Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
January 13th, 2016
Benefits & Administration
Retirement Plan Savings Rates Up, Loans Down
Participants are saving more in their retirement plans than they were two years ago, according to the Plan Sponsor Council of America’s (PSCA) 59th Annual Survey. Lower-paid employees are contributing an average of 5.8% of their salaries, up from 5.3% in 2013; this is higher than it was prior to the steep market crash in 2008.Read more >
The Aon Hewitt Pension Risk Tracker, which tracks daily funded status for S&P 500 companies with defined benefit pension plans, found that the funded status deficit of U.S. pension plans increased by $9 billion during 2015. The aggregate funded ratio decreased from 81.3% to 80.0% for the year. Aon Hewitt estimates this change was driven by a liability reduction of $92 billion, which was outpaced by asset declines of $101 billion for the year. The firm also reveals data for Q415 and December.Read more >
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Spouse an Important Influence on Retirement Planning
Half of investors surveyed by John Hancock credit their spouse as the person who has the most positive influence over their retirement planning decisions, followed by 40% who say their financial adviser has been the most instrumental. Not all retirement decisions are strictly financial.Read more >
Ask the Experts
Is the Form 5500 Extension Deadline Extended?
“I heard that there was an additional month added to the extended deadline for Form 5500 filings, so that calendar year returns are now due November 15th instead of October 15th for calendar year plans that request an extension. Is this true?”Read more >
Sponsored message from MetLife
Money Market Fund Reforms: Practical Implications for Qualified Retirement Plans
Insight into the practical implications of the rules for DB and DC qualified plan sponsors and their plans.Read more >
Market Mirror

A late wave of buying left the stock market higher, led by gains in technology and health care, according to the Associated Press. The Dow climbed 117.65 points (0.72%) to 16,516.22, the NASDAQ closed 47.93 points (1.03%) higher at 4,685.92, and the S&P 500 increased 15.97 points (0.83%) to 1,939.64. The Russell 2000 was up 2.80 points (0.27%) at 1,044.69, and the Wilshire 5000 gained 127.75 points (0.65%) to finish at 19,836.45.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares changed hands, and on the NASDAQ, 2.7 billion shares traded, with a slight lead for decliners on both exchanges.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 20/32, bringing its yield down to 2.109%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond climbed 1 21/32, decreasing its yield to 2.886%.
Investing
Investment Considerations for Health Care Organizations
“As health care organizations begin 2016, we believe their investment priorities will include assessing and consolidating retirement plans and taking an enterprise level view of their investment strategy and risk management,” says Michael Ancell, National Segment Leader for Mercer Investments. Mercer outlines the top investment considerations for not-for-profit healthcare organizations for 2016.Read more >
Time to Bring ESG into Your Plan?
Retirement plan providers are responding to developments in the environmental, social and governance investing space. The latest research from the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP), a nonprofit group “advocating to protect retirement savings and other long-term investments from the risks posed by climate change,” suggests there is no correlation between an investor’s decision to actively overweigh low-carbon investments and the likelihood of experiencing lower returns. In fact, AODP researchers argue that climate-based investing strategies have become “essential to protecting returns when considering the long term.”Read more >
Small Talk
Recruiting job candidates via social media is growing, with 84% of organizations using it currently, and 9% planning to use it, a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) finds. Forty-three percent of responding organizations said they use social media or online search engines to screen job applicants, and more than one-third have disqualified a job candidate in the past year because of what they found. Another survey from OfficeTeam reveals top social media mistakes by job candidates.Read more >
ON THIS DATE: In 1128, Pope Honorius II granted a papal sanction to the military order known as the Knights Templar. He declared it to be an army of God. In 1794, U.S. President George Washington approved a measure adding two stars and two stripes to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the union. In 1854, Anthony Faas of Philadelphia was granted the first U.S. patent for the accordion. He made improvements to the keyboard and enhanced the sound. In 1942, Henry Ford patented the plastic automobile referred to as the “Soybean Car.” The car was 30% lighter than the average car. In 1966, Robert C. Weaver became the first black Cabinet member when he was appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by U.S. President Lyndon Johnson. In 1997, Debbie Reynolds received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1999, Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls) announced his retirement from the NBA. In 2002, the exhibit “In the Spirit of Martin: The Living Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” opened at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. More than 100 artists supplied the collection of 120 works of art.
SURVEY SAYS RESPONSES: We asked NewsDash readers whether their participants have access to plan data or transaction capabilities on mobile devices and what kind of usage they are seeing? Half of responding providers said they offer both plan information and certain transactions. Slightly more than 21% offer plan information only. Fifty-six percent of responding plan sponsors said their providers offer both plan information and certain transactions, and 20% said their providers offer plan information only. The survey results indicated there is a lack of tracking for participant usage of mobile capabilities, or at least, if the providers are tracking it, they may not be sharing that information with plan sponsors. Asked if participants are using mobile devices for plan information or transactions, 40% of responding readers don’t know. Asked if there is one age demographic using mobile devices for plan information or transactions more than others, two-thirds of responding readers said they don’t know.  Many of the comments left by respondents also indicated plan sponsors are not getting statistics about mobile technology usage. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who pointed out mobile apps are “another resource to take away the ‘I don’t have time’ excuse.” A big thank you to all who participated in the survey!Read more >
WEDNESDAY WISDOM: “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”—Dwight D. Eisenhower
Share the good news with a friend! Pass the Dash along – and tell your friends/associates they can sign up for their own copy.Read more >

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

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