Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
January 5th, 2018
Benefits & Administration
Public Pension Fund Members Largely Unaware of Underfunding
Public pension fund members surveyed expressed interest in more transparency about pension fund investments and investment returns.Read more >
DB Plan Q&A
Plan Sponsor Pilot Mediation Project
This past October, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced it was beginning a pilot program that will offer mediation to plan sponsors to facilitate resolution of negotiations in two key PBGC program areas. The PBGC will offer mediation to ongoing plan sponsors as part of its early warning and risk management programs, and to former plan sponsors as part of resolving their pension liabilities following termination of their underfunded pension plan. The PBGC selected these two areas because it believed they would provide the greatest benefit from mediation. Marcia Wagner, founder of The Wagner Law Group, answers questions about the PBGC’s Plan Sponsor Pilot Mediation Project.Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Investment Products and Services Launches
State Street Global Advisors reveals latest SPDR ETFs, and Charles Schwab announces addition of 12 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to OneSource.Read more >
EARN Act Clears Senate Finance Committee
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
Plaintiffs Rebuffed by Appeals Court in Active Management Lawsuit
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
Economic Events

In the week ending December 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 250,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 247,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 241,750, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 238,250.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.95%, down from 3.99% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.38%, down from 3.44%.

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow climbed 152.45 points (0.61%) to 25,075.13, the NASDAQ was up 12.38 points (0.18%) at 7,077.92, and the S&P 500 gained 10.93 points (0.40%) to finish at 2,723.99. The Russell 2000 increased 3.15 points (0.20%) to 1,555.72, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 92.12 points (0.33%) higher at 28,273.22.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 1/32, increasing its yield to 2.452%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was up 2/32, decreasing its yield to 2.785%.

DOL Makes Proposal to Expand Access to Small Business Health Plans
Modifying the definition of employer for these plans will help employers reduce health benefit administrative costs through economies of scale, the Department of Labor (DOL) says.Read more >
PLANSPONSOR Research Year In Review
Proper retirement plan decisionmaking begins when sponsors and fiduciaries have the right information. For this reason, nearly all issues of PLANSPONSOR include a proprietary research report or a buyer’s guide to give plan sponsors up-to-date information about plan features, providers, products and services. The research includes data from providers, but also from thousands of plan sponsors and hundreds of participants—all offering insight to our readers for how they might better their plan offerings and plan design. Here are excerpts.Read more >
The Old Equity Bull Market Charges Into 2018
Continuing an annual tradition, Bob Doll, senior portfolio manager and chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management, revealed his 10 macroeconomic predictions for the year ahead. Right off the bat, Doll highlighted that seven in 10 of his predictions last year turned out to be at least mostly true, putting his wholly unscientific historical average at 7.2 correct out of 10. He also noted that the predictions are given strictly from the perspective of a “top-down large cap portfolio manager.”Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1781, Richmond, Virginia, was burned by a British naval expedition led by Benedict Arnold. In 1885, the Long Island Railroad Company became the first to offer piggy-back rail service which was the transportation of farm wagons on trains. In 1896, it was reported by The Austrian newspaper that Wilhelm Roentgen had discovered the type of radiation that became known as X-rays. In 1914, Ford Motor Company announced that there would be a new daily minimum wage of $5 and an eight-hour workday. In 1925, Mrs. Nellie Taylor Ross was sworn in as the governor of Wyoming. She was the first female governor in the U.S. In 1933, in California, construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began. In 1934, both the National and American baseball leagues decided to use a uniform-size baseball. It was the first time in 33 years that both leagues used the same size ball. In 1948, Warner Brothers-Pathe showed the very first color newsreel. The footage was of the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl football classic. In 1961, “Mr. Ed” debuted. The show would run for six years. In 1970, “All My Children” premiered on ABC. In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon ordered the development of the space shuttle. In 1998, U.S. Representative, singer and actor Sonny Bono died in skiing accident.


And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

The Google Year in Search 2017.Read more >
Wonder from whom this two-year-old learned her fussing skills?Read more >
Poor little fella was just trying to be helpful, feeding the dog.Read more >

In Stuart, Florida, a man on his lunch break was “dying to eat some clams.” The man told TCPalm he was disappointed that the restaurant wanted to charge him $12 for a plate of tiny clams that had “nothing in the shell.” When restaurant staff refused to give the man a refund, he allegedly called 911 hoping an officer would help resolve the issue. The officer told him to call the non-emergency number. A short time later, Agosto called back griping that nobody was answering the non-emergency line and that he still needed an officer to arrive on the scene. An officer did show up at the restaurant, but just to serve the man with a notice to appear in court for one count of misuse of the 911 system.


In Alberta, Canada, a divorcing couple have finally resolved their custody battle—over Edmonton Oilers hockey season tickets. The wife filed for joint custody of the tickets and won. “The parties shall alternate choices for game tickets with the defendant choosing first the game for which he wants tickets, the plaintiff choosing second for her game, and the parties alternating choices thereafter until all regular season tickets have been assigned,” a court justice ruled, according to CTV News.


In Montreal, Canada, a man was driving and singing along to the song “Gonna Make You Sweat,” a 1990 dance hit by C+C Music Factory that includes the command, “Everybody dance now!” He was pulled over by police, and officers asked him if he screamed loudly, the Canadian Broadcasting Company reported. The man explained he was just singing along to his favorite song. After police checked the man’s license and registration, they came back with a traffic ticket fining him $149 Canadian dollars (or $117) for screaming in his car. The man plans to contest the ticket as soon as a court date is scheduled, which could take up to a year.


In Manhattan, New York City, a mistake changed a woman’s life. She asked a store clerk for a $1 New York Lottery scratch-off ticket, but instead he handed her a $10 Set For Life ticket. The woman decided to just go ahead and buy it, and later told the lottery she used it for a bookmark for a couple of weeks before scratching it. But, when she did, she discovered she was the winner of $5 million to be distributed over 20 years, plus annual net sums of $172,068 after that for the rest of her life.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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