Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
January 16th, 2018
Webcast Event
Join us January 23, as retirement industry experts discuss 2018 retirement plan trends and regulatory updates. Read more >
Compliance
Court Orders Plan Fiduciaries to Restore Losses for Misusing Plan Assets
The Department of Labor found fiduciaries failed to remit salary deferrals and loan repayments and withdrew assets from the plan trust to use for non-plan purposes. Read more >
PBGC Adjusts Penalties for Failure to Provide Information
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is required to amend its regulations annually to adjust for inflation the maximum civil penalty for failure to provide certain notices or other material information and for failure to provide certain multiemployer plan notices. As such, the agency has issued a final rule adjusting the maximum civil penalties that PBGC may assess under sections 4071 and 4302 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Read more >
Appellate Court Hands Win to Hewlett-Packard in Stock Drop Case
Another employer win in a stock drop suit indicates it is tough for retirement plan participants to meet the pleading standards set forth in Fifth Third v. Dudenhoeffer. Read more >
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AT&T Sued Over Calculation of Early Retirement Benefits
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New Lawsuit Highlights Importance of Cybersecurity for Retirement Plans
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IRS Releases 2019-2020 Priority Guidance Plan
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DC Plans 3.0 Will Really be Tailored to Individual Situations
Products, Deals and People
Retirement Industry People Moves
Colony Enacts Mergers with Bridgewater Wealth and BWA; Multnomah Group Hires Former Investment Consultant; American Century Hires ETF Initiative Specialists; and more. Read more >
Economic Events

The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for November 2017, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,420.1 billion, up 1.2% from October 2017 and up 7.9% from November 2016, the Census Bureau reported.

 

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December 2017, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $495.4 billion, an increase of 0.4% from the previous month and 5.4% above December 2016. Total sales for the 12 months of 2017 were up 4.2% from 2016. Retail trade sales were up 0.3% from November 2017, and were up 5.6% from last year. Nonstore Retailers were up 12.7% from December 2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 9.9% from last year.

 

In December, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted (SA); rising 2.1% over the last 12 months, not seasonally adjusted (NSA), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3% in December, SA; up 1.8% over the year, NSA.

 

Real average hourly earnings increased 0.2% in December, SA. Average hourly earnings increased 0.3%, and the CPI-U increased 0.1%. Real average weekly earnings increased 0.2% over the month.

 

THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report, and the Census Bureau will report about housing starts for December.

Market Mirror

Friday, the Dow climbed 228.46 points (0.89%) to finish at 25,803.19, the NASDAQ gained 49.29 points (0.68%) to finish at 7,261.06, and the S&P 500 closed 18.68 points (0.67%) higher at 2,786.24. The Russell 2000 was up 5.18 points (0.33%) at 1,591.97, and the Wilshire 5000 increased 168.57 points (0.59%) to 28,917.67.

 

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 3/32, increasing its yield to 2.549%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was up 9/32, decreasing its yield to 2.855%.

 

WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending January 12, the Dow gained 2.01%, the NASDAQ closed 1.74% higher, and the S&P 500 was up 1.57%. The Russell 2000 climbed 2.05%, and the Wilshire 5000 increased 1.68%.

Benefits & Administration
Executive Predicts More Financial Wellness Benefits in the Workplace
Although the stock market continues to rise and the U.S. economy is healthy, most employees who are stressed about personal finances report that their stress levels have increased over the past year, according to Purchasing Power. The firm suggests financial wellness benefits in the workplace should take more priority and become more comprehensive in 2018. Purchasing Power’s Chief Operating Officer Elizabeth Halkos offers predictions for workplace financial benefits in 2018. Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1900, the U.S. Senate consented to the Anglo-German treaty of 1899, by which the U.K. renounced rights to the Samoan islands. In 1919, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited the sale or transportation of alcoholic beverages, was ratified. In 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower took command of the Allied invasion force in London. In 1961, Mickey Mantle signed a contract that made him the highest paid baseball player in the American League at $75,000 for the 1961 season. In 1991, the White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm. The operation was designed to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. In 1998, the first woman to enroll at Virginia Military Institute withdrew from the school. In 2002, the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted sanctions against Osama bin Laden, his terror network and the remnants of the Taliban. The sanctions required that all nations impose arms embargoes and freeze their finances.

SURVEY SAYS RESPONSES: Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Do you own a pet, and what would you sacrifice to pay for an emergency pet expense?” Eighty-one percent of responding readers own a pet, and 19% do not. Asked which steps they would take to pay for an emergency pet expense (readers could select more than one choice), 17.5% said they would borrow from a retirement account, and 22.8% said they would suspend contributions to a retirement account. The most popular selection, by 73.7% of responding readers was “reduce or give up discretionary spending (e.g. dining out, movies, etc.).” In verbatim comments left by some respondents, there was a good mix of those who would sacrifice more financially for their pets in an emergency and those that would not. Some indicated they have pet insurance, and others reported they have an emergency fund to cover such things. One reader went further into credit card debt to pay for emergency pet expenses. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “Our pet is a very important part of our life (family). That being said we have been there and done that before. We usually have extra money stashed should that happen. I will say I am sure my wife would sacrifice me to save the dog…LOL.” I found another comment very funny, but didn’t want to offend the husbands. Thanks to all who participated in the survey! Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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