Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
February 27th, 2015
Webcast Event
The construction of a solid retirement plan lineup starts with the mix of fixed-income options you choose. Attend our live, interactive webcast to find out about an evaluation process designed to help you target the funds that best meet the needs and expectations of your participants. Discover our three best-practice pillars.Read more >
Benefits & Administration
Participants Overlooking Appropriate Investments
Findings from a survey by TIAA-CREF suggest retirement plan participants may be overlooking important options that could benefit them. Nearly four in 10 participants (39%) surveyed for the TIAA-CREF 2015 Investment Options Survey say they are not familiar with their retirement plan investment options—an increase from 33% in 2014. Yet, the vast majority of respondents (85%) say they feel comfortable with the investment choices they have made.Read more >
Sponsored message from AICPA
How Confident Are You in Your ERISA Compliance Procedures?
The AICPA Employee Benefit Plans Conference features CPAs who specialize and government representatives who correct plan failures. Get updates on class action cases and procedures to suit your needs.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
Health and retirement law firm Groom Law Group hired Lisa Campbell, recently with the Department of Health and Human Services, and Rachel Leiser Levy, recently with the Department of Treasury, as principals within its health and welfare practice.Read more >
Vanguard Adds to Low-Fee TDF Offering
A new fund series from Vanguard features an estimated expense ratio of 10 basis points and will be offered to institutional investors that meet a $100 million initial investment requirement. The funds are known as Vanguard’s Institutional Target Retirement Funds and are expected to launch by the end of the second quarter.Read more >
MOST READ ARTICLES
Research
2021 DC Plan Benchmarking Survey
Research
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
Data and Research
2022 Retirement Industry Trends to Follow
Economic Events

In the week ending February 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 313,000, an increase of 31,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 294,500, an increase of 11,500 from the previous week’s revised average.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) declined 0.7% in January after falling 0.3% in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2% in January after increasing 0.1% in December.

Real average hourly earnings rose by 1.2% in January, seasonally adjusted. Average hourly earnings increased by 0.5% and the CPI-U decreased by 0.7%. Real average weekly earnings increased by 1.2% over the month.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in January increased $6.5 billion or 2.8% to $236.1 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced. This increase, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, followed a 3.7% December decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.3%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 3.0%. Transportation equipment, also up following two consecutive monthly decreases, led the increase, $6.0 billion or 9.1% to $72.1 billion.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.80%, up from 3.76% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.07%, up from 3.05%.

Market Mirror

Major U.S. stock indices ended mixed Thursday as oil prices fell again. The Dow closed slipped 10.15 points (0.06%) to 18,214.42, the NASDAQ gained 20.75 points (0.42%) to finish at 4,987.89, and the S&P 500 was down 3.12 points (0.15%) at 2,110.74. The Russell 2000 closed 4.01 points (0.32%) higher at 1,239.11, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 36.33 points (0.16%) lower at 22,278.23.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with a slight lead for decliners. On the NASDAQ, 2.7 billion shares changed hands, with 1.2 advancing issues for every declining issue.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note decreased 17/32, bringing its yield up to 2.028%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 1 5/32, increasing its yield to 2.628%.

Compliance
GAO Finds Lump Sum Information Deficient
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says it reviewed 11 packets of informational materials provided by defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors offering lump sums to as many as 248,000 participants and found that all lacked at least some key information needed to make an informed decision or were otherwise unclear. The GAO recommends that the Department of Labor require DB plan sponsors to notify the agency when they offer lump-sum payment windows.Read more >
The Department of Labor will offer its “Getting It Right – Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities” training series in March.Read more >
Definition of Participant Governs NQ Plan Payment
A federal appellate court found three retirees of Bausch & Lomb were not “participants” as defined in its nonqualified plan for executives and, therefore, not subject to the change-in-control provisions of the plan. The retirees sued Bausch & Lomb because their recurring payments from the plan were stopped and they were paid a lump-sum of their remaining account value, which they contended reduced their overall benefits.Read more >
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky has issued a consent judgment against George Hofmeister, trustee of several pension plans. Hofmeister has been ordered to repay $300,000 to the plans sponsored by TPOP LLC, formerly known as Metavation LLC; Fairfield Castings LLC, formerly known as Revstone Castings Fairfield LLC; and Fourslides Inc. More than $12 million has been recovered after investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor resulted in court orders and injunctions against Hofmeister and other fiduciaries.Read more >
From the Magazine
Plan Sponsor Role in Retirement Readiness Calculations
Increasing interest in the retirement plan industry is ensuring plan participants understand how their savings translates into retirement income. However, plan sponsors are often unclear about how much involvement they need to have in these discussions. Lisa H. Barton, partner in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice at Morgan Lewis, answers reader questions relating to this topic.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1827, a group of masked and costumed students danced through the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana, marking the beginning of the city’s famous Mardi Gras celebrations. In 1922, in Washington, D.C., the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing for female suffrage, was unanimously declared constitutional by the eight members of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, limiting U.S. Presidents to two terms. In 1980, the first and final Grammy for Best Disco Recording was awarded to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” In 1997, Don Cornelius received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

We all need a dog like this in winter weather.Read more >
YouTube’s 10th anniversary viral video mashup.Read more >

In Milville, New Jersey, a 33-year-old school bus aide complained that someone stole $400 from her. Authorities reviewed surveillance footage from the bus on which she worked, and saw her rummaging through students’ backpacks. She was seen stealing money and food from the three- to five-year-olds she was supervising. The aide has been fired.

In Atlanta, Georgia, researchers at Georgia Tech released results of a study that reveals the perfect eyelash length. According to the researchers, the ideal eyelash length is one-third the width of the eye—, anything shorter or longer than this increases the odds of getting dust and debris in the eye. In addition to analyzing animal hides from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the researchers constructed a model eye and put it inside a wind tunnel to better understand the reasoning for the dimensions. “Eyelashes form a barrier to control airflow and the rate of evaporation on the surface of the cornea,” said lead study author Guillermo Amador, a researcher in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech. “When eyelashes are shorter than the one-third ratio, they have only a slight effect on the flow. Their effect is more pronounced as they lengthen up until one-third. After that, they start funneling air and dust particles into the eye.”

In Seoul, South Korea, it’s scary enough when a car is swallowed by a sinkhole, but this couple was walking on the sidewalk.Read more >

In Augusta, Georgia, a family found out a man buried during a closed-casket funeral in December was not actually their loved one. The Augusta Chronicle quoted Burke County Coroner Susan Salemi as saying the lab didn’t return the man’s body after an autopsy. The body of another man was mistakenly returned and buried by relatives who thought they were laying their loved one to rest. Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials said it will retrieve the wrong body from the grave and pay for a new burial.

In Ottowa, Ontario, Canada, last week, legislator Pat Martin hurriedly ran out of the House of Commons during a vote. As members of Parliament began to rise one by one to vote, he bolted from the room, but was able to return in time to cast his vote. He later blamed his departure on an unwise purchase at a local store. “They had men’s underwear on for half price and I bought a bunch that was clearly too small for me. I find it difficult to sit for any length of time,” he told the chamber to guffaws and applause from fellow legislators, according to Reuters.

In Bogata, Columbia, a 36-year-old woman previously known as Ladyzunga Cyborg (not her original name) has won a court battle to have her name changed. According to UPI, the woman says her government ID card now officially lists her first name as ABCDEFG HIJKLMN and her last name as OPQRST UVWXYZ. She said it took her a year of arguing with the Colombian National Registry to officially get her new name, which she chose for being unusual and hard to pronounce.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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