Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
July 22nd, 2016
Benefits & Administration
Employers ‘Doing All They Can’ to Rein in Benefits Costs
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of small and mid-sized employers believe they are doing all they can to rein in rising health benefits costs, a survey by Hub International Limited (HUB) finds. However, many are missing opportunities to leverage proven cost management strategies, according to HUB.Read more >
Retirement Readiness an Increasing Concern of Employers
Retirement plan sponsors are increasingly becoming aware of the need for their participants to be adequately prepared to retire in a timely manner, a Willis Towers Watson survey found. Among employers that offer both a defined contribution (DC) and a defined benefit (DB) plan, 39% view their employees’ retirement readiness as a current business risk, and 44% project that it will be a risk within two years.Read more >
MOST READ ARTICLES
Research
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
Benefits
Defined Benefit vs. Defined Contribution: Understanding the Costs of Each
Investing
Considering the Arguments for and Against Actively Managed Funds in DC Plans
Products, Deals and People
Penbridge Advisors released a white paper titled “’Check Please!’: The Importance of Administration in the Selection of an Annuity Provider,” which provides a comprehensive framework covering the key administrative considerations that fiduciaries should review when selecting an insurer to provide annuities to participants of a DB pension plan.Read more >
Mercer has announced a significant enhancement to its MercerInsight platform, centered around the development and launch of a new Trends module providing key information about investment manager searches and product fees.Read more >
Economic Events

In the week ending July 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 253,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 254,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 257,750, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 259,000.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.45%, up from 3.42% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 2.75%, up from 2.72%.

Boosted by a greater share of sales to first-time buyers not seen in nearly four years, existing-home sales maintained their upward trajectory in June and increased for the fourth consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors. Only the Northeast saw a decline in closings in June, and sales to investors fell to their lowest overall share since July 2009. Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, climbed 1.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million in June from a downwardly revised 5.51 million in May. After last month’s gain, sales are now up 3.0% from June 2015 (5.41 million) and remain at their highest annual pace since February 2007 (5.79 million).
Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow lost 77.80 points (0.42%) to finish at 18,517.23, the NASDAQ closed 16.03 points (0.31%) lower at 5,073.90, and the S&P 500 decreased 7.85 points (0.36%) to 2,165.17. The Russell 2000 was down 5.89 points (0.49%) at 1,203.85, and the Wilshire 5000 fell 91.21 points (0.41%) to 22,424.88.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares changed hands, with 1.4 declining issues for every advancing issue. On the NASDAQ, 2.7 billion shares traded, with a 1.6 to 1 ratio of decliners to advancers.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 9/32, bringing its yield down to 1.554%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was up 7/32, decreasing its yield to 2.290%.
Compliance
Consultant Off the Hook for Providing Wrong Benefit Estimate
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court’s dismissal of claims a pension plan’s consultant violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) when she conveyed an incorrect monthly benefit amount to a participant planning to retire.Read more >
QDIA Designation Questioned in Latest Self-Dealing Lawsuit
In a newly filed complaint, employees suggest they have not been fairly treated by officials running the New York Life Agents Progress-Sharing Plan and the New York Life Insurance Company Employee Progress-Sharing Plan. Rather than running the plans for the exclusive financial benefit of participants, plaintiffs accuse the firm of improperly favoring and thereby profiting from the plans’ use of the MainStay S&P 500 Index Fund, designated as the two plans’ qualified default investment alternative (QDIA). The MainStay line of mutual funds is owned and operated by defendant New York Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries.Read more >
From the Magazine
Insights: Thanks, John Oliver
The Sunday before the PLANSPONSOR National Conference (PSNC) started, one of my favorite television programs had a segment about employer-sponsored retirement plans, says Alison Cooke Mintzer, editor-in-chief of PLANSPONSOR. The show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (whom I’ve liked since he was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), airs Sunday evenings on HBO. The segment created quite a stir, and, there were plenty of responses within our industry focusing on what he got wrong. However, I think it’s more important to look at what Oliver got right.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1587, a second English colony was established on Roanoke Island off North Carolina. The colony vanished under mysterious circumstances. In 1937, the U.S. Senate rejected President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s proposal to add more justices to the Supreme Court. In 1943, American forces led by General George S. Patton captured Palermo, Sicily. In 1941, plans for the Pentagon were presented to the House Subcommittee on Appropriations. In 2000, astronomers at the University of Arizona announced they had found a 17th moon orbiting Jupiter. In 2009, the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, lasting up to six minutes and 38.8 seconds, occurred over parts of Asia and the Pacific Ocean.

 

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!
A paddleboarder claims when she plays her flute, whales come to her—and they do.Read more >
Woman freaks out over frog on car hood.Read more >

In Lewiston, Maine, a man with an electronic benefits transfer card called the number on his card to get his EBT balance. However, when he dialed he number, he heard a voice that said, “Welcome to America’s hottest talk line.” A Maine Department of Health and Human Services spokesman told the Sun Journal that officials have been aware for months that the phone number on some cards is off by one digit. The department plans to replace the misprinted cards and strengthen its review process to prevent future errors.

In Washington, D.C., a restaurant owner is offering some consolation for those who receive speed camera tickets. According to the Daily Caller, the owner of the restaurant Caribbean Citations in southeast D.C. offers diners with a speed camera ticket a price discount on each menu item. They also get a raffle ticket to enter a chance to have the restaurant owner pay for their entire parking ticket.

In Baltimore, Maryland, police officers were standing on a southeast Baltimore corner when a Toyota RAV-4 hit a cruiser steps away. Police say the driver told police that he was looking down playing “Pokemon Go” on his cellphone when he hit the cruiser. According to the Associated Press, the driver stepped out of his car and showed the officer his phone, saying “That’s what I get for playing this dumb … game.”

In East Greenwich Township, New Jersey, in another example of “Pokemon Go” going wrong, a woman climbed a tree inside a cemetery while playing the game. She found herself stuck there and had to call fire and rescue to get her down.

Happy weekend, everyone!
Share the good news with a friend! Pass the NewsDash along—and tell your friends/associates they can sign up for their own copy.Read more >

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

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