Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
February 3rd, 2015
Benefits & Administration
New Mortality Tables Lower Pension Buyout Cost
During December 2014, the average cost of purchasing annuities from an insurer to cover pension liabilities decreased from 109.0% to 105.3% of the accounting liability, according to the Mercer U.S. Pension Buyout Index. The Buyout Index reflects that many plan sponsors are using a new mortality assumption to measure the balance sheet value of their pension obligations, in response to the Society of Actuaries’ publication of the RP-2014 mortality table and MP-2014 mortality improvement scale last October. This update increased balance sheet liabilities and decreased both the cost of buying an annuity as a percentage of the projected benefit obligation (PBO) and the economic cost of maintaining the plan as a percentage of the PBO.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
Mercer Releases Social Security and Medicare Guides
Mercer has released its “2015 Guide to Social Security” and “2015 Medicare” booklets. The guides provide simple explanations of both national programs, discuss recent changes, and evaluate cost and benefit amounts for 2015. The publications include real-life examples and can be used to complement retirement planning advice, Mercer says.Read more >
Sponsored message from Financial Engines
PLANSPONSOR interviews Christopher Jones, Chief Investment Officer at Financial EnginesRead more >
Economic Events
The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced that construction spending during December 2014 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $982.1 billion, 0.4% above the revised November estimate of $978.6 billion. The December figure is 2.2% above the December 2013 estimate of $961.2 billion.

2023 DC Survey Standouts
Understanding Investments and Fees: A Key Part of Plan Committee Education
TIAA In-Plan Retirement Income Option Reaches $30B
Market Mirror

Yesterday, the Dow closed 196.09 points (1.14%) higher at 17,361.04, the NASDAQ increased 41.45 points (0.89%) to 4,676.69, and the S&P 500 climbed 25.86 points (1.30%) to 2,020.85. The Russell 2000 was up 10.12 points (0.87%) at 1,175.52, and the Wilshire 5000 gained 250.03 points (1.19%) to finish at 21,310.47.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with 2.7 advancing issues for every declining issue. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares changed hands, with a 1.7 to 1 ratio of advancers to decliners.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 9/32, increasing its yield to 1.673%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 27/32, bringing its yield up to 2.262%.

Internal Controls Can Help Prevent Plan Fraud
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said its Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) Fraud project revealed a significant percentage of plans experienced fraud losses due to weak Internal controls and risky investments. The agency suggested a list of helpful internal controls for retirement plan sponsors.Read more >
Comcast a Victim of Retirement Plan Fraud
Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia say Laura Wayne, previously employed as an administrator of employee retirement accounts at Comcast Corporation, committed wire fraud and other crimes against the cable and internet company, resulting in the theft of approximately $124,876. According to U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger, Wayne created dummy retirement accounts that appeared to be 401(k) accounts managed by Fidelity Company for the benefit of Comcast employees.Read more >
Reference Lists for Plan Qualification Requirements
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers fillable reference lists of changes in qualification requirements for retirement plans. Reference lists are tools to help plan sponsors ensure that their plan document incorporates all relevant mandatory and optional changes in plan qualification requirements. The agency recommends including them when applying for a retirement plan determination letter.Read more >
Institutional Investors Increasingly Seek SRI
Socially responsible investing (SRI) mandates are gaining popularity among institutional investors, according to Cerulli Associates research. More than 50% of institutional asset managers have recently received client requests for SRI or environmental, social, governance (ESG) mandates.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. It authorized the power to impose and collect income tax. In 1924, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, died in Washington, D.C., at the age of 67. In 1959, rising American rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashed in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff from Mason City on a flight headed for Moorehead, Minnesota. In 2002, the New England Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams, 20-17, to take home their first Super Bowl victory. In 2005, Alberto Gonzales won Senate confirmation as the nation’s first Hispanic attorney general. In 2009, Eric Holder was sworn in as Attorney General of the United States—the first African-American to hold the post.


TUESDAY TRIVIA: Gelatin, used in making Jell-O, is made by curing, acid, and alkali processes to extract the dried collagen hydrolysate from pork skins; pork, horse and cattle bones; or split cattle hides.

TRIVIAL PURSUITS: From where does the phrase ‘giving someone the third degree’ originate?Read more >
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Copyright © Asset International, Inc., 2015.

All rights reserved.  No reproduction without prior authorization.

Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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