Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
June 8th, 2015
Benefits & Administration
PSNC 2015: Managing Administrative and Investment Fees
“We really only do custom fee benchmarking with our clients,” said plan adviser Barbara Best, principal at Capital Strategies Investment Group LLC, during a panel session at the 10th annual PLANSPONSOR National Conference. “For the most part, you can drive a truck through the results of public benchmarking.” Best’s firm advises on some $10 billion in plan assets and seeks to deliver a holistic approach to retirement plan services. She says working with this book of business clearly shows customized and thoughtful plan fee benchmarking leads to greater understanding of plan operations and plan success—and that choosing the wrong resources for fee benchmarking can actually decrease understanding of whether a plan is getting a good value for administration and investment services.Read more >
PSNC 2015: The Evolution of Education
The evolution of retirement plan participant education is happening because providers have better tools to engage participants, and technology makes it easier to get information about participant behaviors and outcomes, Joe Connell, director of Retirement Plan Services at Sikich Retirement Plan Services (Formerly Retirement Plan Partners), told attendees of the 2015 PLANSPONSOR National Conference in Chicago. Sean M. Ciemiewicz, a principal at Retirement Benefits Group, added that more plan sponsors are offering tools to get participants to take immediate action at meetings, rather than go back to their desk and think about it. The first hurdle is getting participants’ attention, said Michelle Barrett, manager of University Retirement Programs at the University of Rochester, a 2015 PLANSPONSOR Plan Sponsor of the Year finalist in the 403(b) category.Read more >
PSNC 2015: The Intersection of Health Care and Retirement
American’s health care costs in retirement average $43,000 per year, according to Robert Massa, director of retirement at Ascende Wealth Advisers Inc. Speaking at the PLANSPONSOR National Conference, he suggested that, for a healthy 65-year-old man, the cost of care adds up to roughly $369,000 over a lifetime; for women, that number is $417,000. While overall living expenses typically level out between age 45 and 54, then fall over the following decades, health care costs rise consistently until death, he added. Early Boomers are most at risk of not being able to fund their health care needs, Massa said, but all participants could benefit from a retirement health savings plan.Read more >
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many Phils Have There Been?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: What do the M’s stand for in M&Ms?
2022 Recordkeeping Survey
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
Maximum Benefit and Contribution Limits Table 2023
GAO Requests
Survey of 401(k) Plans’ Use of Eligibility and Vesting Requirements: Building savings in a 401(k) plan is a key step to achieving income security in retirement for millions of Americans. That savings may be affected by the eligibility and vesting requirements that are used by many plans. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is asking plan sponsors to participate in its survey examining why plan sponsors use certain eligibility and vesting requirements, how they may have changed the requirements, and how they communicate them to employees and participants.Read more >
Survey of Lifetime Income Options 401(k) Plan Sponsors Offer Participants: An increasing American lifespan in an era when the predominant workplace retirement plan no longer guarantees lifetime income calls into question how well 401(k) plans work for the oldest Americans. The GAO is asking plan sponsors to participant in a survey that examines the mechanisms in 401(k) plans that can provide some financial stability to participants until the end of their lives. It asks about the advantages and disadvantages of these options, education about them, and barriers that might limit their adoption.Read more >
Economic Events

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 280,000 in May, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and health care. Mining employment continued to decline.

THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Tomorrow, the Census Bureau will report about wholesale inventories for April. Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report, and the Census Bureau will report about retail sales for May and business inventories for April. Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal the producer price index (PPI) for May.

Market Mirror

Friday, the Dow closed 56.12 points (0.31%) lower at 17,849.46, the NASDAQ increased 9.33 points (0.18%) to 5,068.46, and the S&P 500 was down 3.01 points (0.14%) at 2,092.83. The Russell 2000 gained 9.72 points (0.78%) to finish at 1,261.01, and the Wilshire 5000 ticked up 5.91 points (0.03%) to 22,167.66.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with a slight lead for decliners. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares changed hands, with 1.8 advancing issues for every declining issue.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note decreased 27/32, bringing its yield up to 2.406%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 1 13/32, increasing its yield to 3.114%.

WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending June 5, the Dow lost 0.90%, the NASDAQ slipped 0.03%, and the S&P 500 finished 0.70% lower. The Russell 2000 climbed 1.17%, and the Wilshire 5000 was down 0.41%.

U.S. Recommends Denial of RJR Stock Case Review
U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court recommending it deny a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by RJR Tobacco Company in a “reverse stock drop” case. The brief says the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals correctly decided both issues, and contrary to RJR’s contention, there is no clear circuit split on either question.Read more >
GASB Approves New Accounting Standards for OPEB
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) approved two statements it says will significantly improve accounting and financial reporting by state and local governments for post-employment benefits other than pensions (referred to as OPEB)—primarily retiree health insurance. GASB Statement No. 74, “Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans,” addresses reporting by OPEB plans that administer benefits on behalf of governments. GASB Statement No. 75, “Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions,” addresses reporting by governments that provide OPEB to their employees and for governments that finance OPEB for employees of other governments.Read more >
PSNC 2015: Avoiding Lawsuits
Before the Enron scandal, which resulted in the increased accountability of auditing firms to remain unbiased and independent of their clients, there was relatively little litigation in the retirement plan arena. But this has changed, as was the perception of 64% of attendees polled at the PLANSPONSOR National Conference in Chicago, who indicated that litigation risk is increasing in this industry. Jamie Fleckner, a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP, said “plaintiff’s lawyers have become more interested in lawsuits because of the increased assets in defined contribution [DC] plans, with the focus of the suits against plan sponsors and providers.”Read more >
PSNC 2015: DB Plan Investing
Equity market risk and interest-rate risk are the biggest risk factors for defined benefit (DB) plan investing today, according to Phil Kivarkis, U.S. director of Investment Policy Services at Aon Hewitt. “DB plans are subject to mark-to-market accounting, so plan sponsors need to be liability-aware,” he told attendees of the 2015 PLANSPONSOR National Conference. “Take the risks you will be rewarded for and get rid of the ones you won’t,” he suggested.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1869, Ives W. McGaffey received a U.S. patent for the suction vacuum cleaner. In 1947, “Lassie Show” debuted on ABC radio. It was a 15-minute show. In 1949, Hollywood figures were named in a FBI report as Communist Party members, fueling the anti-communist hysteria in the United States during the late-1940s and 1950s. In 1966, the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) announced they would merge. In 1968, James Earl Ray, an escaped American convict, was arrested in London, England, and charged with the assassination of African American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
SURVEY SAYS REWIND: Ten years ago, we asked NewsDash readers, “How often are retirement plan education meetings (not enrollment sessions) held for current workers?”Read more >
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Copyright © Asset International, Inc., 2015.

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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