Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
February 3rd, 2017
Benefits & Administration
Behind the Process of Implementing a State-Run Plan for Private-Sector
A number of states have approved initiatives for state-run plans for private sector employees. Once approved, what is the process to get these plans to implementation, and how long does it take? Read more >
401(k) Balances, Contributions Reach Record Highs in 2016
Balances and contributions in 401(k) plans, as well as individual retirement accounts (IRAs), reached record levels in 2016, Fidelity Investments reports. 401(k) balances averaged $92,500 at the end of the fourth quarter, rising by an average of $4,300 from the year prior. The total amount that people contributed to their 401(k) plans in 2016, including company matches, averaged $10,200, another record, Fidelity says.  Read more >
MOST READ ARTICLES
1
House Committee Advances Bill to Establish Union Pension Lifeline Program
2
The Senate Math That Could Block SECURE Act
3
Adidas Sued Over Excessive Fees for 401(k) Participants
4
Open MEPs Not for Every Plan Sponsor
5
(b)lines Ask the Experts – Proper Delivery Method for SPDs
Products, Deals and People
John Hancock Retirement Plan Services (JHRPS) has selected Austin, Texas, based digital software provider Liveoak Technologies to provide a solution for the more efficient onboarding of corporate customers. According to the firms, the Liveoak digital platform will allow John Hancock retirement plan consultants to work remotely with customers to gather plan transition data and complete paperwork.  Read more >
Mercer’s 2017 Guide to Social Security and 2017 Medicare booklet are now available. The booklets deliver simple explanations of these programs, recent changes, and cost and benefit amounts for 2017.  Read more >
Investment Products and Services Launches
Pantheon targets DC plans for private equity strategies; John Hancock overhauls TDF suite; Vanguard lowers expense ratios on 21 fund shares; and more.  Read more >
Economic Events

In the week ending January 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 246,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 260,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 248,000, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 245,750.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.19%, unchanged from one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage is 3.41%, up from 3.40%. 

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow was down 6.03 points (0.03%) at 19,884.91, the NASDAQ decreased by 6.45 points (0.11%) to 5,636.20, and the S&P 500 increased by 1.30 (0.06%) to 2,280.85. The Russell 2000 closed 3.79 points (0.28%) lower at 1,357.43, and the Wilshire 5000 increased by 1.65 (0.01%) to 23,851.08.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares traded, with a slight lead for advancing issues. On the NASDAQ, 3.0 billion shares changed hands, with a slight lead for decliners.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 1/32, increasing its yield to 2.476%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond decreased 6/32, bringing its yield up to 3.086%. 

Compliance
The Department of Labor’s (DOL)’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) announced its Getting It Right – Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities seminar will be held in Phoenix, Arizona.   Read more >
Reintroducing a piece of legislation that would take Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) premiums “off budget,” meaning they would not be counted as an income stream going towards the federal government’s general revenue, Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) says the move is necessary to protect the stability of the federally mandated insurance system for defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors. That’s the goal of the Pension and Budget Integrity Act of 2017, also referred to as Senate Bill 270. Senator Enzi says such a change is necessary because the current approach leaves a problematic incentive in place for lawmakers to look at increasing PBGC premiums—a fairly obscure part of the revenue code, it must be said—to effectively “pay for” cuts in other areas of the tax code that get more attention from the general public.  Read more >
From the Magazine
The Burden of Health Care
Health care was a major issue during President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign. In a speech about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), on November 1, Trump said, “I will ask Congress to convene a special session so we can repeal and replace.” However, the magic question, according to Garrett Fenton, member at Miller & Chevalier in Washington, D.C., is how likely is it that Trump will be able to get the law repealed? How will Trump’s presidency affect employer-sponsored health benefits?  Read more >
Investing
Retirement Industry Prepares for Trump Policies
Just over a week since being sworn into office, President Donald Trump is already making headlines for signing a flurry of executive actions. But it remains less than clear how his approach to handling the economy and financial regulations will affect Americans’ nest eggs. According to a new survey from Edward Jones, more than half (57%) of Americans believe the Trump administration would impact their retirement savings income strategies. Nearly half (48%) believe the administration’s decisions will spike market volatility throughout the first quarter of this year.  Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1690, the first paper money in America was issued by the Massachusetts colony. The currency was used to pay soldiers that were fighting in the war against Quebec. In 1783, Spain recognized the independence of the United States. In 1809, the territory of Illinois was created. In 1815, the world’s first commercial cheese factory was established in Switzerland. In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. It authorized the power to impose and collect income tax. In 1927, the Federal Radio Commission was created when U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill. In 1947, Percival Prattis became the first black news correspondent admitted to the House and Senate press gallery in Washington, D.C. He worked for “Our World” in New York City. In 1984, Challenger 4 was launched as the tenth space shuttle mission. In 2009, Eric Holder was sworn in as U.S. Attorney General. He was the first African-American to hold the post.

 

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES

This video proves I’m not the only one who has gotten a wine opener injury.  Read more >
This 5-year-old demonstrates a new way to tie shoes.  Read more >

In Charleston, West Virginia, a man was gambling at a casino when he got up from a blackjack table and put down a $25 chip to hold his spot. He then went to a nearby bank and gave a note to the teller saying he had a bo.mb and a weapon, according to the Charleston Gazette-Journal. He left the bank with $5,000 and returned to the casino to gamble. An anonymous tip led police to his residence where he was arrested.

In Jackson, Mississippi, a state lawmaker introduced a bill that would make it “unlawful for any person to wear pants, shorts or clothing bottoms that exposes underwear or body parts in an indecent or vulgar manner,” according to Mississippi Today. The penalty for a first offense of the noncriminal citation is a warning, and―for juveniles―notifying their parents or guardians. After that, fines begin at $20 for a second offense and run up to $100 for a sixth offense. That sixth offense would also include “psychological and social counseling by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Mental Health.” Let’s all call our local legislators to introduce a bill like this.

In Newburyport, Massachusetts, a man facing a court for a speeding ticket appealed, asking the officer if he was sure he captured the man’s speed or the speed of a deer that could have been in the vicinity. The Newburyport Daily News says when the man was confronted by the judge for his excuse, the man replied that anything was possible. His fine was upheld.

 

Have a wonderful weekend!  

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

Advertising: Paul Zampitella paul.zampitella@strategic-i.com

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