Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
January 17th, 2018
Benefits & Administration
Pressing Financial Needs Derail Successful Savers
Survey data shows a sizable group of retirement plan participants have lowered their contributions in the last year to address debt, unexpected bills, health care costs and other challenges. Read more >
Ascensus Finds Increase in 401(k) Employer Contributions
An analysis by Ascensus, based on its daily valued book of business, finds a dramatic increase in the number of retirement plan sponsors who have chosen to fund an employer contribution for their 401(k) plans. According to the data, 53% of plan sponsors funded an employer contribution in 2013. This increased to 55% in 2014, 69% in 2015 and 81% in 2016. The Ascensus data is in line with data gathered from Strategic Insight, parent company to PLANSPONSOR. Department of Labor information shows employer contributions have increased steadily from $108.1 billion in 2010 to $139.2 billion in 2016. Market returns, adoption of safe harbor plans and more education to participants can be attributed to this increase. Read more >
City and County Retirement Systems Struggling With Funding
Wilshire Consulting estimates the ratio of pension assets-to-liabilities, or funding ratio, for the city and county pension plans it studied was 67% in fiscal 2016, down from 70% in fiscal 2015. An Issue Brief from the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College suggests that since 2001, the aggregate funded status of local pension plans has lagged behind that of state plans, but the gap has been closing recently. “Despite this progress, many local plans still face significant funding challenges,” the CRR concludes. Read more >
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Products, Deals and People
SPARK Rolls Out Updated RFP Guide
The SPARK Institute, a non-profit organization lobbying for the interests of the retirement services industry and its clients, released a new version of its “RFP Guide for Selecting Defined Contribution Service Providers.” The new edition aims to support the needs of employers providing defined contribution plans by enabling service providers to prepare consistent request for proposals (RFP) responses, resulting in reduced response times and more accurate evaluations. Read more >
Market Mirror

Yesterday, the Dow was down 10.33 points (0.04%) at 25,792.86, the NASDAQ lost 37.00 points (0.51%) to finish at 7,224.00, and the S&P 500 decreased 9.82 points (0.35%) to 2,776.42. The Russell 2000 fell 19.00 points (1.19%) to 1,572.97, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 135.35 points (0.47%) lower at 28,782.32.

 

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 3/32, decreasing its yield to 2.540%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased 13/32, bringing its yield down to 2.829%.

Compliance
Vanderbilt University 403(b) Plan Suit Continues to Next Stage
A federal district court has moved forward a lawsuit alleging that Vanderbilt University retirement plan fiduciaries have not managed its plan with loyalty or prudence, in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), dismissing some claims, but moving forward others. The judge first dismissed all claims for breach of duty of loyalty, saying that even though the plaintiffs allege that various third parties benefited from the defendants’ alleged mismanagement, the complaint alleges that the defendants followed an imprudent process, not that they acted disloyally. Other claims were dismissed, but the judge found many to be better decided in the following stages of the litigation process. Read more >
Small Talk
Two-thirds of HR managers (66%) reported their organization has expanded their health and wellness offerings in the past five years, according to a survey from OfficeTeam. HR managers cited some of the most innovative things they’ve heard of a company doing to support employee health and wellness. But workers revealed what they think are workplace saboteurs of their wellness goals. Read more >

ON THIS DATE: In 1773, Captain Cook’s Resolution became the first ship to cross the Antarctic Circle. In 1871, Andrew S. Hallidie received a patent for a cable car system. In 1900, Mormon Brigham Roberts was denied a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for his practicing of polygamy. In 1912, English explorer Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole. Norwegian Roald Amundsen had beaten him there by one month. Scott and his party died during the return trip. In 1913, all partner interests in 36 Golden Rule Stores were consolidated and incorporated in Utah into one company. The new corporation was the J.C. Penney Company. In 1916, the Professional Golfers Association was formed in New York City. In 1946, the United Nations Security Council held its first meeting. In 1985, Leonard Nimoy got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1991, coalition airstrikes began against Iraq after negotiations failed to get Iraq to retreat from the country of Kuwait. In 2000, British pharmaceutical companies Glaxo Wellcome PLC and SmithKline Beecham PLC agreed to a merger that created the world’s largest drugmaker.

 

 

WEDNESDAY WISDOM: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

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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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