate for January from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
EBSA Head Lisa Gomez Says DOL Continues Honing Retirement Security Rule
Data and Research
Early Withdrawals Found to Exacerbate 401(k) Account Disparities Across Race, Gender
Final Fiduciary Rule Expected Soon
Market Mirror

Friday, the Dow lost 251.90 points (1.45%) to finish at 17,164.95, the NASDAQ was down 48.17 points (1.03%) at 4,635.24, and the S&P 500 closed 26.26 points (1.30%) lower at 1,994.99. The Russell 2000 fell 24.79 points (2.08%) to 1,165.39, and the Wilshire 5000 decreased 269.15 points (1.26%) to 21,060.44.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with declining issues outnumbering advancing issues more than 2 to 1. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares changed hands, with a 3 to 1 lead for decliners.

The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note was 1.644%, and the yield of the 30-year Treasury bond was 2.226%.

WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending January 30, the Dow fell 2.87%, the NASDAQ finished 2.58% lower, and the S&P 500 lost 2.77%. The Russell 2000 was down 1.98%, and the Wilshire 5000 decreased 2.44%.

Annual DB Funding Notice Final Regs Issued
The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is set to publish in the Federal Register a final rule to increase pension plan transparency by ensuring that workers receive annual notification of the funded status of their defined benefit pension plans. The final regulation is “substantially similar to the proposed regulation,” EBSA says, but some changes were made to simplify the disclosure and reduce cost burdens on plans, including the adoption of narrow exemptions and alternative methods of compliance. The final regulation also reflects changes made to section 101(f) by the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014.Read more >
Clarification Needed for Workplace Wellness Programs
Wellness programs are good for employers and employees, but a current conflict between regulations needs to be cleared up, witnesses giving testimony to a U.S. Senate committee contended. Noting that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has already filed several lawsuits, Eric S. Dreiband, a partner at Jones Day in Washington, D.C., told members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee: “Employers that design and implement wellness plans that comply with the ACA may be unpleasantly surprised to find that the EEOC asserts that such plans may violate the ADA.”Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1848, the Mexican War was ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty turned over portions of land to the U.S., including Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, California and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. The U.S. gave Mexico $15,000,000 and assumed responsibility of all claims against Mexico by American citizens. Texas had already entered the U.S. on December 29, 1845. In 1876, the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, which came to be more commonly known as the National League (NL), was formed. In 1887, Groundhog Day was celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. In 1892, William Painter patented the bottle cap. In 1950, “What’s My Line” debuted on CBS television. In 1996, the dancer, actor and choreographer Gene Kelly died at the age of 83, at his home in Beverly Hills, California. In 2014, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died at age 46 in New York City.
SURVEY SAYS: Best ‘Best Picture’ Nominee
Last week I asked NewsDash readers, “Which nominees for ‘Best Picture’ have you seen, and which do you think should win?” More than one-third (35.6%) of responding readers have not seen any of the movies nominated for Best Picture this year. However, one-third (34.2%) have seen “The Grand Budapest Hotel, and 28.8% have seen “American Sniper.” Asked which Best Picture nominee should win the Academy Award, “American Sniper” was the number one pick, with 48.4% of votes. I also asked NewsDash readers to share a movie they think should have been nominated for the “Best Picture” Academy Award. The respondents who left general comments were not very excited about the Academy Awards or its process. Several commenters said they rarely see movies. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “If Michael Moore complains, then it must be my kind of film!” Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey!Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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