Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
January 26th, 2015
Plan Sponsor of the Year Finalists
Plan Sponsor of the Year Finalists: 401(k) <$50M
Each year, the editors of PLANSPONSOR magazine—the industry’s leading resource for retirement-benefits related news—recognize plan sponsors that demonstrate leadership in providing a more secure retirement for workers. We are pleased to announce the 2015 finalists for our annual Plan Sponsor of the Year award in the Corporate 401(k) < $50 Million category.Read more >
Benefits & Administration
Timken Transfers Some DB Liability to Prudential
The Timken Company announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase a group annuity from The Prudential Insurance Company of America to pay future pension benefits for approximately 5,000 of its U.S. retirees. Prudential will begin paying benefits to certain retirees and surviving beneficiaries in April, starting with those who are currently receiving benefit payments from Timken’s U.S. retirement plan.Read more >
A group of current and former West Virginia public school employees has filed a lawsuit against a provider to the state’s defined contribution (DC) retirement plan. The lawsuit claims VALIC, a part of AIG, allegedly misled thousands of participants to invest heavily or entirely in its low-interest-rate annuities in the early 1990s, the Charleston Gazette reports. VALIC’s attorneys argue the company guaranteed only a 4.5% annual return, but some employees allege they were led to believe they would receive returns of 8% or higher.Read more >
Giving Millennials a Push to Save
A study from LearnVest, a financial wellness program provider, suggests a look into the future could convince younger employees to save more now. “When we look at those under 25, it may be that we’re looking at a case of false confidence—with few current responsibilities and without a clear notion of what’s on the horizon,” the company notes in the study report.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
Annette Guarisco Fildes has been appointed CEO of the ERISA Industry Committee, succeeding interim CEO Scott Macey.Read more >
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TRIVIAL PURSUITS: What do the M’s stand for in M&Ms?
Economic Events

Despite low inventory conditions, existing-home sales bounced back in December and climbed above an annual pace of 5 million sales for the sixth time in seven months, according to the National Association of Realtors. Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 2.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in December from a downwardly-revised 4.92 million in November. From a year ago, December sales were higher by 3.5% and are now above year-over-year levels for the third straight month.

THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Tomorrow, the Census Bureau will report about durable goods orders for December, and the Conference Board will release its Consumer Confidence Index for January. Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report.

Market Mirror

Major U.S. stock indices ended lower Friday, as U.S. companies turned in mixed results for the fourth quarter. The Dow fell 141.38 points (0.79%) to 17,672.60, the NASDAQ ticked up 7.48 points (0.16%) to 4,757.88, and the S&P 500 lost 11.32 points (0.55%) to finish at 2,051.83. The Russell 2000 decreased by 1.44 (0.12%) to 1,188.93, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 97.02 points (0.45%) lower at 21,588.01.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with a slight lead for decliners. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares changed hands, with 1.2 declining issues for every advancing issue.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 19/32, decreasing its yield to 1.800%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased 1 17/32, bringing its yield down to 2.374%.

WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending January 23, the Dow was up 0.92%, the NASDAQ climbed 2.66%, and the S&P 500 closed 1.58% higher. The Russell 2000 increased 1.04%, and the Wilshire 5000 gained 1.62%.

From the Magazine
Plan Design Ideas for 2015
Plan sponsors are “choice architects” in that they must structure their plan so that it determines what elections participants can make, says adviser Joseph DeNoyior, managing partner at Washington Financial Group in McLean, Virginia. “The plan sponsor is helping the participants make the right decisions. And framing the choice is probably the most impactful thing a plan sponsor can do.” In the past few years, most plan changes have been centered around automated plan solutions, such as automatically enrolling new employees and providing for automated deferral increases. But, there are other plan design changes to consider.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1837, Michigan became the 26th state to join the United States. In 1838, the first Prohibition law in the history of the United States was passed in Tennessee, making it a misdemeanor to sell alcoholic beverages in taverns and stores. The bill stated that all persons convicted of retailing “spirituous liq.uors” would be fined at the “discretion of the court” and that the fines would be used in support of public schools. In 1875, George F. Green patented the electric dental drill for sawing, filing, dressing and polishing teeth. In 1934, the Apollo Theatre opened in New York City. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Janet Travell as his personal physician, making her the first woman in history to hold the post. In 1979, “The Dukes of Hazzard” comedy television series debuted on CBS. In 2005, President George W. Bush appointed Condoleezza Rice to the post of Secretary of State, making her the highest ranking African-American woman ever to serve in a presidential cabinet.
SURVEY SAYS: Participant Access to Mobile Apps
Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Does your company, through its retirement plan provider, offer plan participants access to mobile applications?” Forty-five percent of respondents reported their firms do not offer plan participants access to plan-related mobile applications. However, 15% offer mobile apps for enrollment, and 55% offer apps that allow participants to view their account information. One-quarter offer mobile apps that allow participants to make retirement plan transactions such as deferral rate changes, investment changes, distribution requests, etc. One-third (33.3%) of respondents do not know how many participants use the mobile apps to which they have access, while the majority (58.3%) said less than 10% of participants use them. Among those whose company does not offer access to mobile applications, two-thirds (66.7%) chose “other” reasons, including that their retirement plan provider does not offer mobile apps or they don’t know if the provider does. In verbatim responses, some respondents indicated they will be looking into offering access to mobile apps, and one commenter lamented about how technology has evolved. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “Pulled the cover off the bulky lump stashed on a cart in the corner of my office and showed my ‘still wet behind the ears’ new employee my once state-of-the-art IBM-Selectric II typewriter. She said, ‘Oh wow, I’ve never seen a real one. How do you run it?’ For all I’ve learned and done in the many years I’ve been in this business, seems I’ve still a long way to go. Makes me wonder, though, if her path will be as pioneering and what relic of her journey will find its corner shrine. Hmm, maybe it’s time to pull the plug.” A big thank you to all who responded to the survey!Read more >
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Copyright © Asset International, Inc., 2015.

All rights reserved.  No reproduction without prior authorization.

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

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