Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
January 20th, 2015
A Call to Plan Sponsors
Would you be willing to share your experiences with peers? We are looking for plan sponsors to participate in our PLANSPONSOR National Conference! Now in its tenth year, the PLANSPONSOR National Conference remains a unique collaboration of plan sponsors, retirement plan advisers and providers who are focused on understanding and applying the most innovative plan design solutions available. If you are a plan sponsor and would like to share your experiences during one of our panel discussions, please email Alison Cooke Mintzer at acooke@assetinternational.com.
Benefits & Administration
ACA Compliance Confidence Low for Large Employers
ADP’s new white paper, “Affordable Care Act and Employer Confidence: Navigating a Complex Compliance Challenge,” examines how large companies are approaching compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Among the nearly three-quarters of large employers (70%) that handle their compliance efforts internally, many do not feel fully prepared to manage several critical compliance requirements, including exchange notices (62% unprepared), ACA penalties (60%) and annual health care reporting such as IRS Forms 1094/1095-C (49%).Read more >
The Retirement Savings Task Force in Oregon has recommended to the Oregon legislature that a retirement security program be created to address the lack of plan access or lack of savings for private-sector workers in the state. The task force recommends that employees be automatically enrolled in the plan with the right to opt out. Employees should be notified of their right to enroll and provided financial education upon employment, the committee’s report said. No employer contributions would be required.Read more >
Sponsored message from Vanguard
Vanguard’s Economic & Investment Outlook
According to Vanguard’s newly released Economic and Investment Outlook, the U.S. economy will likely remain resilient with anticipated growth above trend in the new term,but it won’t be immune to the recessionary and deflationary risks.Read more >
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Economic Events

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) declined 0.4% in December after falling 0.3% in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in December after rising 0.1% in November.

Real average hourly earnings rose by 0.1% in December, seasonally adjusted. Average hourly earnings decreased by 0.2% and the CPI-U decreased by 0.4%. Real average weekly earnings increased by 0.2% over the month.

THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Tomorrow, the Census Bureau will report about housing starts for December. Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report. Friday, the National Association of Realtors will reveal existing home sales figures for December.

Market Mirror

U.S. stock indices ended the week on a positive note Friday, as the Dow was up 190.86 points (1.10%) at 17,511.57. The NASDAQ closed 63.56 points (1.39%) higher at 4,634.38, and the S&P 500 increased 27.25 points (1.37%) to 2,019.92. The Russell 2000 climbed 21.94 points (1.90%) to 1,176.64, and the Wilshire 5000 gained 291.34 points (1.39%) to finish at 21,244.68.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares changed hands, with a 4 to 1 lead for advancers. On the NASDAQ, 2.7 billion shares traded, with 2.8 advancing issues for every declining issue.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note fell 1 1/32, bringing its yield up to 1.828%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond dropped 1 25/32, increasing its yield to 2.449%.

WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending January 16, the Dow lost 1.27%, the NASDAQ fell 1.48%, and the S&P 500 finished 1.22% lower. The Russell 2000 slipped 0.76%, and the Wilshire 5000 decreased 1.17%.

Compliance
More DB Funding Relief Guidance Issued
A new Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) from the Department of Labor (DOL) provides guidance about compliance by plan administrators of single-employer defined benefit (DB) plans with the annual funding notice requirements of Section 101(f) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), as amended by Section 2003 of the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 (HATFA). HATFA extends relief provided in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21)—passed in 2012—which allowed defined benefit plans to discount future benefit payments to a present value using a 25-year average of bond rates rather than a two-year average.Read more >
Fed-Ex Faces DOMA-Related Pension Challenge
A complaint filed in a federal district court by Stacey Schuett claims FedEx has refused to pay a mandatory survivor benefit she should receive as the surviving spouse of a fully vested FedEx pension plan participant.  The complaint argues Schuett was legally married to Lesly Taboada-Hall at the time of Taboada-Hall’s death from cancer in June 2013. At the time of her death, according to the complaint, Taboada-Hall had been an employee of FedEx Corporation for more than 26 years and was fully vested in the FedEx Corporation Employees’ Pension Plan. As Taboada-Hall’s surviving spouse, Schuett says she is entitled to a survivor annuity beginning on the date that Ms. Taboada-Hall passed away.Read more >
From the Magazine
Saxon Angle: ERISA’s Liability Timelines
If you, as a plan fiduciary, add an investment option to a 401(k) plan, how long do you have to wait until you can sleep soundly knowing that you cannot be sued for that investment decision? The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is set to answer that question in Tibble v. Edison International.Read more >
Investing
Just 0.022% of total defined contribution (DC) plan assets traded in December 2014, with a slight majority of days (55%) favoring equities over fixed-income assets, Aon Hewitt data shows. When participants made trades, they were most likely to sell out of premixed funds, small U.S. equity funds and company stock. The asset classes with the most inflows for the month were large U.S. equity, international funds, and balanced funds.Read more >
PIMCO Faces Excessive Compensation Lawsuit
Investor Robert Kenny is suing Pacific Investment Management Company LLC (PIMCO) and PIMCO Investments LLC, alleging the company received excessive compensation that had no relationship to the services rendered. The lawsuit claims the excessive compensation the investment company received through the PIMCO Total Return Fund, Kenny and the other fund shareholders is so disproportionately large that it could not have been the product of arm’s-length negotiations. The lawsuit calls into question compensation paid to former co-chief investment officers (CIOs) and co-CEOs Mohamed El-Erian and William H. Gross.Read more >
Annual net intake into long-term funds was $402 billion in 2014, according to Strategic Insight, an Asset International company. Equities captured nearly $300 billion of net intake in 2014, down from the prior year’s inflows of $450 billion. Aggregate net flows to long-term stock and bond funds in December were flat, as $16.4 billion of net inflows to Equity products were offset by $16.7 billion of net redemptions from Bond funds. Net intake to Equity products totaled $16.4 billion in December, led by a $25.8 billion inflow to U.S. Equity.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1885, the roller coaster was patented by L.A. Thompson. In 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only president to be elected to three terms in office, was inaugurated to his fourth term. In 1961, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th president of the United States. In 1969, Richard Nixon was inaugurated as president of the United States. In 1981, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th president of the United States. In 1981, minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as the 40th president of the United States, the 52 U.S. captives held at the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran, were released, ending the 444-day Iran Hostage Crisis. In 1993, Audrey Hepburn died of colon cancer at age 63 near her home in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 1994, Shannon Faulkner became the first woman to attend classes at The Citadel in South Carolina.

 

Sorry, there’s no TUESDAY TRIVIA or TRIVIAL PURSUITS this week.

SURVEY SAYS: Super Bowl Contenders 2015
The AFC and NFC championship games this past weekend revealed who will compete in Super Bowl XLIX. Last week, I asked NewsDash readers which of the four teams they would most like to see compete in the Super Bowl. More than one-third of responding readers were pleased with the results of this week’s game as 16.8% selected the New England Patriots, 13.6% chose the Seattle Seahawks, nearly 1% said they wanted any team but the Indianapolis Colts to win, and 4% indicated they wanted any team but the Green Bay Packers to win. The games were a disappointment for the 11.2% of responding readers who wanted the Indianapolis Colts to win and the 30.4% that wanted the Green Bay Packers to win. Asked about plans to watch the Super Bowl, nearly 80% revealed they will be watching the game with friends and/or family. In verbatim comments, many readers noted they care more about the commercials than the actual game. However, others expressed disappointment in the extravagance that accompanies the game, such as the expensive commercials and half-time show. “Kind of reminds me of the Christmas hype…” one reader said. Others who commented look forward the most to the get-together for watching the game. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “Football — is that the one with the pointy ball?” Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey.Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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