Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
June 19th, 2015
Webcast Event
Financial wellness has evolved from a buzzword to a reality and will likely grow more important in the future. The findings of the “2015 Workplace Benefits Report” uncover many reasons to promote employee financial wellness. This study also provides new insights related to financial incentives, the use of total rewards portals, the rising cost of health care and employers’ attempts to engage a multi-generational work force. In this webcast, Kevin Crain and Kim Kasin will share the findings of the “2015 Workplace Benefits Report” and their implications for plan sponsors. In turn, sponsors who attend may learn to make more informed decisions about enhancing their benefits strategy and helping their employees live their best financial lives.Read more >
Benefits & Administration
Council Says Action on ACA Needed Now
Regardless of which way the U.S. Supreme Court decides about health care subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), lawmakers need to act now to improve the law, says American Benefits Council President James A. Klein. The council has issued a package of legislative recommendations to improve health care law.Read more >
The Oregon Senate has given final approval to a bill that would allow private-sector employees without an employer-sponsored retirement plan to join a state-sponsored plan. The Portland Tribune reports that while businesses would be required to make a state-sponsored savings plan available to workers by mid-2017, HB 2960 would not compel them to contribute to a plan, and workers could opt out of participating.Read more >
Re-enrollments a Poorly Leveraged Plan Booster
Plan sponsors cite a variety of reasons when asked why they have not conducted a re-enrollment, according to newly released J.P. Morgan research, but much of the hesitancy results from poor understanding of how to plan and enact the re-enrollment effort. More than one-quarter (28%) of the 750-plus respondents to J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s 2015 Defined Contribution Plan Sponsor Survey said they have considered a re-enrollment but did not pull the trigger—often based on a basic level of satisfaction with their plan’s overall asset allocation. The research finds this plan-level satisfaction with the way assets are being directed is probably higher than it should be, as 53% of sponsors in the same sample worry about their individual participants’ ability to make sound asset-allocation decisions.Read more >
Maximum Benefit and Contribution Limits Table 2023
2022 Recordkeeping Survey
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: What do the M’s stand for in M&Ms?
A Financial Wellness How-To
A shared interest in helping plan participants move the dial on retirement readiness as well as general financial behavior sparked State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) and Benz Communications to partner in an unusual venture: a day-long “hackathon” for plan sponsors to share concerns and insights on their employees’ financial behaviors. At the end of the December session, SSGA and Benz had, with the help of their Fortune 500 plan sponsors, six steps that organizations could use to bring financial wellness to their own employees.Read more >
Overall, 92% of recordkeepers in PLANSPONSOR’s 2015 Recordkeeping Survey have either a mobile-optimized website (35%) or a participant application (app) (57%). To date, mobile functionality has been limited; most mobile apps are able to display account balances (85%) or show account transactions (71%), while less than four in 10 support basic actions such as changing deferral rates (38%), and even fewer allow for updating of contact information (26%) or beneficiaries (15%).Read more >
Products, Deals & People
Robert Zeidman has been named outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) product specialist at PNC Institutional Asset Management Group.Read more >
Economic Events

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.4% in May after increasing 0.1% in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1% in May after rising 0.3% in April.

Real average hourly earnings decreased by 0.1% in May, seasonally adjusted. Average hourly earnings increased 0.3% and the CPI-U increased 0.4%. Real average weekly earnings decreased by 0.1%.

In the week ending June 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 267,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 279,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 276,750, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 278,750.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.00%, down from 4.04% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.23%, down from 3.25%.

Market Mirror

Yesterday, the Dow was up 180.10 points (1.00%) at 18,115.84, the NASDAQ climbed 68.07 points (1.34%) to 5,132.95, and the S&P 500 increased 20.11 points (0.96%) to 2,120.55. The Russell 2000 gained 16.30 points (1.28%) to finish at 1,284.63, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 214.51 points (0.96%) higher at 22,453.40.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares changed hands, with advancers outnumbering decliners nearly 2 to 1. On the NASDAQ, nearly 2.9 billion shares traded, with 2.3 advancing issues for every declining issue.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 5/32, increasing its yield to 2.335%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond decreased 17/32, bringing its yield up to 3.124%.

Treasury Releases Proposed Multiemployer Plan Regs
The U.S. Department of the Treasury released proposed and temporary regulations to implement the suspension of benefits provisions of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA). In MPRA, Congress established a new process for multiemployer pension plans to propose a temporary or permanent reduction of pension benefits if the plan is projected to run out of money. Kenneth Feinberg has been appointed as a Special Master to help review applications proposing to reduce pension benefits.Read more >
World’s Largest Coal Company Faces Stock Drop Suit
Peabody Energy Corporation is facing a class action lawsuit alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by continuing to offer company stock as an investment in several defined contribution (DC) plans. The plaintiff filed the lawsuit on behalf of participants in the Peabody Investments Corp. Employee Retirement Account, the Peabody Western-UMWA 401(k) Plan, and the Big Ridge, Inc. 401(k) Profit Sharing Plan and Trust, alleging plan fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duties to the plans by continuing to offer Peabody Stock as an investment option for the plans when it was imprudent to do so, and maintaining the plans’ pre-existing significant investment in Peabody Stock when it was no longer a prudent investment.Read more >
From the Magazine
DB Funding Ratios Tend to Be Cyclical
The funding ratios of large U.S. corporate defined benefit (DB) plans fell sharply after the tech bubble burst  but were restored to full funding during the following recovery in the economy and financial markets. They slipped back again when the global financial crisis hit but recuperated some in 2013, only to slide again last year. Interested observers are not overly concerned, however. Sponsors have been taking positive steps to keep their plans healthy, and the erosion is mostly the result of the current market regime—namely the low interest rates that place higher actuarial values on pension liabilities.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1905, about 450 people attended the opening day of the world’s first nickelodeon (nickel theater), located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and developed by the showman Harry Davis. In 1910, the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington. In 1912, the U.S. government established the eight-hour work day. In 1934, the U.S. Congress established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate radio broadcasting. In 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviets, were executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the U.S. Senate. In 1971, Carole King earned her first No. 1 single as a performer with the double-sided hit “It’s Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move.” In 1978, the comic strip Garfield was in newspapers around the U.S. for the first time.


And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

The Queen’s guards are coming; if you know what’s good for you, you’ll MAKE WAY!Read more >
Oh those guards for the Queen, if they aren’t marching into pedestrians, they’re smacking little kids in the head.Read more >

In Ngawha, New Zealand, a 23-year-old pulled over by police thought he would be clever and give officers a fake name. However, a person by the name he gave them was wanted for breaching bail conditions, so officers took him to jail. Officials eventually found out who he really is, but unfortunately, he is still in jail for driving while disqualified, giving false details and per.verting the course of justice.

In Lyden, Washington, the Washington State Patrol responded to a report of an elderly woman riding her scooter in circles on a stretch of highway. A trooper said the woman told him she had been riding around in circles because she was lost. According to UPI, the trooper drove behind the woman at 6 mph to escort her to her home four miles away. Kudos to him!

In Benton, Arkansas, police finally caught a fugi.tive suspected in a shooting. The highlight of the story is the irony on his T-shirt.Read more >

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a 19-year-old called 911 to report she had been cheated during a purchase—of mari.juana. A deputy went to the woman and found another drug in her pocket. She’s been jailed for poss.ession and misusing the 911 system.

In Presque Isle, Maine, a woman climbed 75 feet up a tree to rescue her cat. Once up there, she panicked and called 911 for help. According to the local ABC TV station, the fire department came with a ladder truck and brought her to safety. The cat ended up climbing down on its own.

Have a good weekend! Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads!
Share the good news with a friend! Pass the Dash along – and tell your friends/associates they can sign up for their own copy.Read more >

News from


Copyright © Asset International, Inc., 2015.

All rights reserved.  No reproduction without prior authorization.

Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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