Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
February 24th, 2015
Webcast Event
Join us for a webcast that will highlight our 2014 MullinTBG/PLANSPONSOR Executive Benefits Survey results, with a focus on identifying barriers to participant engagement—including the surprising and not so obvious—and how we can leverage new communication and education tools that take a more intuitive and simplified approach to positively influence behavior that can lead to more successful outcomes for participants and plan sponsors alike.Read more >
Benefits & Administration
Special Planning Needed for Health Costs in Retirement
Individuals should consider the expense and usage of non-recurring health care services when planning for retirement. The cost for the more predictable health care expenses—doctor and dentist visits and use of prescription drugs—remains stable throughout retirement, according to an analysis from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). However, the usage and expense of non-recurring health care services, such as overnight hospital stays or outpatient surgeries, increases with age.Read more >
In the past year, there was an increase in the portion of respondents to the annual America Saves Week survey who said they were making good or excellent savings progress—from 35% in 2014 to 40% in 2015. More than half of respondents said they were “saving enough for a retirement” with “a desirable standard of living” (55%). Fifty-two percent save at least 10% of their income, and among the non-retired, 49% save at work. The survey showed that those with a “savings plan with specific goals” save more successfully than those without a plan.Read more >
Automation Trends Going Strong in DC Plans
Advice in defined contribution (DC) plans is mostly delivered through automated plan design features, according to a new Cerulli Associates report finding that plan sponsors have increasingly embraced auto-features as a means to improve plan performance and engage younger investors. Once thought of as a radical approach to supporting positive retirement plan participant decisionmaking, auto-features include automatic enrollment and deferral escalation, Cerulli notes, as well as things such as automated portfolio rebalancing.Read more >
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
Ask the Experts
Are Roth Excess Deferrals Taxed Twice?
Kimberly-Clark Divides Pension Obligations Between Insurers
Kimberly-Clark has entered into purchase agreements with The Prudential Insurance Company of America and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company for group annuity contracts that will transfer payment responsibility for retirement pension benefits owed to approximately 21,000 Kimberly-Clark retirees in the U.S. An independent fiduciary decided a transaction split between the two insurers was the safest available annuity structure to provide retiree benefits.Read more >
Sponsored message from SEI
Is your plan lineup designed to help participants succeed?
SEI’s DC Trends Research Series investigates the actions plan sponsors are taking in terms of simplifying the menus of their defined contribution plans.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
Thomas E. Clark, Jr., an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) specialist and employee benefits lawyer, has joined the Wagner Law Group. “Clark is a well-seasoned litigator complementing the strong ERISA and employment litigation department, which will be expanding in 2015,” says Marsha Wagner, managing director of the Wagner Law Group.Read more >
Alliance Benefit Group-Illinois is now providing Dave Ramsey’s SmartDollar financial counseling program to 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) retirement plan participants. Ramsey, a well-known personal finance guru, says his SmartDollar program helps teach defined contribution (DC) retirement plan participants sound financial principles, like saving, spending wisely and eliminating debt, so they can avoid financial difficulties and become retirement ready.Read more >
Economic Events
Existing-home sales declined in January to their lowest rate in nine months, but the pace was higher than a year ago for the fourth straight month, according to the National Association of Realtors. All major regions experienced declines in January, with the Northeast and West seeing the largest drops. Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million in January (the lowest since last April’s 4.75 million) from an upwardly-revised 5.07 million in December. Despite January’s decline, sales are higher by 3.2% than a year ago.
Market Mirror

The slump in crude oil prices and disappointing U.S. home sales data helped nudge stocks mostly lower on Monday, according to the Associated Press. The Dow was down 23.60 points (0.13%) at 18,116.84, the NASDAQ was up 5.01 points (0.10%) at 4,960.97, and the S&P 500 decreased by 0.64 of a point (0.03%) to 2,109.66. The Russell 2000 was virtually unchanged at 1,231.83, and the Wilshire 5000 slipped 18.55 points (0.08%) to 22,260.00.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with a slight lead for decliners. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares changed hands, with 1.3 declining issues for every advancing issue.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 17/32, decreasing its yield to 2.055%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased 1 6/32, bringing its yield down to 2.658%.

Pushback and Applause for Fiduciary Rule Remarks
Brian Hamburger, president and chief executive of MarketCounsel, a business and regulatory compliance consulting firm, says he is thrilled the concept of fiduciary responsibility is getting attention. “However,” he says, “the comments show the White House is as confused about this issue as we fear Americans are confused.” It’s disturbing to Hamburger that the White House continues to look at “financial adviser” as if all advisers are alike. The issue has less to do with advisers bilking clients out of retirement savings, he thinks. It is more broadly about conflicts of interest and how broker/dealers operate.Read more >
Obama Weighs In on Fiduciary Rule
The Obama administration published an outline of remarks the president would deliver to the AARP, in which he argues financial advisers are subject to serious conflicts of interest. The administration says these conflicts of interest are costing middle class families and individuals billions of dollars every year.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1803, the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Marshall, decided the landmark case of Marbury v. James Madison, Secretary of State of the United States and confirmed the legal principle of judicial review—the ability of the Supreme Court to limit Congressional power by declaring legislation unconstitutional. In 1868, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 11 articles of impeachment against President Andrew Johnson, nine of which cited Johnson’s removal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, a violation of the Tenure of Office Act. The House vote made President Johnson the first president in U.S. history to be impeached. In 1982, Wayne Gretzky scored his 77th goal, breaking a record held by Phil Esposito of 76 goals in a single season. In 1991, after six weeks of intensive bombing against Iraq and its armed forces, U.S.-led coalition forces launched a ground invasion of Kuwait and Iraq.


TUESDAY TRIVIA: The original M&M colors were red, yellow, brown, green and violet.

TRIVIAL PURSUITS: What does each “M” stand for in M&Ms?Read more >
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All rights reserved.  No reproduction without prior authorization.

Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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