Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
July 28th, 2014
Benefit Briefs
How Employee Benefits Are Evolving
A report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) takes a look at how employee benefits have evolved in the past 30-plus years.
Buyer's Market
As demand for private health care exchanges grows, SelectQuote Benefit Solutions is offering its own exchange targeted at senior citizens. SelectQuote Senior addresses Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage for retirees. Partnerships with employers also allow for integrated enrollment in traditional health care plans for individuals who are younger than age 65.
ABG, Hueler Partner for Lifetime Income Products
Alliance Benefit Group (ABG) has launched a new partnership with Hueler Income Solutions to expand participant access to institutionally priced lifetime income products.
A new partnership between PlanSource and Transamerica Employee Benefits brings more advanced cloud-based benefits administration, exchange, payroll, and human resources information system (HRIS) solutions to employers. As part of the collaboration, Transamerica’s TransApp enrollment system will now offer complete integration with PlanSource technology, and employers will be able to utilize PlanSource tools to deliver insurance products from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates to employees.
Industry Voices
Industry Voice: Enhancing Senior Management Retirement Benefits
There are a number of savings and compensation plans companies can use to both attract and retain members of senior management; two in particular are cash balance and non-qualified deferred compensation plans. One option for providing enhanced benefits for selected participants only is to “layer” a cash balance plan on top of the 401(k) plan. When a company adds a cash balance component, it can provide additional tax deferrals to senior management.
Economic Events
New orders for manufactured durable goods in June increased $1.8 billion or 0.7% to $239.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced. This increase, up four of the last five months, followed a 1.0% May decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.8%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 0.7%. Machinery, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, led the increase, $0.9 billion or 2.4% to $37.3 billion. THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Tomorrow, The Conference Board will release its Consumer Confidence Index for July. Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report. Friday, we’ll see a report about nonfarm payrolls from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and learn the unemployment rate for June, and the Census Bureau will report about construction spending for June.
Market Mirror
Friday, the Dow closed 123.23 points (0.72%) lower at 16,960.57, the NASDAQ decreased 22.54 points (0.50%) to 4,449.56, and the S&P 500 was down 9.64 points (0.48%) at 1,978.34. The Russell 2000 fell 11.54 points (1.00%) to 1,144.72, and the Wilshire 5000 lost 113.89 points (0.54%) to finish at 20,907.17. On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with a nearly 2 to 1 lead for decliners. On the NASDAQ, 2.7 billion shares changed hands, with declining issues outnumbering advancing issues more than 2 to 1. The yields for the 10-year Treasury note and 30-year Treasury bond were 2.468% and 3.240%, respectively. WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending July 25, the Dow fell 0.82%, the NASDAQ was up 0.39%, and the S&P 500 eked out a 0.01% gain. The Russell 2000 lost 0.60%, and the Wilshire 5000 decreased 0.03%.
Rules & Regulators
Court Grants Summary Judgment in Church Plan Case
A federal district court in California has granted a motion for partial summary judgment against an employer in a widely followed “church plan” case. In finding for the plaintiffs in Rollins vs. Dignity Health on this particular motion, the court took a step towards granting plaintiff Starla Rollins’ ultimate appeal for declaratory and injunctive relief directing Dignity Health to bring its pension plan into compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)—including its reporting, vesting and funding requirements.
Two court cases filed this week by retirement plan participants claim their employers’ retirement benefits programs have been inappropriately exempted from Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) rules based on religious affiliations. The complaints in Owens v. St. Anthony Medical Center and Lann v. Trinity Health both draw similar arguments to other so-called “church plan” challenges moving through the federal courts.
The World at Large
The UK government finally delivered greater clarity on a promise first made by the chancellor at the March Budget. As well as giving people greater freedoms for how they take their retirement income, in the budget, George Osborne also made the promise of at retirement guidance.
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE:  In 1868, following its ratification by the necessary three-quarters of U.S. states, the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing to African Americans citizenship and all its privileges, was officially adopted into the U.S. Constitution. In 1914, one month to the day after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were killed by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, effectively beginning the First World War. In 1945, the U.S. Senate approved the charter establishing the United Nations. In 1951, the Walt Disney film “Alice in Wonderland” was released.
SURVEY SAYS REWIND: Life “Do Overs”
Five years ago, we asked NewsDash readers what they would change if they had a life “do over.”
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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