Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
March 12th, 2018
Benefits & Administration
Increase in Discount Rates Tempered DB Funded Status Losses in February
Institutions that track defined benefit (DB) plans’ funded ratios measured increases or decreases in funded status as high as 1%, but noted it could have been worse if not offset by higher liability discount rates. Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Retirement Industry People Moves
Debel to lead Retirement and Income Solutions at MetLife; OneAmerica announces additions to Institutional Retirement Plan team; intellicents announces addition to Financial Planning Department; and more. Read more >
Compliance
Authorities Launch Investigation of Wells Fargo Advisors
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-mandated regulatory filings from Wells Fargo Advisors have triggered state and federal inquiries into whether the firm’s advisers have made inappropriate referrals or recommendations, including with respect to rollovers for 401(k) plan participants. Read more >
Retirees Still Facing Age Discrimination in Employment EEOC Action Shows
A staffing firm sent an email to the applicant telling him he would no longer be considered for a position because he was “born in 1945,” and “age will matter,” according to the EEOC. Read more >
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Employees in Two States Miss Out on One HSA Benefit
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Some Help for Women’s Retirement Savings Gap May Be Coming
Economic Events

January sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $492.6 billion, down 1.1% from the revised December level, but up 6.7% from the January 2017 level, the Census Bureau announced. The November 2017 to December 2017 percent change was revised from the preliminary estimate of up 1.2% to up 0.8%.

 

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 313,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment rose in construction, retail trade, professional and business services, manufacturing, financial activities, and mining.

 

THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Tomorrow, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will reveal the consumer price index for February. Wednesday, the Census Bureau will report about retail sales for February and business inventories for January, and the BLS will reveal the producer price index for February. Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report. Friday, the Census Bureau will report about housing starts for February.

Market Mirror

Friday, the Dow gained 440.53 points (1.77%) to finish at 25,335.74, the NASDAQ closed 132.86 points (1.79%) higher at 7,560.81, and the S&P 500 increased 47.60 points (1.74%) to 2.786.57. The Russell 2000 was up 25.18 points (1.60%) at 1597.14, and the Wilshire 5000 climbed 455.34 points (1.60%) to 28,859.55.

 

The price of the 10-year Treasury note decreased 11/32, bringing its yield up to 2.896%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 23/32, increasing its yield to 3.161%.

 

WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending March 9, the Dow was up 3.25%, the NASDAQ climbed 4.17%, and the S&P 500 finished 3.54% higher. The Russell 2000 gained 4.17%, and the Wilshire 5000 increased 3.52%.

From the Magazine
ERISA Examination: A Good Auditor
Attorneys with Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP consider the fiduciary obligations when selecting and monitoring the plan’s auditor, as this process raises unique issues and has been highlighted by the Department of Labor (DOL) in recent years. Because human resources (HR) is the most likely department to deal with auditors, it may receive the task of selecting them; still, the final decision remains a fiduciary one. Read more >
Investing
CalPERS Commits to Higher Investment Performance Standard
The nation’s largest public pension plan has adopted CFA Institute’s Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) and says while many asset owners require their investment managers to comply with the GIPS standards, it is less common for asset owners to apply the principles to their own performance reporting to oversight boards, governing bodies and plan beneficiaries. Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1789, the U.S. Post Office was established. In 1884, the State of Mississippi authorized the first state-supported college for women. It was called the Mississippi Industrial Institute and College. In 1863, President Jefferson Davis delivered his State of the Confederacy address. In 1894, Coca-Cola was sold in bottles for the first time. In 1912, the Girl Scout organization was founded. The original name was Girl Guides. In 1923, Dr. Lee DeForest demonstrated phonofilm. It was his technique for putting sound on motion picture film. In 1933, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt presented his first presidential address to the nation. It was the first of the “Fireside Chats.” In 1947, U.S. President Harry Truman established the “Truman Doctrine” to help Greece and Turkey resist Communism. In 1959, the U.S. House joined the U.S. Senate in approving the statehood of Hawaii. In 1974, “Wonder Woman” debuted on ABC-TV. In 1985, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. began arms control talks in Geneva. In 1987, “Les Miserables” opened on Broadway. In 1993, Janet Reno was sworn in as the first female U.S. attorney general. In 1994, the Church of England ordained its first women priests. In 2002, U.S. homeland security chief Tom Ridge unveiled a color-coded system for terror warnings. In 2009, it was announced that the Sears Tower in Chicago would be renamed Willis Tower.

SURVEY SAYS RESPONSES: Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Does ‘springing forward’ reduce your work productivity, and how much time does it take for you to get back to normal?” An equal number of responding readers (30.9% each) said springing forward does not reduce their work productivity and that it does so “a little.” Two in ten (21.4%) indicated it reducing their work productivity somewhat, while 11.9% said it does “a lot.” But, 4.8% reported that springing forward actually increases their work productivity. Asked how much time it takes for them to get back to normal after springing forward, the majority of respondents (52.4%) said a couple of days to one week, and 19% said one week to one month. However, 16.7% reported they have no issues adjusting to the time change. On the extremes, 7.1% said they would be adjusted after just one day, while 4.8% said it would take more than one month. Among readers who left comments, there was strong support for ending Daylight Savings Time. One reader likened the feeling after springing forward to jet lag. However, quite a few like the additional daylight after work. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “I love the extra sun after work and even though I’ll be a bit crabby on Monday, it’s worth it in the end.” Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey! Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

Advertising: Paul Zampitella paul.zampitella@strategic-i.com

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