Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
February 2nd, 2018
2018 Plan Sponsor of the Year Finalists
PLANSPONSOR is pleased this week to announce finalists for the 2018 Plan Sponsor of the Year. This year we will be awarding finalists in nine categories. Today we announce finalists in two nonprofit defined contribution (DC) plan categories and the Total Retirement Offering category. (Please note that in order to view the finalists, you must be a registered user of—it’s free and takes just a minute to complete.)Read more >
Benefits & Administration
Campaign Launches for America’s Financial Security
The campaign is aimed at educating policymakers and the American public about making saving easier for Americans of all ages, helping retirees transform their savings into a lifetime of income and saving the Social Security system.Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Investment Products and Services Launches
BCG adds 401(k) managed account from Stadion to recordkeeping platform; Mercer partners with Investment Metrics for client reporting; BCM TDF series to offer protection within uncertainty; and more.Read more >
Long or Short: DB Plans Grapple With Bond Questions
With interest rate uncertainty, when should defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors move to long-duration bonds, and can short-duration bonds be the answer right now?Read more >
2022 Recordkeeping Survey
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Which are the most northern, southern, eastern and western U.S. States?
Defined Benefit Plans May Have New Life
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
Economic Events

Construction spending during December 2017 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,253.3 billion, 0.7% above the revised November estimate of $1,245.1 billion, the Census Bureau announced. The December figure is 2.6% above the December 2016 estimate of $1,221.6 billion. The value of construction in 2017 was $1,230.6 billion, 3.8% above the $1,185.7 billion spent in 2016.


In the week ending January 27, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 230,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 231,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 234,500, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 239,500.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.22%, up from 4.15% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.68%, up from 3.62%.

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow increased by 37.32 points (0.14%) to finish at 26,186.71, the NASDAQ closed 25.62 points (0.35%) lower at 7,385.86, and the S&P 500 decreased by 1.83 points (0.06%) to 2,821.98. The Russell 2000 was up 4.87 points (0.31%) at 1,579.85, and the Wilshire 5000 was down 9.02 points (0.03%) at 29,228.47.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note decreased 21/32, bringing its yield up to 2.783%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 1 16/32, increasing its yield to 3.014%.

DOL Reports Robust ERISA Enforcement in 2017
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) restored more than $1.1 billion to retirement plans, health plans and other welfare benefit plans in 2017.Read more >
Oracle Excessive Fee Suit Gets Class Certification
However, a federal judge certified subclasses on the imprudent investment claims because class representatives were not all invested in the 401(k) funds challenged.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1653, New Amsterdam, now known as New York City, was incorporated. 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 Base Ball Clubs (known as the National League) was formed in New York. The teams included were the Chicago White Stockings, Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Stockings, Hartford Dark Blues, Mutual of New York, St. Louis Brown Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Louisville Grays. In 1887, Groundhog Day began in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. In 1892, William Painter patented the bottle cap. In 1935 – Leonard Keeler conducted the first test of the polygraph machine, in Portage, Wisconsin. In 1950, “What’s My Line” debuted on CBS television. In 1967, the American Basketball Association was formed by representatives of the NBA.


And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

This man gets back at a spitting dolphin.Read more >
Who knew pigs were such deep sleepers?Read more >
When cycling in Australia, you must watch for kangaroos.Read more >
In Bryan, Texas, a family loved its chicken so much, it thought it deserved its own obituary in the local newspaperRead more >

In Doonan, Queensland, Australia, residents of a home heard their toilet randomly flushing for days. Upon further inspection, they discovered a brown tree snake resting on top of the toilet’s electronic flush mechanism, inside the wall. A snake-catcher was called to solve the problem.


In New Orleans, Louisiana, Mardi Gras partygoers are known to wear and toss beads from the streets and balconies in the French Quarter, Bourbon Street and other areas where partiers jostle through crowds. New Orleans city officials said more than 46 tons—or 93,000 pounds—of Carnival beads were among 7.2 million pounds of trash pulled from clogged catch basins along a five-block stretch of a downtown parade route, the Times-Picayune newspaper reported. The removal was part of a four-month project in response to heavy flooding in the city in August, the newspaper reported.


In Saugatuck, Michigan, Michael Ryder had been approved for $360 every week in Michigan unemployment benefits. Ryder is a German Shepherd owned by attorney Michael Haddock. WZZM-TV reports that Haddock called the state’s unemployment agency about a letter he received addressed to Michael Ryder. The agency says its computer system sent the letter, but the claim later was flagged as suspicious and denied.


In Vicenza, Italy, police have arrested a postman after finding more than half a ton of undelivered mail stashed away in his garage. According to Reuters, police were called in when workers from a recycling plant were sent to empty the garage and found 43 yellow plastic postal containers stuffed full of letters, bills, bank statements and even electoral pamphlets dating back to 2010. The Vicenza postal service has promised to deliver the huge pile of post.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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